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Why I Serve: Tank Gunner Grows Up

By Pfc. Lucian Friel, USMC
Special to American Forces Press Service

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C., Nov. 19, 2004 – "I couldn't see myself growing up fast enough in college to take care of business, and I knew the Corps could help," Marine Cpl. Anthony F. Nagle explained.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Marine Cpl. Anthony F. Nagle, a tank gunner with Company B, 2nd Tank Battalion, is second in command of his tank. Photo by Pfc. Lucian Friel, USMC

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

As a youth, Nagle, a native of Struthers, Ohio, played around in the sand box with his toy trucks and tanks. Having fun was the only thing on his mind.

Now as a 21-year-old corporal in the Marine Corps, his toy trucks have been replaced with million-dollar tanks.

Nagle, a tank gunner with Company B, 2nd Tank Battalion, 2d Marine Division, cross-trained with 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, to teach infantry Marines the limits and capabilities of the M-1A1 tank. The training was preparation for the Marines' deployment to Iraq early next year.

The deployment will be Nagle's first deployment since joining the Marine Corps in 2002. Before he graduated from high school, Nagle was an outside linebacker for his football team, the Wildcats. Gaining an aggressive side to make better tackles was necessary to excel at his position, something he has carried with him and helps him in his current position in the Corps.

"As a gunner, I am second in command. I am the tank commander's right hand man. I have to get things done so he doesn't have to worry about it. It takes a lot of hard work and I need that aggression to complete everything effectively," he explained.

Another trait that Nagle gained in his early life is his perception on life. Nagle accredits it to his parents, Dan and Sue Nagle.

"My mom and dad never gave me the watered-down version of how life is. They explained the harsh reality to me," he said

Nagle's family supports him and his upcoming deployment. But as many military families do, they have some concerns about their loved ones' well-being.

With deployment to Iraq scheduled for January-February time frame, Nagle realizes that he must focus on his job and become even more efficient.

"Being an NCO and a tanker has a lot of responsibility, because you are in charge of all the Marines under you. You are working with a $3-million-dollar machine that could easily kill you and the other members of your team," Nagle explained.

For this young Marine leader, the one thing he looks forward to is the sense of pride he will feel from his community.

"I want to make my family, country and hometown proud," Nagle said. "I am prepared for any obstacle that is thrown my way, and I will face my fears head on."

(Marine Pfc. Lucian Friel is 2nd Marine Division combat correspondent.)

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