MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
An alarm clock screams and a sleepy-eyed Marine rolls out of bed and walks slowly to the restroom where he showers and shaves before getting into his uniform for another day of work. After putting on his trousers, socks and boots he puts on his blouse, kisses his wife and son good bye, before the short drive to the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point flight line.
It’s the beginning of another day in the life of Sgt. Matthew E. Crowder, an avionics technician with Marine Attack Training Squadron 203.
Crowder, a 28-year-old Aiken S.C. native, has been at the air station for more than three years and said life has been a unique experience thus far.
“Being here has been great,” said Crowder. “I have learned a lot about my job and being a Marine. I have had some great mentors and hope I am being half as good a mentor for these Marines around me.”
Crowder has a second billet of desk sergeant for the avionics section for VMAT-203 and has Marines of various ranks under his leadership.
“It is Crowder’s job to enforce the work load to all Marines from the lonely private to even us staff sergeants,” said Staff Sgt. Michael D. Lee, avionics supervisor for VMAT-203. “He is a huge influence on all the Marines around him. He keeps a positive attitude, and in my opinion, that is extremely important in a Marine and in a leader.”
As a desk sergeant, Crowder’s main focus is receiving and prioritizing the maintenance jobs for the TAV-8B Harriers. He then assigns a team of Marines to complete the tasks at hand. However, he isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty or giving his opinion on what is wrong with an aircraft.
“Sergeant Crowder is a great mentor and is always trying to teach us junior Marines new things about this aircraft and the Marine Corps,” said Lance Cpl. Michael B. Minier, an avionics technician with VMAT-203. “There have been many times where I have gone out to fix a problem with a bird and can’t figure it out, but I can come in to the shop and describe the problems to Sgt. Crowder, and nine out of 10 times he is right on with how to fix it. Also he is always getting out on the flight line to help us out and never gives up when things get tough.”
Crowder said he feels he needs to teach the Marines around him and get their skill levels to his expectations.
“I will never ask a Marine to do something I can’t or won’t do myself,” said Crowder. “I am constantly trying to better myself and the junior Marines who one day will be sitting where I am doing my job. I think being at 203 has been a blessing to me, because I have gotten to influence a lot of Marines who are eager to learn and willing to do their best to keep the mission of this squadron held to a high standard.”
There is always something to do, said Crowder, whether it is annual maintenance or a part needs replaced on an aircraft.
After his day of helping fix the mechanical and personal problems that the aircraft and his Marines have, Sgt. Crowder makes the 20 minute drive from his shop to his home where a loving family and a hot meal are waiting for him.
“I love what I do for the Marine Corps,” he said. “However, pulling into my drive way and seeing my son run out to greet me with my beautiful wife right behind him is the best part of my day.”