MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. --
Being raised in a very small and rural town can be both bad and good.
Known for his bright smile and southern dialect is the former small town country boy from Cadiz, Ky., who by his own accounts, stayed in a ‘mess’ of trouble.
Those days are behind him now and Cpl. Owen R. Kyler, training noncommissioned officer, Military Training and Operations Division, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, has been named as the NCO of the Quarter.
Reminiscent of the 1964 television star, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., because of his deep southern accent and low-key demeanor, Kyler said growing up, trouble seemed to follow him everywhere.
So, when he decided to follow in his older brother’s footsteps and become a Marine, his parents did not object.
“Joining the Marine Corps was my ticket out of my environment and away from my friends who were getting into a lot of trouble. I had a rough time attending Trigg County High School, so I ended up graduating from Blue Grass Challenge Academy at Ft. Knox, Ky., in 2000. Unsure of what I wanted to do from there, I worked with my dad, who owns Kyler Bridge Company, by helping to build bridges all over the state,” he said.
Kyler said his duties were to drive heavy equipment such as bulldozers, track hoes, forklifts, cranes and trucks. He joined the Marine Corps in May 2001.
“I went to recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C.; combat training at Camp Geiger, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C.; and military occupational training school at Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo., to begin my career as a motor vehicle operator. My first duty station was Marine Barracks Washington at 8th & I,” he said.
Kyler was the driver for the color guard, burial detail, the President’s Own Marine Band and Silent Drill Team while stationed in Washington, D.C.
In 2003, he reported to the 3rd Marine Division at Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan.
During his tour, he deployed in support of Operation Cobra Gold in 2004, held in Tailand, and Operation Unified Assistance in response to the Tsunami that hit Indonesia in 2005.
After completing both deployments and his tour on Okinawa, he decided to get out of the Marine Corps.
After leaving the Corps, Kyler continued using the skills he learned in the Marine Corps.
“I worked as a truck driver for Danny Joe Farms in Las Cruces, N.M., hauling cattle all over the United States until I was recalled back into the Marine Corps one year later. It (recall) was because of the big push to send more Marines to Iraq. So, instead of taking the recall, I re-enlisted in April, 2006. They were going to get me one way or the other,” he said.
Kyler re-enlisted for another five years, which enabled him to take advantage of the ‘benefits.’
“After my re-enlistment, I was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines in Twentynine Palms, Calif., where I drove trucks and deployed for seven months to Hit, Haditha and Camp Fallujah, all in Iraq. After my deployment, I came here to MCLB Albany in May 2008,” he said.
Kyler said his daily duties here consist of inputting annual training data, height and weight information, combat fitness test scores, checking in Marines for both base and Marine Corps Systems Command.
He is also the driver for Col. Terry V. Williams, commanding officer, MCLB Albany, which he describes as being in the right place at the right time.
When asked how he was selected as a driver, he said in his southern dialect, “I reckon when I checked in, they were looking for a new driver and I happened to be an NCO and Motor T, so I guess I fit what they were looking for and thought maybe they liked me. I ‘speck that’s how that happened, but I don’t rightly know. I guess I’m just a likable guy.”
Kyler said he really likes driving for Williams and Sgt. Maj. Scott C. Mykoo, sergeant major, MCLB Albany, because they are both down to earth and very nice to work for. He said it (driving) is a collateral duty for him, but when something comes up, they take priority.
Williams said, “Corporal Kyler is dedicated, professional and always punctual – all those things we come to expect of a Marine.”
Mykoo said that Kyler is the kind of Marine that takes the extra initiative to ensure his duties are carried out superbly.
“As an NCO, you are expected to take on responsibilities above your grade. This process helps prepare the young NCO for the next higher grade. Corporal Kyler has held these duties and continues to seek higher responsibilities,” he said.
Kyler said it felt good to be selected as the NCO of the Quarter because there were other Marines they could have chosen.
“I have come a long way since I’ve been in and give credit to the Marine Corps for ‘straightening me out.’ It has given me the structure I needed to plan for the rest of my life once I am no longer on active duty,” he said. “The Marine Corps has given me a lot of knowledge and skills that I will need to be successful on the outside,” he said.
According to Master Sgt. Jimel Ruff, military training and operations staff noncommissioned officer in charge, Operations and Training Division, MCLB Albany, Kyler sets the example as an NCO of Marines.
“Corporal Kyler is a ‘go to’ Marine who strives to make himself better by seeking as much knowledge as possible, professionally and within his personal life,” Ruff said. “He is always willing to go above and beyond to help others that may need assistance, even when it’s not work related and has a ‘never quit’ spirit to ensure all tasks assigned to him are completed in a timely manner.”
Kyler said his time in the Marine Corps will expire again in May 2011.
“My plans are to make the best of my remaining time as an active duty Marine here with my wife, Anna, and our two dogs. My plans are to get a job once I get off of active duty. I am also interested in working for the U.S. Marshal’s Service or in law enforcement. With my experience and what the Marine Corps has taught me, it will work out. I plan to return to college and get a degree in criminal justice,” he said.
Kyler said that this is his home now and plans to stay here.
In his spare time, he loves to ride Harley-Davidson motorcycles and also volunteers with the Dougherty County search and rescue team. He and an associate partner also have a lawn care business.