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Old 10-27-2003, 04:30 AM
thedrifter thedrifter is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2002
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Cool Platoon guide takes over as platoon sergeant

Platoon guide takes over as platoon sergeant
Submitted by: 13th MEU
Story Identification Number: 20031025153019
Story by Sgt. Mark P. Ledesma

UM QASR, Iraq (October 25, 2003) -- UM QASR, Iraq - Most Marines in certain time during their career in the Corps have had to step up to the plate and test their leadership abilities in unexpected times. During real-world operations in Um Qasr, Iraq, a young sergeant with Battalion Landing Team 1/1, deployed with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), met the challenge head on when he was tasked with taking the position as a platoon sergeant for his company.

25-year-old Sgt. Neil Lobos, platoon guide for 3rd Platoon, Company C, BLT 1/1 took over as platoon sergeant when his staff sergeant had to fly back home on emergency leave during 13th MEU (SOC)'s transit towards the Mediterranean Gulf late September.

The temporary position was a step up from his billet as platoon guide, where he was an adviser to the squad leaders and team leaders whenever their platoon sergeant or platoon commander wasn't around. As the acting platoon sergeant, his responsibilities increased. Before, his main involvement was with his platoon's administrative needs.

"Now I'm actually taking care of my Marines' problems and making liaison with the right people for things my platoon needs," said Lobos.

Although acting as a platoon sergeant, he still balances the role he plays as the platoon's guide. According to Lobos, he's running the platoon with the mentality that he is still the platoon guide, but in a platoon sergeant's position.

"As a platoon guide I pretty much stay on top of the squad leaders," said the Katy, Texas native. "I'm always with them helping them out with whatever they need."

There is a big difference between training and real-world missions, said Lobos. Planning and operating in real-world missions are a lot more detailed.

"In training you can say 'this is what we need to get done'" said Lobos. "If mistakes happen, we learn from those mistakes and move on from that. In my position right now, (planning and executing missions are) a little more in depth."

"I want to make sure no one is making any mistakes," he said, "because I don't want mine or any of my Marines' mistakes to end up costing a life."

According to Lobos, observing his platoon sergeant, platoon commander and other platoon sergeants in the company has really helped him step in the platoon sergeant's role.

"The other platoon sergeants have helped me out by taking me under their wings," said Lobos. "A lot of our platoon sergeants have done real-world missions in the past so I ask them for advises on how to handle different situations. They've helped me out a lot."

According to 2nd Lt. Eric B. Williams, platoon commander, 3rd Platoon, Company C, this wasn't the first time Lobos has taken over as the platoon sergeant for the company. In the past, he has filled the position as the platoon sergeant and platoon commander while the positions were waiting to be filled.

"He's one of the best Marines I've worked with or have been around," said Williams, who has known Lobos for almost a year. "He knows his job more than anyone in the platoon. I had no problem making him the platoon sergeant because he's done the job before. He knows what he's doing and I have total confidence in him."

According to Lobos, the Marines in his platoon have taken his temporary position pretty well.

"(The Marines) feel just as comfortable as if our platoon sergeant was still here," he said.

Lobos enlisted in the Marine Corps on March 15, 1998, fulfilling a childhood dream.

"When I was around six or seven years old, I was walking along the mall with my parents during Christmas and I saw a Marine in his dressed blues," he said. "I remember thinking it was the coolest thing I had ever seen. When I approached him and asked him what he was he told me that he was a Marine. Ever since then, the Marines have stuck with me."

However, Lobos' enlistment in the Corps would be delayed due to his mother's illness.

"My mother was really sick," he said, "so I decided to take care of her along with my family. I didn't want to join the Marine Corps with her being so sick."

When his mother passed away in 1997, Lobos made the decision to branch away from his family and enlist in the Marine Corps.

During his first two years in the Marine Corps, Lobos was assigned with Marine Corps Security Forces at Bangor, Wash. He joined 1/1 in December 2002.

Prior to deploying with the 13th MEU (SOC), Lobos deployed with the 15th MEU August 2001 through March 2002 where he served as team leader for Charlie Company in Afghanistan.

As for his future plans with the Marine Corps, Lobos is taking it one enlistment at a time.

"When I did my first enlistment, I told myself I was going to do my four years and see how everything goes," he said. "I've always told myself, if I enjoyed what I was doing I was staying in. When it turns to the point when I'm not enjoying it anymore I'll get out."

One of his goals while he's in the Corps is to become a drill instructor, which he has requested as his next duty assignment after deployment.

"Hopefully, by the time we get back home I'll know whether those orders have come in," he said.

For now, Lobos is having a blast in the Marine Corps and has enjoyed everything he has done. He now has operations in Iraq to add to his story.


SSgt. Roger A.
One Proud Marine
Once A Marine............Always A Marine.............
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