AL ASAD, Iraq - -- Corporal Roman Sena, a military policeman with Provisional Security Battalion, was promoted by his senior drill instructor at a ceremony here Aug. 1.
Sena, who graduated recruit training Oct. 25, 2002, was a member of Gunnery Sgt. Ronald Morgan’s, last platoon aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C. Sena was ecstatic about having his former mentor, now a company a gunnery sergeant in the Provisional Security Battalion, be a special part of the ceremony.
“Having gunny be a part of my promotion ceremony was an honor. I felt privileged to have him pin me,” said Sena, a Columbus, Ohio native. “Seeing his dedication while training me as a recruit gained a lot of my respect. He made me a Marine and I thought it was fitting he had a part in making me a noncommissioned officer.”
Morgan, who has a similar story, is now able to experience what his senior drill instructor must have felt more than 11 years ago. While deployed to Mt. Fuji, Japan, in 1994, he too was promoted to the noncommissioned officer ranks by the man who served as his senior drill instructor. Pinning his former recruit brought memories of his own promotion to corporal earlier in his career.
“Being able to be the one doing the pinning was a great experience,” Morgan said. “There are a lot of similarities that we share. He’s a good Marine and I’m glad he is excelling in the Marine Corps. I’m glad he thought of me for this occasion.”
Upon graduation from recruit training and completion of military police school in 2003, Sena received orders to the Marine Corps Base Camp, Lejeune, N.C., Provost Marshal’s Office. After nine months patrolling the streets of Camp Lejeune, Sena was transferred to the 2nd Military Police Battalion to be a field military policeman. That is where he met another Marine that would have a lasting impression on his career.
“When I was transferred to the battalion, the platoon sergeant, [Gunnery Sgt. David Rodgers], called me into his office.” It was during that initial counseling that the 2002 graduate of Hilliard Davidson High School in Hilliard, Ohio, was assured that through hard work and discipline he could succeed in the Corps. “He stayed true to his word. He believed in me and that meant a lot. If there was one person I could credit with my promotion it would be him.”
The change of pace from being a military policeman on the streets of Camp Lejeune to becoming a field military policeman was a blessing for Sena. Instead of patrolling around an installation, he was given the opportunity to take part in a different side of his job.
“Being a field military policeman is great,” Sena said. “We deploy. We provide convoy escorts, enemy prisoner of war containment, and set up traffic control points in a forward environment. We spend our days stateside preparing for the next deployment. We are constantly training on different weapon systems or rehearsing scenarios to better prepare us for combat.”
Along with the job, Sena also appreciates the camaraderie and close-knit community of field military policemen.
“We are a really tight group,” Sena said. “You train with the guys you go to combat with. Everyone takes the training seriously and looks out for each other. These are the Marines who are going to have my back in combat.”
Sena is serving his second deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He spends his day providing interior security around Al Asad. From patrolling the streets and paths to manning a desk relaying information to other Marines on patrol, he helps keep an eye on all activity around the base.
“Every mission out here is important,” Sena said. “I’m not on the front lines like I was before, but I still provide a vital service to the personnel here. We keep an eye out for anyone looking suspicious around base and respond to different calls, such as suspicious people, packages or anything out of the norm.”
Last year, while deployed Al Taqaddum, Iraq, Sena ensured goods and supplies were safely delivered to other bases as part of a convoy escort team.
“We were responsible for the security of the convoys leaving our base,” Sena said. “If it weren’t for us, the Marines at the smaller bases would not have received the supplies they need to continue their mission.”
It was during one of those convoys that Sena had an experience that made him realize the United States was doing the right thing by liberating Iraq. During the convoy one of the trucks blew a tire, forcing the convoy to stop, he recalled. Sena and the other Marines attached to the lead security element set up a vehicle checkpoint to ensure the safety of the rest of the convoy. They were tasked with searching every vehicle and person who wanted to pass the parked convoy.
“After searching one man’s car he told me in broken English, ‘Thank you, under our old government I only made five dollars a month. Now I make $100 a month, enough to feed my family,’” Sena said. “That event made me glad to be out here and do my part. When people start talking about going home, I think about that. It motivates me to stay here and do all I can to help these people.”
With noncommissioned officers like Sena leading the charge, the mission of the forward deployed 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing continues to soar. Keeping a solid noncommissioned officer Corps will only improve the capability of the II Marine Expeditionary Force as it continues its fight for a brighter Iraq.
*For more information about this story please e-mail Cpl. Alex Herron at email@example.com*