Photo Information

Corporal Kurtis J. Eiswerth, squad leader with 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, supervises fellow Marines fire a Shoulder-Launched Multipurpose Assault Weapon March 21. The SMAW firing was part of an ongoing, monthlong training session intended to sharpen the skills of infantry Marines in the unit.::r::::n::::r::::n::

Photo by Cpl. Walter D. Marino II

Marine rises through junior ranks, is beloved by comrades

23 Mar 2012 | Cpl. Walter D. Marino II

Corporal Kurtis J. Eiswerth was accepted into all military recruiting branches except the Marine Corps, but his determination paid off and his dedication is serving him well.

“The Marines wouldn’t take me because I was overweight,” said Eiswerth, a Lock Haven, Pa., native. “That showed me the Marine Corps had a higher standard and was part of the reason I joined the Marines.”

Eiswerth’s father is the other reason.

Army Staff Sgt. Eiswerth advised his son to choose the Marine Corps based on how he saw the Marines carry themselves in Afghanistan.

“My dad told me, ‘the Army is a job; the Marine Corps is a way of life,’” he explained.

A few pounds lighter, two meritorious promotions and a deployment to Afghanistan later, it appears Eiswerth, a squad leader in 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, made the right pick.

Sergeant Roy T. Fincham, a vehicle commander with 2nd LAR was Eiswerth’s platoon sergeant for two years and submitted Eiswerth for his second meritorious promotion.

“When we (ran short on junior leaders) because of Marines getting out of the Corps, Eiswerth used what they taught him and picked up where they left off,” said Fincham. “He excelled at it. Even when he didn’t know material, he would learn and go on and teach the junior Marines.”

Junior Marines from Eiswerth’s squad in Afghanistan hold their corporal in extremely high regard and believe he exemplifies a stellar Marine. “He’s an outstanding Marine; he really is,” said Lance Cpl. Mathew J. Dunaway, a rifleman with 2nd LAR Bn. “If there was any question I didn’t know, I’d ask him. Also, if I needed something, I knew I had him and he would help me.”

Dunaway explained that during long shifts in Afghanistan, if a Marine got tired, Eiswerth would stand with them.

“I try and stay on a one-on-one basis -- not squad leader to individual -- so that they can trust me,” said 21-year-old Eiswerth. “You can’t help but get to know the Marines personally, as well as professionally.”

Eiswerth has no wife or children and says 100 percent of his time goes to “God and then Marine Corps.”

Eiswerth explained that his religious upbringing taught him to treat everyone the way he would like to be treated.

“Even if he doesn’t know you, he’d still do anything to help you out and, if he doesn’t know the answer, he’ll find out and get back to you,” said Lance Cpl. Mitchell M. Dowd, a section leader with 2nd LAR. “He’s honestly the best Marine I’ve ever met.”

Eiswerth said he is not sure whether or not the Marine Corps will be a career, but is sure of his priorities and how he feels about the Marines Corps.

“I love the structure and pride of being a Marine,” said Eiswerth.

During a recent 2nd LAR training event, Eiswerth led Marines during a live-fire exercise with the Shoulder-Launched Multipurpose Assault Weapon. Throughout the training, Eiswerth could be seen teaching proper weapons safety and technique. It appeared Eiswerth’s leadership ability was helping the Corps.

Though he is still a young Marine, Eiswerth said he feels he has learned some helpful guidelines. “Take one day at a time.

Don’t get bogged down by what’s going on around you, and don’t get stuck on the negative things. Always stay positive,” said Eiswerth.