AR RAMADI, Iraq -- Resting in caves or out in the open, living off of the land and being away from civilization for extended periods of time, Lance Cpl. Nathaniel W. Rogers’ rugged youth turned out to be quite useful in the years to come.
Rogers, now serving as a 19-year-old rifleman for Company C, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, in Ar Ramadi, Iraq, adjusted quickly to the life of a “field Marine” with his background in wilderness survival.
Growing up surrounded by cliffy wilderness, Rogers spent much of his childhood hiking, camping and hunting with friends.
Going out for weeks at a time, Rogers’ outdoors experience helped prepare him for life as an infantry Marine.
“I’ve been camping in the worst weather and conditions,” said Rogers, a native of Powell County, Kent. “A lot of the skills I used hiking back home are useful in the field as a Marine.”
Rogers’ familiarity with land navigation, survival and rough conditions has been valuable during his transition as an infantryman.
As a point man for his squad, Rogers uses his skills to lead his fellow Marines to objectives and ensure they get where they are supposed to be going, said Sgt. Eric R. Avvisato, 23-year-old squad leader for Company C.
The ease Rogers’ shows during both field training exercises and during security operations in Ramadi has been apparent to others in his company.
“Rogers is definitely good at field craft, and he seems pretty comfortable,” said Avvisato, a native of Pittston, Penn. “Guys who come from the back woods tend to make better field Marines.”
Rogers found it slightly difficult adjusting to the urban environment of Ramadi, but much of the rough conditions of field life stay the same, said Avvisato.
Rogers has now spent more than three months conducting security operations in Ramadi, moving from camp to camp and living with only basic necessities.
In the wilderness and as a deployed Marine, hardships and rough conditions have served as Roger’s motivation for his love of the outdoors life.
“Being out and away from everything, using your own skills to survive without going to a store,” said Rogers. “That’s the appeal.”
Rogers hopes to get into a wilderness and survival based occupation after completing his contract with the Marine Corps.
Although Rogers hopes to get further survival training before his contract ends, he is confident the qualities already gained by becoming a Marine will be helpful in any career path he chooses.
“My experience as a Marine, and the reputation, will be a big help in any wilderness based job I go for,” said Rogers.