AL ASAD, Iraq -- Today’s high-tech military depends on qualified, intelligent and driven young men and women.
While weighing his options prior to joining, Jefferay M. Brown, a native of Cleveland, didn’t know how much he would enjoy the field of avionics.
Brown joined the Marine Corps after graduating from Shaw High School in June 2003. Motivated by a desire to realize his full potential, Brown said he joined the Marines because he wanted to try something new.
“I knew I was going to go into the military,” Brown, now a lance corporal, said. “However, if
I was going to, I wanted to go with the best of the best.”
Brown’s military aptitude test scores allowed him to choose any field during his entry process. Motivated by his recruiter, he chose to become an avionics technician, working on the electrical components of the Marine Corps’ aircraft.
“I wanted to learn a skill that I could benefit from in the future,” he explained. “My recruiter told me about his experiences as a CH-46 helicopter avionics technician. It
sounded like a good job, and that’s what I chose.”
On Nov. 17, 2003, Brown stood arrived at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C., for basic training. Upon his graduation, Brown was meritoriously promoted to the rank of private first class for outstanding performance during recruit training.
Following his training at Parris Island and Marine Combat Training, Brown reported to Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Fla., for seven months of basic avionics courses.
He then reported to Marine Corps Air Station, New River, N.C., for specialized avionics training on the CH-46,commonly referred to as a 'Phrog', the same aircraft his recruiter worked on. Serving as class leader for the three-month course, Brown received a commendation for graduating at the top of his class.
“School was exciting,” he recalled. “I was doing something I wouldn’t have had the chance to do in the civilian world.”
Fully qualified to work on the CH-46, Brown received orders in February to Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 264, ironically, just across the street from his training center. Unbeknownst to him, Brown’s squadron was days away from a deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“I was in Iraq in just less than a week after checking in,” he said. “It was unexpected, but I think it was a good thing because I have learned so much in the fast paced working environment.”
Although only at the unit for a short time, Brown said the Marines of his shop have mentored him during his time here.
“The entire squadron has taken me under their wing,” he said. “It’s like an extended family. Everybody looks out for their fellow Marines like brothers.”
Day to day, Brown, and the Marines of avionics, are responsible for ensuring the electrical parts of the CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters are properly working so the squadron can perform its mission.
“Our job is very important, but in the grand scheme of things, no shop is more important than another,” he explained. “We all work together to ensure our birds can get out and accomplish their mission to support the troops on the ground.”
Brown recently had the opportunity to compete against his peers in his unit’s Marine of the Quarter competition. Employing his knowledge of the Marine Corps, its history and traditions, as well as current events, Brown won the highly competitive board June 13.
“It was a great opportunity and experience,” he said. “It means a lot to me, because I have only been in the squadron for a few months. The fact that I was even chosen to compete means I must be doing something right.”
Brown’s victory on the squadron board qualifies him to compete at the Marine Aircraft Group 26 board and possibly, the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) board.
Although he is preparing for the competitions in his free time, Brown said focusing on the mission is the most important thing.
“There is still a job that needs to be done,” he said. “I want to continue to grow and learn in my job field and as a Marine, so when that next young Marine comes to our unit, I can mentor him as I was.”
Proud to be in Iraq supporting the security and stability of the Iraqi people, Brown said the support of family and loved ones back home has helped him through the deployment.
“We are helping the Iraqis establish their government so they can stand on their own,” he said. “I am proud to be a part of the Marine Corps during this important time. The support from back home has been great. Knowing everything is well back home makes it easier to focus on the mission.”
Looking back at his time in the Marine Corps, Brown said he is pleased with what he has accomplished so far.
“There is nothing I would rather do than work on a ’46 right now,” he said. “It’s an honor to be chosen for things like Marine of the Quarter, but the most amazing thing is just being a United States Marine.”
*For more information about the Marines or news reported on in this story, please contact Cpl. Rocco DeFilippis by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org*