GARDEN CITY, N.Y. -- Marines experience many different leadership styles during their careers, but each Marine eventually meets that one leader who inspires them, mentors them and ultimately makes them utter the words, “I want to be like you someday.”
For many of the Marines of 2nd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, Gunnery Sgt. Barry A. Worster, is that Marine.
Despite his more than six feet in height and large build, the 34-year-old native of Hartland, Maine, is a humble man who has earned a reputation as an understanding, compassionate and knowledgeable Marine leader.
“He has an answer for everything,” said Sgt. Ian A. Motley, a motor transportation mechanic with 2/25. “He’s full of knowledge. I’m a mechanic, he’s my chief so I look to him to teach me what it takes to be in his position one day and it would be impossible for me to pick his brain enough. He has so much information to give he just retains every piece information he gathers.”
Like all Marines, Worster, who is the motor transport maintenance chief for the battalion, gained his fountain of knowledge over time. During his 16 years as a motor transportation Marine, he has served in many diverse duty assignments and has done so well in those positions that he has been posted in similar roles around the Corps to pass on what he has learned.
Worster attended recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C., on July 2, 1996. After completing boot camp and then graduating from Marine Combat Training on Camp Geiger, N.C., he attended Motor Transportation Maintenance School in Camp Johnson, N.C.
Marines are normally sent to the Fleet Marine Force after completing their primary occupational school, but he was instead selected to attend Logistics Vehicle System School, giving him another skill set before stepping foot into the fleet.
“I’ve always been told that I act more senior than I am,” he said laughing. “When I was a lance corporal I had a sergeant who actually thought I was a staff sergeant when he saw me in civilian clothing. It was just the way I carried myself, I guess, and it provided me with some interesting opportunities.”
Worster served with Marine Wing Communications Squadron 18, Marine Air Control Group 18, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, in Okinawa, Japan, and Marine Corps Detachment Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., as a mechanic prior to his promotion to staff sergeant and becoming a maintenance chief with 2nd Maintenance Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, in Camp Lejeune, N.C.
From Camp Lejeune, Worster deployed to Kuwait and Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi freedom in 2003. During his tour, he worked as a maintenance chief performing vehicle recovery missions and extended his deployment to serve with a Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force where he gained experience working on every vehicle the Marine Corps utilized in theater.
“That guy is just very knowledgeable,” said Staff Sgt. Jose L. Salas, 2/25’s motor transportation operations chief. “He knows his stuff. I try to pick his brain as much as I can. There are just so many systems he’s worked on that he really is an asset wherever he goes.”
Later that year, he was stationed at his first Inspector and Instructor duty station in Rock Island, Ill., where he served with General Support Maintenance Company, 4th Maintenance Battalion.
He returned to Camp Lejeune in 2007. While serving with 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, he returned to Iraq where he began his tour as the motor transportation maintenance chief but later became the logistics chief for the battalion. Two years later he deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and he was yet again appointed as the unit’s logistics chief.
“It was a pretty interesting deployment,” Worster said. “I had vehicles spread all over the place, I had to take a bunch of helicopter rides to check on equipment. At one point I was in charge of these mine flails that we put in the ground to blow up [improvised explosive devices]. That was kind of neat.”
After returning to the states, Worster was sent to his current assignment.
Despite the wealth of experience he has gained and the things he has done, Worster manages to remain humble and attributes his success to his laid back attitude and the solid leadership he has received.
“I’ve always been a realist,” he said. “I really don’t let too much bother me. I try to improve myself. I want Marines to emulate me, and I think that’s what every leader should strive for. I just try to do the right thing.
“I’ve had a couple of mentors in my career. I had one that I was inspired to want to be one day. Throughout our careers we pick someone that we want to emulate, that one guy that you’ll never forget. I’ve just tried to learn and grow from them”
When asked what he wishes to pass on to his Marines, the answer was simple … tolerance.
“You have to tolerate a lot of things in the Marine Corps,” he said. “Change, you have to tolerate stupidity, it’s not easy to say but it’s a fact of life. Just don’t let these things bother you and keep pushing forward.”
Although he still has a year left with 2/25, Worster looks forward to next the step in career, hoping to be stationed somewhere he can grow while working in a new position from his previous assignments.
Regardless of where he goes, the impression he has left on his Marines is undeniable.
“I’ve been in the Marine Corps for nine years and he is honestly without a doubt the best staff noncommissioned officer I’ve ever worked for,” Motley said. “He’s approachable, anyone can talk to him, he makes time for his Marines, rarely does he get angry and is very patient.”
The impression Worster has left on his Marines is more than just one of professionalism.
“He’s just all around a good guy,” Motley said. “He makes time for us, takes us out on his boat on the weekends just to help us all unwind as a shop and he’s just an incredible family man. His wife travels around a lot so he has a daughter that he’s always taking care of and he’s great with her. He’s the kind of Marine you respect as a leader but more importantly, as a man.”
Worster recently led a team of Marines from his unit to aid in the relief efforts on Staten Island, N.Y., following the devastation left by Hurricane Sandy.