CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Bundeson is no stranger to war. During his deployment in Fallujah, Iraq, a truck in his convoy was hit by an improvised explosive device, tearing the vehicle apart and flipping it over, killing the vehicle commander and the gunner.
“One of my sailors suffered the loss of his friend pretty badly, and I was able to help him through it,” Bundeson said. “We have to stick together as a family.”
For Bundeson, a corpsman with Combat Logistics Battalion 5, 1st Marine Logistics Group, family is everything. From the Marines and sailors around him to his wife and children back home, he considers all of them just as close.
“The biggest challenge I’ve encountered was seeing Marines go down, and the only way I was able to overcome it was by maintaining my esprit de corps and staying true to the Marines and sailors around me,” he said. “They are my family.”
During the 13 years Bundeson has been an active duty corpsman, he has been on five combat deployments, serving in Ramadi, Fallujah, Al-Asad and Al-Taqqadum during the height of the Iraq War. During hard times, he said, his focus on family kept him going. His wife and 14-year-old daughter provide him with a valuable pillar of support and push him to do better each day, he added.
“At home, my wife and my daughter are my motivation,” he said. “They mean everything to me, and they keep me going.”
Bundeson was born in Zambales, Philippines, but he calls Roseburg, Ore., his hometown. American culture is just as much a part of him as the Philippine culture he was born into, he said.
The military is in Bundeson’s blood.
“My dad was in the Navy, and following in my dad’s footsteps seemed the right thing to do,” he said.
Bundeson uses the same familial principles to motivate and develop other Marines and sailors. Most recently, he showed his leadership skills during a three-day combat operations center exercise here. He took some Marines and sailors under his wing, established command presence by treating them fairly and with respect and efficiently accomplished the tasks at hand.
“Exercises like these give you a chance to teach newer Marines and sailors ways to do things more effectively,” Bundeson said. “It doesn’t matter what service you’re in -- you need to take charge and take care of your junior Marines and sailors like they’re a part of you.”