AL ASAD, Iraq -- Bradley E. Ellis has always loved a good challenge.
From varsity sports at Bismarck Henning High School to bench-pressing nearly
twice his weight, an impressive 350 pounds, the Danville, Ill., native has always
sought the ‘path less traveled.’
The quest for a good challenge is what led the 20-year old to Marine Corps
Recruit Depot, San Diego’s yellow footprints on March 22, 2004.
“I knew it was going to be the toughest challenge for me,” Lance Cpl. Ellis said.
“If I could make it in the Marine Corps, I could make it anywhere.”
Motivated by the chance to serve his country during a time of need and the
opportunity to gain technical and life skills, Ellis joined the Marine Corps on a command
and control and communications contract.
“I remember sitting in class my senior year watching jets take off for the start of
Operation Iraqi freedom,” he recalled. “Since September 11, I’ve wanted to support the
Global War on Terrorism, and sitting there, watching the start of the Iraqi war, I decided
to do my part.”
After completing recruit training and Marine Combat Training, Ellis arrived at the
Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twenty Nine Palms, Calif., for two months of
the transportable microwavable equipment operators’ course, where he learned basics of
multi-channel radio operation.
“Communications is always evolving and the Marine Corps continues to stay on
the cutting edge of technology,” he says. “I have always been fascinated by electronics,
and I knew this was going to be an exciting field.”
After his advanced training, Ellis received orders to Marine Corps Air Station,
Cherry Point, N.C., for duty with the Marine Wing Communications Squadron 28 multi-
channel radio, or MUX, platoon.
As his desire to serve in a forward deployed environment grew, he said he was
pleased to learn his new unit was preparing for the desert.
“I was excited when I arrived at the unit, because I knew we were going to deploy
soon,” he said.
After three months of training in North Carolina, Ellis and MWCS-28 deployed to
Operation Iraqi Freedom to serve as a vital communications link for forward operating
bases in early January.
“It’s a great feeling to be a part of history,” he said. “Thirty years from now, I will
be able to tell my grandchildren that I was here, and had a part in creating a free Iraq.”
More than half-way through their deployment, Ellis and his fellow Marines work
each day to ensure the smooth flow of information throughout the forward deployed 2nd
Marine Aircraft Wing.
“Each day we ensure our equipment is operating at peak performance,” he said.
“Communications is vital for on-going operations, and we ensure remote posts can
communicate with higher headquarters.”
Despite constant hot weather and long hours, the Muxsters, as the multi-channel
radio operators are called, continue to support the mission.
“We are a tight knit unit, and everyone is proud to be a Muxster,” he said. “We
know how important our aspect of the mission is, and that motivates us each day.”
As his time in Iraq nears an end, Ellis said the support of family and loved ones
back home is helping him make it through.
“Knowing that people back home care about you and pray for us is truly great,”
he said. “The support from back home has been amazing.”
Excited about returning home, Ellis also hopes to enroll in college courses to
further his goal of earning a degree in criminal justice.
“Everyone out here has family and loved ones they miss back home,” he said.
“However, we are focused on completing our task at hand. That’s what Marines do.”
*For more information about the Marines or news reported on in this
story, please contact Cpl. Rocco DeFilippis by e-mail at defilippisrc@acemnf-