Commanding Officer
Photo Information

Sgt. Dustin Baker (left), a vehicle commander, and Cpl. Fernando Morales, a machine gunner, both with Civil Affairs Team 6, Detachment 1, 2nd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5, pose for a photograph at Haqlaniyah, Iraq, Oct. 14. Baker and Morales are both individual augments who were called back to the Marine Corps to serve in Iraq.::r::::n::

Photo by Cpl. Shawn Coolman

From civvies to cammies; two Marines continue to serve

17 Oct 2008 | Cpl. Shawn Coolman

Two Marines serving with Civil Affairs Team 6, Detachment 1, 2nd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5 who already reached their end of service date are continuing to serve in Iraq.

The two Marines, Cpl. Fernando Morales and Sgt. Dustin Baker, who both have been out of the Marine Corps for two years, were recalled from inactive reserve to serve in Iraq.

Morales and Baker serve as two of many individual augments in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Both Marines served four years, but chose to leave the Marine Corps for different reasons.

"My wife didn't like the whole military thing, and I wanted to be a family man," said Morales, 24, who served as a marksmanship instructor while in the Marine Corps.

"I wanted to finish college, and I wanted to settle down," said Baker, 27, who was an infantryman with 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment.

While in the Marine Corps, Morales and Baker had varying experiences.

"When I was in Iraq, we were looking for people who were planting IEDs (improvised explosive devices) as part of a scout sniper team," said Baker, who is now on his third deployment, one to Afghanistan and two to Iraq. "Now, our mission is totally different. Instead of searching for the enemy, we're now working with the people to rebuild Iraq."

"I can't really complain, I had a great four years in the Marine Corps," said Morales, who is now a machine gunner for CA Team 6 and is from San Antonio. "I spent a year in Cuba with Marine Corps Security Forces Company and worked with a lot of good Marines.

Although both Marines had been out of the service for some time, when they were called back they both still held strong feelings for the time they spent wearing the uniform.

"I just had a son, just got married and just bought a home when I was recalled," said Morales, who works as an inventory specialist for South Texas Blood and Tissue Center. "But I did miss the espirit de corps and camaraderie of the Marines."       

"I was going to college, working on bachelors degree and working in construction when I was called back," said Baker, from Tallahassee, Fla. "Even though I wasn’t in the Marine Corps any more, I was still proud of the time that I served and the uniform I represented."

While on this deployment Baker understands the importance of being here and what that brings to local operations.

"As much as I would like to be home with my wife, I'm glad that I can still help with operations in Iraq," said Baker, who is a vehicle commander for CA Team 6. "I really like the guys here and everyone that I have been around."

Both Marines have plans after they finish this deployment with CA Team 6.

"I'm going back and finish school, get my contractors license, and build a home for me and my wife," said Baker.

"When I'm done here I'm going to go back to my job and start school," said Morales.        

Their past experiences have helped this CA team with operations in the al-Anbar province.

"They both bring experience and positive attitude to this team," said Staff Sgt. Graham H. Webb, 26, team chief, CA Team 6, from Ripley, Tenn. "Even though they are both recalled, they are both still happy to be here, and our team is better off with them here."