Featured News
Photo Information

Gunnery Sgt. Gary M. Gonzalez, 39, from Alhambra Calif., who is the civil affairs staff noncommissioned officer in charge of Detachment 1, Civil Affairs Team 5, 2nd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5, talks with a contractor and an engineer in the city of Anah, Iraq, May 29, about a project for the city. Gonzalez has been doing civil affairs work since 1994 and this is his second time to work in the Anah area.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Paul Torres

CAG Gunny keeps coming back for more

11 Jun 2008 | Lance Cpl. Paul Torres

There are many different reasons why people join the Marine Corps. Gunnery Sgt. Gary M. Gonzalez joined because he wanted to deploy and he wanted to make a difference in the world.

“I joined the Civil Affairs Group back in 1994 because one of my buddies was in it and I knew I would get to deploy,” said Gonzalez, 39, from Alhambra Calif., who is the civil affairs staff noncommissioned officer in charge of Detachment 1, Civil Affairs Team 5, 2nd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5.

Gonzalez has deployed several times with Civil Affairs to places such as the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Korea, Japan and Iraq.

“Each job we did was different in each area,” said Gonzalez. “There were some places where we had to act as a mediator between the people and the military, and with others we were providing aide to displaced refuges who had lost their homes or had been forced to leave.”

Gonzalez’s latest deployment to the Rawah and Anah areas of Iraq has focused a lot on helping the provincial government rebuild the infrastructure and reestablish stability to the people.

“Having experience in civil affairs just means you have learned to handle all types of missions,” said Gonzalez. “No matter how much training you have done, there is a huge difference in talking with an Iraqi role player at Mojave viper and standing in the streets of Iraq with a local contractors eating a falafel and discussing his progress on a project.”

The knowledge Gonzalez has brought to CA Team 5 has been beneficial in helping them accomplish their mission in Rawah and Anah.

“He is a great asset to the team, and he has made my job a lot easier,” said Lt. Daniel M. Thomas, 24, from Santa Barbra, Calif., who is the team leader for CA Team 5. “When we go out to do an assessment on a project or to meet with some one, he pretty much knows what it is that needs to be accomplished.”

This is Gonzalez’s second deployment to the Rawah and Anah area.

“I recognize some of the people I dealt with last time, and it is cool to come back here and see how things have improved,” said Gonzalez.

Gonzalez hopes to reenlist to continue working in civil affairs.

“I volunteered to go on this deployment and I feel like I have personally benefited by being on this team,” said Gonzalez.


Tags