Friday, November 02, 2012

Face of Defense: Marine Gunner Relishes Military Service

By Marine Corps Master Sgt. Brenda Varnadore
Regional Command Southwest

NOW ZAD, Nov. 2, 2012 – After three years at Oklahoma State University, Michael Sheets took a long, hard look in the mirror and decided he wanted to be a Marine.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Marine Corps Cpl. Michael Sheets is a machine-gun leader for 4th platoon, Company F, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, in Now Zad, Afghanistan. The Enid, Okla., native enlisted in the Marine Corps after three years of study at Oklahoma State University. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Master Sgt. Brenda Varnadore

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Today, four years into his six-year enlistment contract with the Marine Corps, Sheets holds a corporal’s rank and is a machine-gun leader here with 4th platoon, Company F, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines.
Sheets said he has no regrets.

“I got to the point where I had to decide what I wanted to do,” said Sheets, who hails from Enid, Okla. “I wanted to be a Marine, so I signed a six-year contract to be infantry. I thought that was the only way to be a Marine.”

He said his parents, Tom and Cynda Sheets, were initially surprised, but stood by their son.

“They are very supportive and proud,” Sheets said. “They send care packages all the time to show their support.”

Sheets joined 2nd Bn., 7th Marines, during March 2009 after completing recruit and infantry training. He has deployed twice with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, based out of Okinawa, Japan. During his second deployment with the MEU, he went to Australia. His battalion set up the Marine Corps’ new unit deployment program in Australia.

Now Sheets is in Afghanistan where he said he has wanted to be since he enlisted. He said from what he has heard and seen, the Marines have made progress in Now Zad.

“We have definitely helped a great number of people here,” Sheets said. “You can tell they feel safer with us and are starting to feel safer with the Afghan forces.”

Because of the development of capability and capacity within the Afghan National Security Forces, the Marines of Fox Company have more time on their hands. Sheets said he works on growing as a Marine and a leader, and credits his machine-gun team.

“They keep me on my toes,” Sheets said. “They teach me something new constantly, and it makes me a better Marine.”

Sheets said he also takes every opportunity he has to catch up on sports.

“I watch any [Oklahoma State] sport and the Cowboys,” he said. “I follow the Internet and game tracker whenever I can.”

Sheets said he isn’t sure whether he is going to make the military a career, but he knows that his ultimate goal is to serve in federal law enforcement. Until then, he said he wants to make the most of being a Marine.

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