USS ESSEX, AT SEA --
Two lance corporals with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 262 (Reinforced), 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, go above and beyond expectations daily in accomplishing their mission.
Lance Cpl. Natividad Salinas started boxing at six-years-old. Before the joining the Marine Corps, Salinas was in countless boxing tournaments and even won a gold medal in the 2006 Junior Olympics. Now as a lance corporal, and working as a training and operations clerk for HMM-262 (REIN), he’s accountable for over 100 aircrew logbooks, keeping records of hundreds of flight hours each month.
“I keep track of every time a pilot steps inside their aircraft, even from when they first started flying,” said Salinas. “I also keep track of everyone’s training since they enlisted and the hard part sometimes is if there is a discrepancy; we have to go back months or years to find it and fix it.”
Salinas believes being stationed in Okinawa was just what he needed. He said he joined the Corps to help pay for college, but more than that, he wanted to travel and try new things. Although this is only his second float, serving one’s country is a family tradition.
“I have a sister in the Air Force. My father is in the Army and my mother is in the Navy,” said the New York native.
“Salinas attends meetings in the landing force operations center, that are mostly attended by E-6 and above, and provides friendly situation briefs to the pilots,” said Sgt. Robert Heite, operations chief for HMM-262 (REIN).
After his enlistment Salinas said he wants to go to Georgia Institute of Technology and major in Mechanical Engineering.
Salinas is also being cross trained by Lance Cpl. Ethan Millisor in Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense.
Millisor recently joined HMM-262 (REIN) as their Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense specialist.
“Joining the Marine Corps was something I always wanted to do, ever since I was a little kid,” said Millisor. “I’m in charge of the training requirements including gas chambers, individual survival standards, individual protection standards and contamination reconnaissance avoidance,” said the 19-year-old.
Millisor has also been cross-trained by Salinas and is assisting as an operational clerk, even though he is a CBRN defense specialist.
After his enlistment, Millisor said, he intends to use the G.I. Bill to get his degree and become a commissioned officer in the Marine Corps.
“Both of these Marines are vital assets to the 262 team, which help the 31st MEU stay mission ready,” said Heite. “They are what every Marine should strive to be.”