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Face of Defense: Illinois Marine Loves to Serve

By Marine Corps Cpl. Ed Galo
Regimental Combat Team 6

DELARAM DISTRICT CENTER, Afghanistan , June 5, 2012 – When he was living a simple life in a small Midwestern farm town, Michael Montgomery recalled that he felt that he had to serve his country in a time of war.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Marine Corps Sgt. Michael Montgomery briefs his troops just before departing for a patrol in Delaram, Afghanistan, June 1, 2012. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Ed Galo

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

“I think it’s everyone’s obligation to serve their country in the military or some sort of public service,” said Montgomery, now serving as a Marine Corps sergeant here with Battery E, 2nd Battalion, 10th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 6.

“I joined so I could deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said.

In his seven years in the Marine Corps, Montgomery, of Potomac, Ill., has deployed twice to Iraq and now he’s in Afghanistan.

Montgomery, 25, is a field artilleryman by trade.

“I love every aspect of artillery, but shooting and moving is my favorite part,” Montgomery said. “There aren’t blanks for the howitzer. We always shoot live rounds. So that means we always train for how we fight.”

Montgomery says he believes his experience helps him to be a strong leader for his junior Marines.

“It has definitely helped me -- the experience of how basic day-to-day life is, and going on patrols and maintaining security. I’ve learned a lot about that and try to teach it to the junior guys,” Montgomery said.

Although he’s traveled around the world, Montgomery said he’s still a farm boy at heart. He enjoys talking about tractors and farm life. He restores old tractors as a hobby.

“I don’t like working with new tractors with computers and stuff like that,” he said. “I like an older tractor that is just gears spinning and not computer programs on wheels. I was raised old school like that.”

Montgomery said he likes to talk about the farm equipment he encounters in Afghanistan.

“That one looks almost like the one I have back home,” he said with a smile to another Marine, referring to a piece of farm machinery while on patrol. “Mine has a bigger plow though.”

Montgomery said he probably won’t reenlist because he has accomplished his goal of deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan. He said he plans on returning to Illinois to pursue a degree in criminal justice, becoming a police officer, and working on his farm.

“I don’t plan on making a lot of money out of the farm. That’s just more to keep it up,” Montgomery said. “We’ve owned it since 1828. I’m real big into history, and that’s history. It has a lot of sentimental value. I was raised on the farm, and if I ever have kids, I’ll raise them on that farm, too.”

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