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Hometown Heroes of exercise Red Dagger 2018

By Sgt. Melanie A Wolf | Marine Corps Forces Reserves | May 22, 2018

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It isn’t very often that a Reservist in the Marine Corps gets a job with the same structure as their job in the civilian sector. For Lance Cpl. Cody A. Evans, the things he learned in his military occupational specialty as a combat engineer are skills that he uses in his every day job.

Sworn into the Corps on January 3rd, 2017, Evans is 19 year-old Reservist with Engineer Company C, 6th Engineer Support Battalion, 4th Marine Logisitcs Group. As a native of Cerro Gordo, Illinois, Evans, is experiencing his first annual training exercise at Red Dagger 18, in Fort Indiantown Gap, Penn.

Red Dagger is a bilateral training exercise with the 131 Commando Squadron Royal Engineers, a British Army Reserve unit and the Marines with 6th ESB, 4th MLG.

“This annual training has been the most interesting thing I have been able to experience in the Marine Corps so far,” said Evans. “The other night it was pouring down rain, yet we were still laughing and having a good time together. The camaraderie that the Marine Corps has as a whole and bringing the commando’s into the mix has been a great experience.”
As a combat engineer, Evans has had opportunities to do construction type work with his company in Peoria, Ill.
“We specialize in a little bit of everything,” said Evans. “We like to be the jack of all trades at Engineer Company C. We have done some demolition projects, route clearance, and a bit of infantry combat tactics and techniques.”
Evans will be able to take the tactics, skills, and lessons he has learned at his unit and at exercise Red Dagger, to transition them to his job as an Assembly and Test Specialist at Caterpillar.
“At Caterpillar, we take bare transmissions and add on all the cosmetics,” said Evans. “We basically build these engines from scratch. I enjoy working with my hands to build and construct, so it’s awesome that I can do it part time with the Marine Corps and full time with my civilian job.”
When all is said and done, Reservists go back to their civilian jobs with more experience, discipline, and skills than when they leave their jobs to conduct their two week annual training in the military.

“Being a Reservist, I am away from other Marines majority of the time,” said Evans. “I see Marines maybe once every month, sometimes every two months. It gets to the point where I miss it, and, them. On the civilian side, you don’t see that bond within the work place, you have people who complain and haven’t gone through any hardships. With Marines, we all embrace the suck, and make the hardships that we have gone through a learning experience that defines who we are.”

With that mindset, Evans will be able to take the training, skills, and experiences he's learned, to not only further himself, but to also use throughout his lifetime in whatever he does.
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