Perseverance pays off for Brooklyn Marine

4 Jun 2004 | Cpl. Mike Escobar

A stocky, broad-shouldered man walks down a hall of the Combined Joint Task Force- Haiti headquarters, making his way to the linguists’ office.
“Oohrah, sir,” a young devil dog greets him as he walks by the dark skinned chief warrant officer.  “How are you this morning?”
“Great! Just another day in my beloved Marine Corps,” the 40-year-old Brooklyn, N.Y. native replies with a smile.
Such is a day in the life of Marine Chief Warrant Officer-3 Jean Poitevien, a linguist with Combined Joint Task Force- Haiti.  BGen. Ron Coleman, the CJTF commander, promoted Poitevien to his present rank on Tuesday, April 27 here. 
From humble beginnings in a “rough neighborhood in Brooklyn,” to his present duties at Camp Cintron, Poitevien said his career as a reservist in the Marines has helped him succeed both in and out of the military.    
“The Marine Corps gave me the discipline and the focus that I needed to succeed,” he stated.
Poitevien began his career as an enlisted infantryman with Fox Company 2/25, a reserve unit out of Brooklyn.  When Fox Co. relocated to upstate New York, he cross-trained into the communications field because another reserve unit was only ten minutes away from home, he said.
At his new unit, he worked as a digital switch technician with 6th Communications Battalion, where he repaired switches on telephone systems, Poitevien explained.
Marine Col. Mario LaPaix, CJTF-Haiti special advisor to the commanding general and head of the linguist section, said he has known Poitevien for years.
“I’ve always been impressed with him,” LaPaix stated.  “He’s a take charge kind of guy, and he’s not afraid of responsibility.”
According to LaPaix, he’s been so impressed with Poitevien that in 1999 he flew from New York to 29 Palms, where then-Staff Sgt. Poitevien was attending an advanced communications course, to promote him to warrant officer.
Marine Gunnery Sgt. Jean Joseph, CJTF-Haiti linguist, said Poitevien’s coworkers are as impressed with his work ethic as is his commander.
“He’s pretty focused and puts some order in the office,” Joseph stated.  “He’s a very reliable person… you can definitely count on him.”
LaPaix said Poitevien’s dedication and work ethic manifest themselves in various ways.  Poitevien’s successful career is more a reflection of his love for the Marine Corps then of his personal ambition, he added.
LaPaix specifically requested that Poitevien deploy with him to Haiti.  Despite the fact that the chief warrant officer had just married, he willingly deployed the day after, LaPaix said.
“That dedication to the Corps is unheard of.  Needless to say, a guy that can pack up his stuff right after he gets married has great work habits.”
But this Brooklyn native is passionate about other things in his life as well. 
“I like to run… but I didn’t like to run as a lance corporal,” Poitevien said.
He also said he likes to read fiction novels, but one of the most important things in his life is his family.
“I definitely consider myself a family man,” he stated, his thoughtful brown eyes staring into the distance.  “I’d like to be able to spend more time with my kids.” 
The chief warrant officer stated that he also enjoys life in the civilian world, and attributes his success as a central office manager with Verizon to the experience the Corps gave him in the communications field.
“I couldn’t have done the things I’ve done (without Marine Corps schooling),” he continued.
Poitevien also said he has met many Marines who share the same interest, and the networking has been invaluable.  The Marines he’s met may have been just as influenced by him as he was by them, Joseph said.
“He motivates Marines to better serve the Corps and help accomplish the mission,” Joseph stated.  Poitevien has been a driving force in motivating him to put in a package for warrant officer.
“The entire time I’ve known him, I’ve never known him to shirk any responsibilities,” LaPaix stated.
“He’s a great worker, conscientious person, and a great leader.”