I’m 21 years old. I was born
in Buhl, Idaho. I’m still single.
I enlisted in the Marines and
went to boot camp in August 2011
under the combat support option,
which I found out was going to
leave me being an amphibious
assault crewman. I went to basic
infantry training, then to the
Amphibious Assault Crewman
school house at Camp Pendleton
in December, graduated in April
2012 and I went straight into
Alpha Company, 1st Platoon, 3rd
Assault Amphibian Battalion.
In August 2012, we left for the
unit deployment program to
Okinawa. While we were there, my
platoon went to Camp Fuji, Japan,
for three months, then went up to
Korea for an operation.
In Fuji, our platoon was pretty
much the only one there. We were
landlocked, so we did a lot of
patrols, a lot of basic land driving,
tactics and stuff like that. Then we
did a joint operation with Marine
artillery and grunt units. We did
patrols once or twice a week,
worked on the vehicles. I had a lot
of time to work on my tactics, our
small unit standard operation procedures and stuff like that.
At Fuji was the first time I had
been a crew chief, a vehicle commander. I was a lance corporal at
the time, filling a corporal’s billet. I
was the one in charge of the whole
vehicle, all the maintenance and
the crew on that vehicle.
In Korea, we were working with
the ROK [Republic of Korea]
Marines. Our whole company was up
there. My company did a ship op on
the [dock landing ship] USS
Germantown. We had the ROK Marines, who
also had their version of the AAVs,
working with us. We had a Marine
ground unit with us. We took them
off the Germantown to shore, helped
them assault their objective and then
back onto the ship after they were
done. We were there for more than a
month, then went back to Okinawa.
When we got back to Okinawa,
we were pretty much getting ready
to come home, getting all the vehicles cleaned up and ready to turn
over so we could come home.
When we went to Korea, we did
what they call an MPF [Maritime
Prepositioning Force] off-load. A
ship comes in that has all the vehicles you need, all ready to go. They
off-loaded into Korea and, of
course, we went over every vehicle
very thoroughly, to make sure
every vehicle was capable of doing
what we needed to do, had everything, the tools, that we needed.
The ones we got off the MPF
ships were brand new, rebuilt vehicles. We had very little maintenance issues to deal with.
The vehicles at Pendleton, they’re
a little rough. There’s some rust on
them, just from the wear and tear
from being used. But we’re doing
everything in our power to get them
up and running. It’s some long
hours, but that’s what we’ve got to
do to get those vehicles going.
When I came in, I wanted to be
a grunt really bad. That’s what I
told my recruiter. But all the grunt
slots were filled. And he told me I’d
have to wait about a year. But I told
him, no, I wanted to go as soon as
possible. So the recruiter looked at
the options and said this was the
next best thing to being in the
infantry. So I went with that.
I like my job. It’s not quite being
a grunt, but it’s very combat oriented. You’re still learning those skills,
learning how to do patrols, developing that combat mindset. The
operations portion is great. You’re
taking a 20-ton vehicle and driving
it straight into the ocean. It’s some-
Cpl Brody McClain
AAV7 VEHICLE COMMANDER
3RD ASSAULT AMPHIBIAN BATTALION
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, CALIF.
PROFILES IN SERVICE
WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG 32 SEAPOWER / FEBRUARY 2014
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