ABOARD THE USS ESSEX --
Standing nearly 6-feet-tall, with blond hair and a chiseled jaw, Cpl. Nathan Lewis literally stands out among his peers.
For Lewis, a legal clerk with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, the opportunity of being forward deployed throughout the Asia-Pacific region motivates him to hone his nearly perfect arsenal of leadership skills and personal attributes.
With ambitions of becoming a Marine Officer, he seems to be on the right path. Throughout his first term, Lewis has been meritoriously promoted to his current rank and has received numerous awards to include being selected as the 31st MEU’s Marine of the Quarter for January to March, 2008. He also recently graduated as the honor man for a Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) green belt instructor course aboard the forward deployed amphibious ship USS Essex, (LHD2). He earned a certificate after 120 hours of training that included delivering proper professional military education and how to instruct and perform proper close combat tactics.
“His leadership is definitely multi-dimensional because he inspires you to do well while motivating you to keep up with him,” said Lance Cpl. James Kilby, an administrative clerk with the 31st MEU and a Waldorf, Md. native. “Just being exposed to his drive and determination to always better himself, rubs off on me. I feel as if it keeps me from becoming complacent sometimes.”
As a legal clerk, Lewis coordinates legal reports for the four separate battalion-sized units that comprise the 31st MEU. In addition, he is the liaison between the MEU’s command element and its subordinate commands.
Whether it’s being proficient in his trade or displaying the characteristics of a stand up Marine, Lewis’ determination and drive helps him in becoming a good leader.“Cpl. Lewis is an exceptional Marine. He handles all tasks without supervision and on many occasions, works on situations out of his pay grade,” said Maj. Dennis Hager, the Staff Judge Advocate for the 31st MEU, and Lewis’ officer in charge. “He is very efficient and extremely independent, making it easier for me to handle other issues instead of having to monitor him.”
According to an unwritten Marine Corps tradition, when a Marine is promoted, it is not because of what he has done in the past, but he will do in the future. According to Hager, a native of Huntington, Md, Lewis should be a career Marine because of his leadership skills and will to accomplish the mission.
According to Lewis, hiking and adventurous outdoor expeditions are his hobbies and that includes spear fishing, mountain climbing to occupy his free time. Living this kind of lifestyle, its no wonder a 298 Physical Fitness Test score comes natural. Lewis is very humble, and always finds he needs room for improvement.
“In my future, I hope to become a Marine Corps officer,” said Lewis. “The Marine Corps simply provides great opportunities for individuals to always better themselves, and I would like the added challenge.”
According to Lewis, being a Marine corporal is a distinguished rank because of the leadership opportunities and impact he has on the Marines around him.
“It’s a great rank, due to the fact that you can lead Marines who you interact with and are in the presence of all the time,” said Lewis. “It’s a chance to be able to lead by example, to hopefully set a standard your junior Marines around you will push to emulate.”
For now, Lewis is awaiting the outcome of his Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program (MECEP) package. Until then, Lewis continues to charge forward giving more than what is expected from a Marine NCO.
Lewis and the Marines and Sailors of the 31st MEU continue to promote security and stability operational force in the Asia-Pacific region. The 31st MEU is with the Essex Amphibious Ready Group off the coast of Burma awaiting approval to conduct humanitarian aid operations and disaster relief to the Burmese people who were hit by Cyclone Nargis.