Gunner shares wisdom; Critiques Marines on ranges

24 Aug 2002 |

"These Marines did a good job today, just returning from deployment to Okinawa and losing many of their senior guys," Chief Warrant Officer Stuart J. White said. "This is a chance for them to get back to basics."

The battalion gunner, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, praised the Kilo Company Marines for their performance on Range 410 Alpha, the company's first obstacle for Combined Arms Exercise 10-02 here.

White saw two perspectives for the training today - one as the battalion gunner and the other as a "coyote" with the Tactical Training and Exercise Control Group, which controls the ranges and training here. He will soon make Twentynine Palms his home when he joins forces with TTECG.

"These Marines are doing really well," the Burlington, Vt., native, said from a coyote's perspective. "They're listening and applying the techniques we tell them, putting the pieces together and really putting forth a maximum effort."

He began his career here 22 years ago with 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment working with 81mm mortars. He spent three years with 1/4 before receiving orders to Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Shortly after arriving at Lejeune, White deployed to Liberia, where he once again worked with 81s as well as anti-armor weapons. There he and other warriors evacuated Americans and foreign nationals during Operation Sharp Edge.

White said he returned home with "just enough time to clean the dirt off his boots" before loading up and heading out once again. This time he deployed to the Persian Gulf, where he added fire to the fight with a combined anti-armor team in Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield.

He was so motivated upon return to the United States that he submitted a package to be a drill instructor. It was accepted and he served a tour on the drill field at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C.

After making Marines at Parris Island, White returned to the Fleet Marine Force for a short stint before serving as an Inspector and Instructor in Albany, N.Y., where he worked with reserve Marines.

Gunnery Sgt. White returned to the FMF, served with 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment and then transferred to his current command, 3/2. Shortly after returning to the fleet, he was selected as battalion gunner.

He received his commission, pinned a chief warrant officer insignia on his right lapel and the famed bursting bomb on his left.
White said it is an honor to wear the bursting bomb - serving as the infantry weapons expert and providing his commanders with a vast amount of weapons and infantry knowledge.

White said the gunner's billet was done away with until former commandant, Gen. Alfred M. Gray, reinstated it because of a gap he saw in the continuity among infantry battalions.

"Gunners ensure that stability because we often stay with a battalion for three to seven years," White affirmed. "We stay to prepare the Marines. We serve as mentors and help teach the platoon commanders how to become better Marines."

White transfers to TTECG here next week, where his career began. He plans to serve with them for the next two or three years. With TTECG, he will critique 10 battalions each year.

"I'm looking forward to it," White said. "Here I'll make a big difference by influencing the younger Marines - improving their procedures and techniques."

White says he has no plans of retiring after this duty station.

"I'm not ready to hang these boots up yet," White proclaimed. "I still have fun everyday when I come to work. When I look back on my career, the good and great times outweigh the bad, by far, and that's what I always tell the young Marines."