Houston native's former DI now his platoon sergeant

27 Oct 2005 | Cpl. Tom Sloan

Like many new Marines fresh out of their military occupational specialty school, Lance Cpl. Richard D. Poulis was worried he wouldn't know anyone in his unit.

The 26-year-old from Houston didn't carry that concern long, though. He soon encountered someone he knew all to well, Gunnery Sgt. Walter G. Siquieros, his senior drill instructor from Marine Corps Recruit Training Depot San Diego.

"I did a double take when I saw him at (Camp San Mateo, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif)," said Poulis.

Poulis and Siquieros were checking into 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment aboard Camp Pendleton at the same time last year.

This encounter was different from their first though. Siquieros wasn't wearing his Smokey Bear cover, the trademark of a Marine Corps Drill Instructor, and they were both Marines.

"I was glad to see Gunny," said Poulis. "I knew him. While I was in boot camp, he told me that he might see me in the fleet. Sure enough, it happened."

Siquieros was the senior drill instructor for the medical rehabilitation platoon, where Poulis spent six weeks due to a stress fracture in his foot.

According to Siquieros, Poulis stood out from the other recruits.

"Right away he took a leadership position in the platoon," said the 31-year-old Calexico, Calif. native. "He was a motivated recruit, which carried over into a Marine. He's a good, motivated Marine."

The two Marines aren't just in the same battalion; they're in the same platoon.

Siquieros is Poulis' platoon sergeant in 4th Platoon, Company B, and they are both here conducting stability and security operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Poulis, who's a machine gunner with 2nd Squad, said the things Siquieros taught him in recruit training have proven beneficial in Iraq.

"When we were in boot camp he showed us tactical decision games to prepare us for what I'm doing now," he said. "His leadership has given me an advantage because I know what to do."

Poulis also said he enjoys serving in Siquieros' platoon.

"It's great being with Gunny. He can light a fire under us when we need it."

According to Poulis he's wanted to join the Corps since childhood.

"I've always seen myself doing this," he said. "I love being a grunt. I love shooting my M240 Gulf (a medium machinegun organic to infantry companies in the Marine Corps)."

He is still undecided about his future in the Corps though.

"It's still early to determine whether or not I'm going to reenlist," he said. "I like it a lot and I'm good at my job."