This was an email from a Battalion Commander (Lieutenant Colonel)
to the Regimental Commanding Officer (Colonel).
Sir, I was going for a run late Sunday afternoon and
noticed the lights on in our motor transport maintenance bay.
This caught my eye because I had directed the Motor transport
Section to enjoy the MLK 72 based on their work and on the positive
feedback received to date from the LRI inspectors, so I investigated.
As I entered the maintenance bay, I heard country western music
and then saw a Marine in overalls and tennis shoes covered in
grease under the hood of a Hummer -
it was Sergeant Niles.
I asked Sergeant Niles what he was doing and he replied,
"Sir, just doing a little work" . I then asked why he
was working on a Sunday afternoon, and that we had time next
week. He replied, "sir, we really need to get these old
Hummers fixed and I wanted to get a head start so my Marines
don't have to work so hard next week and can concentrate on
the LRI. I said how many are fixed and how long have you
been working. Sgt Niles said, " have been working over
the last two days and got six up sir, but I need another part
to fix the others. I then questioned him regarding the
parts because I thought all the parts came in. He stated
that the part/bolt he had would work, but was technically the
wrong size, so he wanted to order the right one in order to
properly fix the vehicles for 1/7. I thanked him and again
stated that it was not absolutely necessary to work over the
72. He then looked at me very seriously with grease all
over his face and said, "sir, I also want to get ahead in our
work so I can go on the Iwo Jima trip ...I really want to see
where those Marines fought and died ...it means a lot to me.
I said, Sergeant Niles, I will make sure you are on the
Iwo trip roster, and turned away very quickly before he saw
the tears swelling up in my eyes. As I write this, I am
bursting with pride that we have such fine Marines. These are
the guys that keep me motivated and keep me in!!!