Haitian Marine to take part in Haiti effort

24 Mar 2004 | Lance Cpl. Ruben D. Maestre

The last time Lance Cpl. Luckner Bastien was in Haiti he was a 16-year-old teenager visiting relatives and enjoying Haitian Creole cuisine. 

“I remember it was hot,” Bastien, originally a native of the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, said excitedly with his slight Haitian accent.

“But I had a good time and some of the best food,” the 22-year-old continued.

Sometime within this week Bastien will join a number of Camp Lejeune Marines deployed to Haiti to aid in stabilization and humanitarian efforts in that country.  Bastien will serve through his job as supply clerk and if as needed, as a translator of Haitian Creole.

“I’m excited about going to Haiti,” Bastien said of his three to six month long deployment to Haiti.

“I want to help the country I came from and I want to help out my fellow Marines,” said Bastien of the country he left with his family at the age of six.

Mild mannered and soft-spoken with his slight accent, Bastien joined the Marine Corps three years ago because he wanted to take part of the history and “traditions” of the Marine Corps.  Today, Bastien is aiming to make a career out of the Corps.

“I want to stay in for [at least] 20 years,” he said.

As a Marine, Bastien was assigned with the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing out of Okinawa, Japan before being assigned to the supply section of 2nd Medical Battalion, 2nd Force Service Support Group based here.  During his time as a Marine, Bastien has been in training exercises in corners of the globe distant from the Haiti of his birth and the city of Miami where he was raised.

“I’ve been in training exercises in Thailand, the Philippines, Australia, and Korea,” said Bastien naming distant locales in the world he has seen.

Now with security being established in Haiti by the U.S. Marines and other allies, the stabilization and humanitarian efforts in which Bastien will play a part of are continually taking shape.

“I heard that a Marine from our office was going to Haiti,” Bastien said.  “So, I spoke with my officer-in-charge and told him I wanted to go,” he said.

Bastien received the deployment to Haiti he wanted.  While being interviewed, he received accolades from his platoon sergeant who pointed out Bastien has a hard worker.

“Ever since Bastien checked in, he has been a good Marine,” said Sgt. Thomas E. Mahand, his platoon sergeant and a supply liaison chief with 2nd Med. Bn. 

“He has taken the initiative, is squared away and is helpful in his mission of specialty,” said Mahand, a native of Birmingham, Ala.
Following the rituals Marines and sailors face with an impending deployment; Bastien works at his office during a recent Tuesday morning, trying to cover all personal and deployment-related issues before he leaves.

“This past weekend I spent time with my family, my girlfriend, and dealing with other personal issues,” he said with his quiet but friendly demeanor.

“In the last 24 hours I’ve been checking out,” he said with a sense of urgency in getting everything done.

Nonetheless, the Haitian native who played American football for his high school team in Miami seems ready to go and assist his fellow Marines in Haiti.

“I felt like I would go to Haiti, since I spoke creole, and it feels good to know that you are helping out” said Bastien.