Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point -- When Cpl. Lasha Otiuridze enlisted in the Marine Corps in February of 2011, he never expected to be assisting his home country in the 2014 Marine Corps Trials, a paralympics event held at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.
Otiuridze, a native of Tbilisi, the capital of the country Georgia, spent his childhood learning several languages including Georgian ,Russian, English and German.
“(Headquarters Marine Corps) told me they needed help and the next thing I knew, I was in California translating for the Georgian team,” he said.
Otiuridze, an aircraft maintenance administrative specialist at Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 2, was one of only two qualified Marines available to translate during the games.
While deployed to Japan in 2013, he was offered the chance to be recognized for his language skills and scored well on a test to qualify him as a Georgian translator.
“I took the test and didn’t think much of it,” said Otiuridze. “Now the Marine Corps knows I’m able to speak my native language.”
At the games, Otiuridze did everything he could to make sure his home country had zero disadvantages when it came to understanding the games.
“I would wake up earlier than everyone else to learn the schedule for the game,” said Otiuridze. “I would meet the judges and coordinators and review anything and everything.”
Some of the different events that Otiuridze translated during his trip included running, swimming, archery and shooting.
“It was an extremely motivating experience,” said Otiuridze. “I felt tremendously proud to assist veterans, some of whom completed in events like running without a leg.”
After displaying his talents at the paralympics games, Otiuridze proved himself as an outstanding noncommissioned officer back at VMAQ-2, according to Capt. John C. Rock, the quality assurance officer with the squadron.
“Cpl. Otiuridze earned a Navy Marine Corps Achievement Medal a few months back for the actions he portrayed on a regular basis with VMAQ-2,” said Rock.
Having a Marine with the ability to communicate with a variety of different people helps not only VMAQ-2 but the Marine Corps as a whole, according to Rock.
Otiuridze plans to stay in the Corps and further his career to help others the way he did at the games by lateral moving into another military occupational specialty such as counter-intelligence.