AL ASAD, Iraq -- Sergeant Joshua Nixon, a maintenance mechanic for Marine Aircraft Group 26 and Mountain Ranch, Calif., native, has the Marine Corps in his blood.
His father spent three years in the Corps during the end of Vietnam, and today does maintenance work at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz. Even his mom, though never a Marine, is on the Marine Corps team as Yuma’s animal control officer. It’s no surprise the career path their son has chosen.
“I grew up with the idea of wanting to join the Marine Corps one day,” he said. “Initially, I wanted to get into law enforcement, but I realized police work wasn’t for me, it doesn’t fit my personality.”
Nixon is the type of guy who loves to work with his hands. He said he has always been that way, so when he joined the Marine Corps, helicopter maintenance seemed the perfect job, in his opinion.
“I wanted to work on CH-53s to get an idea of what exactly I wanted to do,” he said. Nixon’s work eventually brought him to Al Asad, Iraq, where he was a natural choice to become one of MAG-26’s maintenance mechanics.
“I volunteered to do it because it was a new experience,” he said. “My job is all about improving the living conditions of the MAG.”
Nixon enjoys his work because he hates sitting behind a desk. From fixing generators to repairing equipment, he’s constantly finding something that needs improved or repaired. At first impression, Nixon is almost antsy, like he’s anxious to return to work, said those he works with. He comes off as a typical ‘good ole boy,’ but someone who knows him well says that impression is misleading.
“He’ll fool you at first, but he’s amazing intellectually,” said Master Gunnery Sgt. Norman P. Hoosier, the combat service support chief for MAG-26. “The strongest part about Sgt. Nixon is his intelligence.”
But, Hoosier said, his work ethic is as impressive as his mind.
“He’s the hardest working sergeant I’ve met in 24 years of service. You have to make him take a day off,” he said. “One time we had an intense sandstorm where people were running for cover. He was standing in the middle of it trying to fix a generator. He’s really dedicated to his work. The amazing thing is, he actually turned it back on.”
Nixon said he’s just glad he can use his talents to serve his country.
“I don’t regret coming out here,” he said. “With the skills I’ve acquired through the years, this is the best way I can serve the country. I’m more than willing to forego the luxuries of home for that. War is a necessary evil, and there are people who have to get the job done.”
It’s that type of attitude, Hoosier said, that makes Nixon an excellent example to both junior and senior Marines.
“He’s an awesome noncommissioned officer,” Hoosier said. “He understands all the facets of leadership, and he’s a maintenance guru. I constantly get his input on things.”
Nixon said he plans on leaving the Marine Corps, though he hasn’t made up his mind. He’d like to do some of the same work he does now only as a civilian contractor. It would be a path similar to his father’s, a path Nixon is more than willing to follow.
“My job out here is very similar to what my dad does in the rear,” Nixon said. “He just doesn’t carry a gun.”