CAMP LEATHERNECK – More than 20 vehicles of varying shapes and sizes kick up dust and sand as a combat logistics patrol drives through Afghanistan.
Marine Corps Cpl. Armando Muniz, a loadmaster with 4th Platoon, 2nd Combat Logistics Battalion, 15th Combat Logistics Regiment, keeps track of everything the patrol drops off and picks up and makes sure everything gets to where it needs to be.
Muniz’s battalion supplies food, drinks, building materials and equipment to the Marines and other coalition forces throughout Helmand province.
“We take everything from point A to point B and sometimes even C,” Muniz said.
A loadmaster’s duties range from ensuring everything is loaded safely and securely to making sure gear is signed over to the proper person. Muniz said he also makes sure he knows what the Marines need for future deliveries.
“Sometimes Marines don’t always get everything,” he said. “I talk to the Marines. When I’m back, I make sure we load it on the next convoy. If there are other Marines going back to the base, I’ll give it to them.”
It is this kind of dedication that developed Muniz’s reputation for being professional and helpful. If they need anything, Marines know to seek out Muniz when the logistics patrol arrives at their base.
“When people call our office looking for gear, they ask for Cpl. Muniz by name,” said 1st Lt. Andrew Schlottmann, Muniz’s platoon commander. “He’s earned himself a reputation with the Marines with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines. They know when he shows up, he’s there to work, and they take him very seriously.”
When a patrol arrives at a forward operating base, there are a lot of moving parts. Each base receives specific items and quantities. In addition, Marines at each base might have something to return with the convoy. With more than 20 vehicles and 60 Marines and sailors moving around large boxes of cargo, the importance of a loadmaster quickly becomes clear.
“Corporal Muniz is always the first person on scene when we get to other FOBs,” said Sgt. Bryan Hall, a security team leader with 4th Platoon. “He’s always coordinating with the other units, and he makes the unloading and loading a lot easier.”
Muniz is active when the logistics patrols arrive. He makes sure the correct personnel sign for items, checks unloaded gear and accounts for loaded gear.
“He’s also on the trucks with the Marines undoing straps and unbinding chains,” Hall said. “He doesn’t just sit there and tell people what to do. He gets his hands dirty and works with the Marines.”
For Muniz, who volunteered to become a loadmaster before deploying, the job is the next challenge he is trying to conquer. But, he said, he enjoys working under the stress and time sensitive conditions.
“After my first two deployments, I wanted to move up to a bigger challenge,” he said. “When I’m loading, sometimes I feel like I’m playing Tetris. I’m trying to load as much as I can on one vehicle safely.”
Muniz may compare his job to a game, but he takes his job seriously.
“I play a supportive role for the guys out there in the fight,” Muniz said. “I want to make sure they have everything they need.”
With winter fast approaching, Muniz’s job as loadmaster will not slow down. He will continue to make sure Marines and coalition service members throughout Helmand province receive the necessary gear and supplies to continue operations.