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From Iraq to Afghanistan Marine continues to keep tanks rolling

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After graduating high school, Sgt. Joshua Whiting bounced from several dead end jobs for more than a year. Knowing a change needed to be made to better his life, he decided to defend his country.

Whiting, now a maintenance ramp chief with Bravo Company, 2nd Tank Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 7, decided to be the first member of his family to join the military. He enlisted in the Marine Corps during July 2002, to help pave a path for his successes in life.

“There was nothing left in my town, nothing that could make me as successful as I wanted to be. Plus 9/11 had happened, so I felt I had to do something for my country,” said Whiting, from Bath, N.Y. “I’m from a real small town, so I kind of feel like I set the pace for the success in my family. Before I joined the military, none of my family had been in the service. I was kind of like the stepping stone. After I joined I had two of my stepbrothers and one of my stepsisters join the military.”

Whiting joined the Marine Corps in an effort to better his life and has enjoyed his time as a Marine. He volunteered for, and is currently serving on, his second combat deployment. His first deployment was to Iraq. Along with being in charge of maintenance, Whiting also serves as a vehicle commander during convoys, a job is he familiar with from his previous deployment.

“I’ve had a lot of fun. I’ve been to a lot of different places and been to a lot of different units. I’ve gotten to see a lot of different aspects of the Marine Corps,” Whiting said. “After being in the states for so long and having been on a deployment before, I needed to feel like I was needed again instead of just being in the states doing day-to-day stuff. I wanted to feel like I was making a difference somewhere, and a deployment will do that for you.”

Whiting choose his current job because of a childhood fascination to be a tank mechanic.

“My dad used to work on cars in the garage, but I’ve always had a huge interest in mechanical stuff,” Whiting said. “Being able to get the tank mechanic job was exactly what I was looking for, and I was lucky enough to get the exact job that I wanted. From an early age I’ve dreamed of working on tanks. I’ve always been fascinated by tanks and how they work.”

While deployed, Whiting looks after the welfare of the 14 Marines working for him and ensures tank maintenance is at a premium.

“He’s a very diligent mechanic. We probably wouldn’t be able to get a lot of things done around here without him,” said Master Sgt. Richard Layton, tank leader for Bravo Co., 2nd Tank Bn., RCT-7. “As a person, he’s very easy to get along with, very easy to talk to and he’s an excellent Marine. The tank community will be hurting whenever he gets out.”

Whiting plans on moving on after his current enlistment and wants to stay in the mechanic field. But until then, he will ensure tanks continue to roll through Afghanistan providing security for Marines and their Afghan partners during the remainder of his company’s deployment.

Article by Cpl. Mark Garcia, Regional Command Southwest