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Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany


Readiness Enabler for Operational Forces  •
Master gunnery sergeant, leads from the front

By Cpl. Christina Lovett | | May 17, 2001

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Almost always, a Marine meets someone during his career who he wants to emulate -- someone who inspires him to be the best. At MCLB Albany, assuredly, many Marines have said that about a master gunnery sergeant who continues to base his entire career on setting the example. "As leaders, we have to make sure our main focus every day when we come to work is to make those around us better," said the over 27-year Marine. "We have to set a standard." Master Gunnery Sgt. Willie Peters, a motor transport maintenance chief who serves as the military coordinator for the Fleet Support Division, sets the standard for all Marines around him. "If you don't set the right example for your people, you're just wasting time," he said. Peters spends each day in self-improvement, both physically and mentally. "The way I feel, if you have a strong body, your mind can't be far behind," he said. "It is imperative to maintain your health." Peters practices physical fitness through a healthy diet and dedicated physical training. "I have never abused my body with drugs, and I don't smoke or drink," Peters said. Each day, Peters is determined to run at least six miles before lunch. Afterwards, he spends about 30 minutes in the gym working with weights. "After my run and working out with really heavy weights, I come back to work and feel fresh," he said. "My mind is open." Although almost 47 years old, Peters refuses to let his age affect him. "I have people tell me I need to slow down, but after 28 years in the Marine Corps, I can't slam on the brakes," he said. "Life isn't that way. "The worst thing a person can do is take a break," he said. "You can never take a break in life. When you take a break, everyone passes you by." Along with a dedicated physical training schedule, Peters also applies himself mentally. He had an experience while running the last Marine Corps Marathon that has permanently changed his life, he said. While passing mile six of the marathon, Peters pulled a calf muscle. He was forced to test himself. "I had to make a decision," he said, '"can I stop now after training for a whole year, or do I do what a Marine would do and accomplish the mission?'" "I did what Marines are trained to do, and I kept going," said Peters. "Marines are a step above when we need to accomplish a mission, and my mission was to finish that marathon." Compared to the year before, although Peters was injured, he shaved his run time by 13 minutes. "I found myself out there on the marathon," he claims. "I've been a changed person. There's nothing that I can't do." Peters' dedication as a Marine began as early as boot camp. "There were three meritorious pfc. (private first class) stripes available," Peters remembers. "I told the other recruits one of those stripes belonged to me." Sure enough, Peters was meritoriously promoted to E-2 out of boot camp and continued excelling throughout his career. "I always give all I have," he said. "I keep everything in focus." Although Peters has excelled in the Marine Corps countless times and has received numerous awards, he refuses to display them. "I refuse to display things I accomplished yesterday because that was yesterday," Peters explained. "I refuse to live in the past. The past is history. "You always need to move forward in life." Peters also refuses to take sole credit for any of his achievements. "I earned none of those awards by myself," said the modest Marine. "No one achieves fame and fortune by themselves. There are always people in the background to thank. "You always have to help one another," he said. "That's what being a Marine is about." "You have to give from your heart," he said. "It makes you a better person to give to others." While focusing on leadership, helping others and setting the example, Peters maintains a positive approach to everything in his life. "Everyone needs a direction on how to live life," Peters said. "I have a plan for what I need to do every day to make myself a better person and leader."
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