AL TAQADDUM, Iraq -- With Marine Corps operational tempo at an all-time high, there are Marines out there who don’t mind the deployments-- even after five of them.
Sergeant Tasha Monz, field radio operator for Combat Logistics Battalion 13, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit and six-year veteran of the Marine Corps, is currently serving her fifth tour in Iraq.
“Anything that a Marine can do out here, she has done,” said Capt. Michael D. Pitre, officer in charge of Monz, about her experience and leadership she brings to the table with five deployments under her belt. “She’s great!”
As one can guess, the climate in Iraq has certainly changed since her first deployment during Operation Iraqi Freedom II.
“The Marine Corps has come a long way (in Iraq). The people of Iraq have grown to appreciate us rather than being afraid and angry with us,” said Monz, a Cincinnati, Ohio native. “I remember doing convoys in OIF II and getting rocks and all sorts of things thrown at us. Now we get waived at and offered gifts.”
She also noted the cities have been cleaned up a great deal and believes we aren’t the only ones who understand what’s being done here.
The changes aren’t only here in Iraq, but on the home front too. Monz’s parents were terrified the first time she came over here.
“Whose families weren’t,” she said. “Now they are used to it.” She continued, “They obviously still worry about me, but it isn’t half as bad as it used to be.” Her family and friends now understand if she doesn’t contact them for a few weeks she’s probably busy or just unable to get to a phone or computer during that time.
The Oak Hill High School graduate continued to explain how the more she’s gone the stronger the bond is with her family.
When Monz was asked how long she planned on staying in the Corps she stated that she wasn’t sure yet. She wants to start a family, yet she loves the life the Marine Corps offers her. She recognizes she has some tough decisions to ponder in the near future.
Until then, Monz goal is to see her “fellow” female Marines be outgoing and to step up and perform when called upon.
“We already have a point to prove,” Monz said with a smile, “and having more deployments under your belt makes it easier.” She’s still smiling.
Monz has already made plans to stay with the 13th MEU for their next scheduled deployment in 2008. Number six…?