JALIBAH, Iraq -- Being promoted, reenlisting or receiving an award while in the field is always a memorable experience.
Master Sgt. Isaac T. Black, Marine Wing Support Squadron 373 first sergeant, reenlisted for two more years and made it an even more memorable by having the ceremony in a CH-46E Sea Knight helicopter courtesy of Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 162 April 2, in Iraqi airspace.
Black first went to boot camp Nov. 19, 1983, and joined to get some experience as a mechanic as well as to defend his country. Back then he had no intentions to spend more than four years in the Corps. When it came time for him to reenlist or get out, he said he knew he would miss the camaraderie of his fellow Marines and all the traveling he got to do.
"I enjoyed the Marine Corps too much to get out, so I reenlisted," he said. Nineteen years later he fulfilled a promise he made to himself while deployed during the Gulf War.
"I was watching the helicopters taking off and landing one day and said to myself 'one day I'm going to reenlist in one of those,'" he said. "And this is the ultimate experience. This is the place where the real jobs take place; this is where we're really Marines. We're in our element here, it's a wonderful feeling."
Spending another two years in the Corps and participating in Operation Iraqi Freedom is an important thing for Black.
"The Marine Corps has such an important job to do out here defending the freedoms we hold so dear as Americans," he said. "As a first sergeant I also couldn't leave my Marines during this war."
After spending 19-years as a war-fighting devil dog, Black has seen and experienced many things. The best thing that he will remember from the Marine Corps, when his two years are up, are the friendships he's forged in the Corps.
"Living with them, working with them and just constantly being with them, I got to know so many people so well that my friends have turned into my brothers," he said. "I will always remember them."