Face of Defense: Past Drill Instructor Promotes Former Recruit
By Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kenneth Jasik
1st Marine Logistics Group
CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan, Nov. 5, 2010 A gunnery sergeant with 1st Marine Logistics Group’s Combat Logistics Regiment 15 promoted a Marine to the rank of staff sergeant here Nov. 1, but the first time they met was under completely different circumstances eight years ago at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego.
Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Victor Leaños, right, pins chevrons on the uniform of Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Otis B. Karngbaye, center, during a promotion ceremony at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, Nov. 1, 2010. Leaños was one of Karngbaye’s drill instructors when he attended recruit training in August 2002. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Kenneth Jasik
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Victor Leaños, the company gunnery sergeant for the regiment’s Headquarters and Service Company, pinned the chevrons on the uniform of Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Otis B. Karngbaye, the company gunnery sergeant for General Support Motor Transport Company and one of his former recruits from his time as a drill instructor.
Both Marines have come a long way since they were together in August 2002. Karngbaye, 28, from Brooklyn Park, Minn., remembers when he first met his former drill instructor on the yellow footprints.
“When I first met him I thought he was evil, and to this day he still kind of scares me,” Kanrgbaye joked. “I still see him as my drill instructor. If I need something or have a question about something, I ask him.”
As a recruit, Karngbaye was one of Leaños’ squad leaders.
“The senior drill instructor said he wanted him to be a squad leader, so I made him one,” said Leaños, 33, from Los Angeles. “After that, I realized the senior had made a really good choice.”
After Karngbaye finished boot camp, the two Marines first saw each other again at the Alternate Mission Readiness Exercise in Yuma, Ariz., as they prepared for their current deployment to Afghanistan.
“When I first saw him, I recognized his face, but he had gotten a lot bigger,” Leaños said of his former recruit, who has added muscle mass since boot camp.
Karngbaye attributes his success to the first lessons his drill instructors taught him.
“He taught me that if you want something, you’ve got to go for it,” Karngbaye said. “You should put your whole heart into it, and to always make sure you have your core values.”
Leaños said he’s proud of Karngbaye’s accomplishments, and is glad to see him come so far in his Marine Corps career.
“Every Marine has a little bit of their drill instructor in them,” he said. “So it is great to see your former recruits do [well].”