'Ironhorse' sets example; tanker remembers where he came from

31 Jul 2002 | Lance Cpl. G. Lane Miley

There have been many leadership techniques used in American history. Sitting Bull and Geronimo lead by example and protected a way of life. Vince Lombardi set the stage with his tenaciousness to win.  The great and late Dr. Martin Luther King portrayed selflessness like no other.

"Don't forget where you came from," said Staff Sgt. Avon M. Paul. "Let the young Marines know you were in their shoes at one time and implement what you did to correct the problem."

The platoon sergeant is currently here from Camp Lejeune, N.C., with other Marines from A Company, 2nd Tank Battalion participating and leading the way at Combined Arms Exercise 9-02.

The Baltimore native began his military career at 19. His first post in the Fleet Marine Force was where he now holds his current billet.

He said he aims to be in touch with his Marines, discern any problems they may have and know what motivates them.

"He leads by example, is interested in our personal lives and prepares young Marines for promotion by sharing Marine Corps knowledge and insuring we know what it takes to be good leaders ourselves," said Lance Cpl. Ian M. Durham.

"Before we came out here, he let us take care of any personal business we had. It just put us at ease, so we could focus on the training at hand and know that everything at home was alright," the Atlanta, native praised. "He's a good platoon sergeant. The best I've had."

Paul said even as a good leader, one must always be willing to learn.

"I think of myself as a lance corporal in a staff sergeant's body," Paul said. He said he strives for knowledge at all times, and gives corporals and sergeants the latitude to make decisions on their own.

"You have to be able to trust your subordinates. They rely on you, and likewise you must be able to trust them," Paul said.
He was promoted to sergeant his first enlistment and reenlisted because he loved being around Marines.

After reenlisting, Paul served as a recruiter enlisting warriors he felt he could trust with the nation's security. He was billeted as the staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge for Recruiting Substation Ridley (Ridley, Pa.), where he was promoted to his present rank.

After eight years as a Marine, Paul attributes his driving force after a long day to his wife, Ronnell, and son, Tyrell.

Paul said he calls his Marines in their off time, whether to pass word or to take part in platoon functions - bowling specifically.

"A platoon that is a tight knit family will be able to overcome anything - in garrison or war time," he said.

Paul and the rest of his tanker family will return from CAX 9-02 to Lejeune sometime next month.