Meet Your Marines: Marine Week In Cleveland

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Currently, there are 9,371 active duty and reserve Marines from Ohio serving at home and overseas, including Marines still participating in combat operations in Afghanistan. At home in particular, Cleveland is served locally by 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment and Recruiting Station Cleveland. Above, Marines of 3/25 meet with Senator John Glenn, retired Marine and native Ohioan, and Major General Charles F. Bolden Jr. (Ret.). Get to know more of your local Marines below and check out all the event this week for our Marines.

Voinivich Park Transformed For Marine Week In Cleveland!


Private First Class Benjamin Doak

Time in Service: 1 year

Age: 22

Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) Description:
Intelligence Specialist (0231)

Current Duty Station:
3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment

Current Billet:
S-2 Clerk

Why He Joined the Marine Corps:
“To give back to my community and my nation, and to gain self discipline.”

Ties to Cleveland:
PFC Doak is a first generation Marine from Portage County. He was born in Ohio and has lived in the Buckeye State for 17 years. PFC Doak attended the University of Akron from 2007 to 2009 before enlisting in the Marine Corps.

 



Lance Corporal Christopher Sasak

Time in Service: 4 years

Age: 21

Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) Description:
Mess Cook

Current Duty Station:
3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment

Current Billet:
Mess Cook at 3/25

Why He Joined the Marine Corps:
“I wanted to be just like my father, who was a Marine.”

Ties to Cleveland:
The son and nephew of Marines, Lance Cpl. Sasak enlisted in the Marine Corps after graduating from Avon Lake High School. Though he moved to Ohio from Virginia in 2002, he considers Ohio his home, having grown up in Avon Lake.

 



Lance Corporal Kurt Mandzukic

Time in Service: 2 1/2 years

Age: 22

Military Occupational Speciality (MOS) Description:
Infantry Rifleman (0311)

Current Duty Station:
3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment

Current Billet:
Company Driver

Why He Joined the Marine Corps:
“For the experience of belonging to a brotherhood. That is exactly what the Marine Corps provides. There is nothing else like it.”

Ties to Cleveland:
Lance Cpl. Mandzukic grew up in North Royalton where he attended high school. A graduate of Cleveland State University, he is also an avid member of the Cleveland Chapter of Student Veterans for America.

 



Lance Corporal Nicholas Merrifield

Time in Service: 3 years

Age: 22

Military Occupational Speciality (MOS) Description:
Tactical Field Switch Operator (0612)

Current Duty Station:
3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, H&S Company

Current Billet:
Tactical Field Switch Operator

Why He Joined the Marine Corps:
“My father was a Marine, and I couldn’t let him be better than me.”

Ties to Cleveland:
Lance Cpl. Merrifield and his wife have always lived in Cleveland and love the city. Both are huge Browns and Indians fans, and Lance Cpl. Merrifield admits that even at the age of 22, the Science Center in Downtown Cleveland is still one of the coolest places he has ever been to. He says the Marine Corps has turned him into the man he is today, giving him the drive to succeed not only in the Marine Corps but in his entire life. Currently, Lance Cpl. Merrifield, who’s father is the Police Academy Commander for the Cleveland Police Department, is currently in the Tri-C Policy Academy.

 



Corporal David Nguyen

Time in Service: 2 years

Age: 20

Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) Description:
Food Service (3381)

Current Duty Station:
3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment

Current Billet:
Mess Cook

Why He Joined the Marine Corps:
“I get to shoot the weapons in real life I had only played with in video games before. But more importantly, I always wanted to serve my country.” 

Ties to Cleveland:
Cpl. Nguyen grew up in the West 105th area of Cleveland and attended John Marshall High School. He says he is the only Marine he knows who doesn’t drink, using his time instead to serve his community surrounding Brook Park and Cleveland.

 



Corporal Johel Woodliff

Time in Service: 8 years

Age: 26

Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) Description:
Food Service Specialist (3381)

Current Duty Station:
3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment

Current Billet:
Training NCO for the Mess Platoon

Why He Joined the Marine Corps:
“I enlisted in high school less than a year after 9/11 to serve my country.”

Ties to Cleveland:
A native of Massillon, Ohio, Cpl. Woodliff graduated from Washington High School before attending THE Ohio State University. He is a huge fan of all Cleveland sports, especially his Browns, Indians, and Cavaliers. Cpl. Woodliff is a firm believer that some of the best Marines in today’s Corps are his brothers from Cleveland. In fact his own brother, Jason Woodliff, served beside him in the same unit in Iraq in 2005.

 



Corporal Terrill LaShawn Rodgers

Time in Service: 6 1/2 years

Age: 26

Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) Description:
Maintenance Tech (2844)

Current Duty Station:
3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment

Current Billet:
2nd Squad Leader, Communications Platoon

Why He Joined the Marine Corps:
“To serve my country; the Marine Corps has made me a better husband, father, and overall individual.”

Ties to Cleveland:
Cpl. Rodgers hails from Warren, Ohio and has lived in Cleveland proper for the past two years, though he has always been a big Browns and Cavaliers fan. His wife is a graduate of Cleveland State University, and he has a brother currently serving in the Marine Corps.

 



Sergeant James Patterson

Time in Service: 7 years

Age: 25

Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) Description:
Motor Transportation Mechanic (3521)

Current Duty Station:
3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment

Current Billet:
Mechanic Sergeant

Why He Joined the Marine Corps:
“To serve my country and to better myself in the best branch of the military.”

Ties to Cleveland:
Sgt. Patterson is a native of Brook Park, where his current duty station also resides, and has lived in the area his entire life besides his three deployments and previous duty station in California. Sgt. Patterson cannot think of a Sunday growing up when he wasn’t tailgating for his Cleveland Browns.

 



Sergeant Marco Fornaro

Time in Service: 6 years

Age: 40

Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) Description:
Scout Sniper (0317)

Current Duty Station:
3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment

Current Billet:
Chief Scout Sniper

Why He Joined the Marine Corps:
“To serve and defend my country.”

Ties to Cleveland:
Sgt. Fornaro has spent his entire life in the area. He was born at Parma General Hospital, and all three of his children were born at Fairview Park Hospital. He attended Brunswick High School. Sgt. Fornaro did not enlist in the Marine Corps until he was 34, after spending three years convincing his wife to come around to the idea.

 



Sergeant Mark Kalinowski

Time in Service: 9 1/2 years

Age: 36

Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) Description:
Platoon Sergeant (3531)

Current Duty Station:
3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment

Current Billet:
As Platoon Sergeant, he accounts for Marines and their gear, while driving and maintaining tactical vehicles 

Why He Joined the Marine Corps:
“I will never forget 9/11; after that event, I swore to serve and protect my family and my country.”

Ties to Cleveland:
Sgt. Kalinowski grew up outside Cleveland in Parma, Ohio, and accounts for the great memories had growing up in the 90s in the area, saying, “It was a great time to be young.” He has felt a special connection to the Cleveland community ever since his return from the Battle of Fallujah in 2005. He currently resides in Cleveland with his wife and daughter.

 



Sergeant James Terwilliger

Time in Service: 6 years

Age: 25

Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) Description:
Scout Sniper (0317)

Current Duty Station:
3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment

Current Billet:
Scout Sniper Assistant Team Leader

Why He Joined the Marine Corps:
“My father was a Marine Gunner. He retired in 2006 after 25 years of service. I was drawn to follow in his footsteps.”

Ties to Cleveland:
Sgt. Terwilliger is the oldest of nine siblings. He moved to Cleveland in 2006 and is a 2010 graduate of the University of Akron. In his billet at 3/25, he assists the Scout Sniper team leader in planning, coordinating and executing missions as directed by the Battalion Commander. 

 



Staff Sergeant Todd Alderman

Time in Service: 13 years

Age: 35

Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) Description:
Small Unit Leader (0369)

Current Duty Station:
3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment

Current Billet:
Training Chief for H&S Company

Why He Joined the Marine Corps:
“To make a better life for my family and to serve and protect our way of life.”

Ties to Cleveland:
Staff Sgt. Alderman lives in Cleveland with his wife Emily, and is the self-proclaimed Cleveland Indian’s number one fan. Before being stationed in Brook Park at 3/25, Staff Sgt. Alderman served as a recruiter with Recruiting Station Cleveland from 2003 to 2006.

 



Gunnery Sergeant Ryan A. Legg

Time in Service: 16 years

Age: 35

Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) Description:
Supply Account Manager (3043)

Current Duty Station:
3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, H&S Company

Current Billet:
He serves as the Company First Sergeant and is responsible for all personnel and administrative items throughout H&S Company.

Why He Joined the Marine Corps:
“Because of the reputation the Marine Corps has.” 

Ties to Cleveland:
Gunnery Sgt. Legg has served combat tours in Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan with 3/25, and lives in Brook Park with his wife, Nicole, and daughters, Jenna and Jillian. A native of the area, he works for the city of Brook Park to this day, and is an active member of VFW Post 6340 and American Legion Post 610. 

 




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