Marine lives to give supreme service
Prior to enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps, Cpl. Brandon Frank said he couldn’t afford to continue going to Kansas State University, so he dropped out of school and started tending bar.
It wasn’t long, however, before Frank said he was struggling to make ends meet as a bartender and realized he needed to make changes in his life if he wanted to build a better future for himself.
“I saw myself doing the same exact same thing day-after-day, and I didn’t want to be doing that, with nothing to look back on,” Frank said. “Bartending was a field that had limited room for advancement as well as no benefits or financial stability.”
Frank said he eventually decided to join the Marine Corps because he wanted to be part of something bigger than himself and to protect his country as other members of his family had done.
“I love the Marine Corps and wouldn’t second-guess my decision for anything,” Frank said. “My grandfather and mother are both retired Air Force so I wanted to follow in the family’s footsteps by joining the military, while also leaving my own mark by joining the Marines.”
Frank said what attracted him to the Marine Corps was the arrogance and the supreme sense of confidence that every Marine seems to possess.
“They are the few and the proud,” Frank said. “They don’t have to bribe people or talk them into joining, they only want the people who want to join the Marine Corps.”
Three years later Frank is currently deployed with Yuma’s Marine Air Control Squadron 1 at Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan providing aviation ground support for coalition aircraft in southwestern Afghanistan.
As an air traffic control system technician, Frank said it is his job to set up and maintain the systems air traffic controllers use to track and control aircraft during flight missions, which can include supporting ground troops in combat.
“I like technology and electronics, a lot,” Frank said. “I like hands-on work more than anything, so I’m really glad I ended up in this field. It lets me get a lot of work in so I feel like I’m accomplishing something.”
There is no exact routine for air traffic control system technicians Frank said. On any given day he and the fellow Marines he works with in the Tactical Date Systems Shop might be repairing one piece of equipment and installing another the following day.
While he and his crew are on call, Frank said they typically work in 12-hour shifts with another crew, and always have at least one person in their shop at all times in case something does go wrong.
“The last thing we want is for somebody out there to need us because their equipment went down, and we can’t be there,” Frank said.
On his first deployment, Frank said the most difficult part of it for him so far has been not having his cell phone, which he used constantly to keep in touch with his family and friends back home in Kansas and Oklahoma.
“It was hard the first couple of weeks, but it eventually faded and I wasn’t checking my pocket every couple of minutes to see if I had a voice mail or text message,” Frank said. “I miss being able to talk to my family and friends, just being able to send them a quick text, just being able to connect with them for a couple of seconds on that little keyboard.”
Having gone from Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms in California, where he went for training, to MCAS Yuma, and now to Afghanistan, Frank said he seems have gone from desert to desert to desert while in the Marines.
“Every place is what you make of it, and I chose to make the best of my situation here,” Frank said. “I have a lot of really good people working here with me, so it’s not too hard to keep your mind off things.”
With less than a year remaining on his current enlistment, Frank says he will be making a lot of decisions about his future over the next 11 months.
Those who enter the service without direction typically leave with it, and Frank said he plans on using the discipline and motivation given to him by the Marine Corps to return to school and pursue a degree in finance so that he can run for political office.
The Derby, Kan., native also hasn’t ruled out the possibility of re-enlisting in the Marines after graduation and returning to active duty as an officer.
James Gilbert can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6854. Find him on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/YSJamesGilbert or on Twitter @YSJamesGilbert.
Cpl. Brandon Frank, who is currently deployed with Yuma’s Marine Air Control Squadron 1 to Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan says that as an air traffic control system technician, it is his job to set up and maintain the systems air traffic controllers use to track and control aircraft during flight missions, which can include supporting ground troops in combat.
Article source: http://www.yumasun.com/articles/frank-80207-marine-air.html
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