COMBAT OUTPOST OUELLETTE, Afghanistan --
By the light of a full Afghan moon, a handful of young Marines are hard at work. They lay a thick plastic liner over a hollow square. When finished, they will have created a container for more than 40,000 gallons of jet fuel – extending the range for Marine helicopters supporting ground troops near Sangin, Afghanistan.
But at Combat Outpost Ouellette, as so many places where Marines serve, these junior troops do not work alone. By their side a staff sergeant whose service began more than a decade ago guides the young leathernecks not only with a fierce voice, but with his actions. His leadership is by example.
Staff Sgt. Rockey L. Crump is in charge of mentoring and guiding dozens of junior troops as the senior Marine for the new forward arming and refueling point at Combat Outpost Ouellette. Crump, who traditionally serves with Marine Wing Support Squadron 272 as the assistant fuels chief, is the forward arming and refueling point’s officer in charge.
“I expect all of my Marines to be leaders,” said Crump. “I want them to do the best that they can and I expect nothing out of them that I wouldn’t do myself.”
Crump said he works next to the Marines on a daily basis to share his knowledge and experience. Crump added that he strives to guide his Marines in a positive direction by setting the best personal example possible.
“Having a small group of Marines gives me a chance to lead by example more,” said Crump, a native of Cartersville, Ga. “I have a better opportunity to sit down with the Marines and share my knowledge.”
The forward arming and refueling point was recently constructed at the combat outpost to enable 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) to better support Marines and other coalition troops operating near Sangin. The support squadron’s sergeant major, Sgt. Maj. Robert A. Allen, said effective and experienced leadership was crucial for the forward arming and refueling point’s success.
“Staff Sgt. Crump displays those qualities and traits which are both respected and effective with Marines,” said Allen. “He provides guidance and direction to his noncommissioned officers then he allows them the opportunity to accomplish the mission under his supervision.”
Crump was a team leader for an incident response platoon of Marines on his last deployment in Iraq, which he said helped mold his leadership abilities. An incident response platoon is a quick reaction unit that conducts missions ranging from mounted patrols to escorting explosive ordnance disposal teams, and Crump was responsible for ensuring missions were completed safely and effectively.
"My last deployment had a big part in preparing me for a role like this," siad Crump. "My deployment to Iraq is what go me selected to do this job in Afghanistan."
Taking the time to understand the goals and personalities of his junior Marines is a leadership trait Crump said he sees as necessary to lead them effectively.
"I know all of the Marine' goals and ambitions and I try to help them reach those things," said Crump. "To me being a leader means being firm with your Marines but also being flexible to fit their needs. This is all part of being a Marine."
“You need leadership in the Marine Corps,” said Cpl. David Reinoso, a bulk fuel specialist with MWSS-272, and a native of Brooklyn N.Y. “It helps accomplish the mission and teaches junior Marines how to be more effective in life. He has helped me become a stronger leader by following his example.”
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