Face of Defense: Deployed Marine Applies Junior ROTC Lessons
By Marine Corps Cpl. Katherine M. Solano
2nd Marine Logistics Group
FORWARD OPERATING BASE WHITEHOUSE, Afghanistan, Jan. 25, 2012 With a budding interest in joining the military beginning at a young age, Marine Corps Sgt. Xuchill Laput, a regional site manager with the 2nd Marine Logistics Group’s 9th Engineer Support Battalion, never really considered another option.
Marine Corps Sgt. Xuchill Laput stands in front of his work area on Forward Operating Base Whitehouse, Afghanistan, Jan. 18, 2012. Laput manages four fuel farms in Afghanistan’s Helmand province. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Katherine M. Solano
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
While he originally enlisted to be a combat engineer, over the years, Laput said, he has come to appreciate the importance of being a bulk fuel Marine. Every mission requires fuel, he explained, and it is up to the bulk fuel platoon to keep that mission fulfilled.
Laput said one man in particular solidified his interest in the military: his high school Junior ROTC instructor, Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer Mark Williams. While attending Lincoln High School in Stockton, Calif., Laput said, he stayed involved with the Junior ROTC program and gleaned much from it. To this day, he added, he continues to return to visit his mentor.
“I grew up without a strong male figure,” Laput said. “[Williams] was that figure for me in a lot of ways. He didn’t tell me what to do, but he gave me advice on how to do the right thing, even in hard situations.”
It is this lesson, he said, that he has carried forward the most in his Marine Corps career, both in general and as a bulk fuel specialist. Everyone, not just Marines, should wake up in the morning with a goal to do the right thing throughout the day, added, and that’s the attitude he carries over into his daily routine as a fuel farm manager.
Laput said he and his Marines wake up early every day and go through an extensive checklist of all of the equipment. The procedures include walking every inch of the fuel lines, looking for leaks and tears, checking valves, cleaning filters and ensuring log books are up to date. These procedures do not necessarily need to be done every day, he said, but the habit of doing them every morning solidifies his belief in doing the right thing.
“I can’t expect my Marines to do the checks and keep the farm up if I don’t get up early and do it with them,” Laput said.
His dedication has led his command to give him more responsibility. Laput now manages four fuel farms in the area. He said he intends to implement the same routine to keep military specifications and environmental regulations up to code at the other three sites.
“The Marine Corps has taught me to make do with what you have,” he said. “Our officer in charge takes care of us, so I’m going to take care of all the Marines [at each site]. In turn, they will take care of the fuel farms.”