Cpl. Anthony Ward --
AFGHANISTAN - One of the easiest ways to supply Marines in combat with essential gear and equipment are vehicle convoys. These logistics trains can carry more supplies than a helicopter and reach areas that may not be feasible to reach by air.
The responsibility of orchestrating these multiple vehicle trips usually doesn’t fall upon the shoulders of a junior noncommissioned officer.
Corporal Stephen Karavolos is one of the exceptions, serving as an asset to the Georgian Liaison Team for Regimental Combat Team 7, Regional Command Southwest.
Karavolos, a motor transport operator by trade, enlisted into the Marine Corps during September 2009, after an unfortunate injury opened the door for him.
“I wrestled for Longwood High School in New York,” said Karavolos, 22. “I injured my neck, so I wasn’t able to go to college. I had a scholarship to go to Penn State. I decided to take my next step and join the Marine Corps. I wanted to serve my country honorably.”
Karavolos served in Afghanistan for his first time with Combat Logistics Battalion 8.
“On my first deployment, I was a MK-19 gunner and a vehicle commander,” said Karavolos. “That’s pretty much all I did.”
Karavolos was in Afghanistan from January 2012 to August 2012. He volunteered to return and was sent back as a part of the GLT during September 2012.
A seasoned veteran, Karavolos has a much higher workload than his previous deployment and is expected to conduct work above his pay grade.
“This time around I’m the convoy commander,” said Karavolos. “I’m the motor transport chief, as well as the operations chief.”
A convoy commander is usually a billet held by a junior officer. The motor transport chief and operations chief billets are usually held by staff noncommissioned officers, usually a staff sergeant or gunnery sergeant. Karavolos holds all these billets and the responsibility that comes with them.
“As a convoy commander, you’re responsible for the entire convoy,” said Karavolos. “Every person, every action the Marines do and getting the mission done. As a motor (transport) chief, all the operators and personnel have to be accounted for. As the operations chief, I have to be accountable for all the convoys, patrols and operations that are going on.”
Karavolos has to keep track of nearly 47 Marines, 150 pieces of gear and provide logistical support for the Georgian battalions and the bases they have nearby.
His efforts and dedication to mission accomplishment has impressed his leadership.
“For him to step up as a junior NCO says a lot,” said 2nd Lt. Robert E. Dzvonick, supply officer for the GLT. “He oversees everything, and he is in charge of the logistics train that keeps things going.”
As his deployment draws closer to an end, Karavolos will continue to serve honorably and provide his unit with the support they need.