MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, SC -- There is something unique bred into Marines that becomes apparent when they are seen alongside other service members. It is the combination of confidence, pride and discipline that sets Marines apart.
When the Silver Eagles of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 115 deployed in early April for a month-long deployment, they took Marines from around the Air Station to help augment their mission aboard the USS Harry S. Truman.
Although many of the deployed Marines are undertaking tasks similar to the ones they did in Beaufort, there are a few who have completely unfamiliar duties while on ship.
“I never thought I would be working in a Navy squadron doing buddy stores,” said Lance Cpl. John M. Edwards, who is attached to Sea Control Squadron 22.
Edwards, who normally works on power plants for Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31, is the only Marine attached to the Checkmates of VS-22. He works on the refueling system, or buddy store, a unit that extends from a wing mounted tank on the S-3B “Viking.”
“I volunteered for this deployment because I was looking for adventure and something new to do,” Edwards said. “A week before I got out here, my staff sergeant told me I was going to buddy stores. I didn’t know what buddy stores were until I got out here.”
When the Checkmates are on land, they don’t have a designated buddy stores section, according to Edwards. However, the Truman is one of the only carriers that has its own buddy stores section.
“There was a Marine doing buddy stores on the last deployment,” Edwards said. “There is nearly always one Marine working on buddy stores on this ship.”
Being the only Marine attached to a Navy squadron offers a unique perspective on the way the Corps’ sister branch conducts business, according to Edwards.
In addition to the Stingers, the Sweathogs of Marine Wing Support Squadron 273 also have some Marines deployed aboard the Truman. Lance Cpls. Leon B. Allen and Jeremiah W. Looper, hygiene equipment operators, MWSS-273, are attached to the ship.
“I didn’t get selected for this deployment; I volunteered,” Allen said. “I wanted to see more of the world. I’ve already been to Japan, but I want to see more places before my Marine Corps career is up.”
Both Allen and Looper came from Okinawa, Japan to join the Sweathogs after the squadron deployed to the Middle East. Instead of missing out on an opportunity, they decided to hop ship for what they hope will be the long haul, according to Allen and Looper.
“I’ve been with the squadron only a month,” Allen said. “I had just got back from Japan and wanted to see my family. When I returned from leave, the squadron already left for Iraq.”
Allen and Looper work in the laundry department of the ship, providing services for all the squadrons on board. They are two Marines working with a Navy crew.
“This is my first time working with the Navy,” Allen said. “As long as we wash clothes and do our job, it’s alright. They treat us good.”
Whether it is on the flight deck making sure jets are getting fuel or down in the depths ensuring Marines and Sailors have clean clothes, the Marines of Beaufort are making their mark as part of the Truman team.