AL-JAZIRAH DESERT, Iraq --
A Yuma, Ariz., native led a five-day convoy of more than 50 vehicles and 100 Marines from the gates of Al Asad Air Base across the sands of al-Jazirah desert in Iraq to dismantle an expedient repair and replenishment point.
Sgt. Carlos Canez, a motor transport operator with Marine Wing Support Squadron 172, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward), took charge of the mission that began July 23, serving as the convoy commander, a billet normally held by a staff noncommissioned officer or commissioned officer.
During the mission, Canez brought his Marines to repair and replenishment point San Francisco, a site established several weeks prior to afford units operating in the region a location to refuel their vehicles and aircraft. The replenishment point also gave units a place for personnel to take a break and refresh before heading back into Iraq’s unforgiving desert.
“RRPs are designed to go up and down quickly because they are expeditionary – expedient fueling and repair sites for units supporting missions away from a base,” Capt. Chris Eyre, the detachment commander for RRP San Francisco.
For six days, Canez managed the Marines while they worked to load generators, food, water and other supplies onto the vehicles, effectively dismantling the refuel point.
When the Marines had everything packed and were ready to roll, Canez led the return convoy back to the air base, wrapping up his sixth mission as a convoy commander during this deployment.
By taking command of convoys and accomplishing the mission, Canez proved himself as a leader with abilities beyond his rank, according to Staff Sgt. Herbert Ochoa, the motor transport staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge and Canez’s supervisor. It’s because of this leadership that Ochoa selected Canez for the challenging yet rewarding duty of leading convoys in Iraq.
Canez’s dream of leading Marines began at the age of 14 when the Mexican-born Marine moved to the United States and began to see commercials on TV for the Marine Corps.
As a child he saw Marines in various movies, TV shows and commercials and it was then he decided his destiny — to become a Marine. It’s a decision he has never questioned or regretted.
“I love what I am doing,” explained Canez, serving his 3rd deployment to. “I just get that feeling of satisfaction from doing my job.”
Shortly after his unit returns to Okinawa, Canez will head to Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., where he will attend drill instructor school.