HADITHA DAM, Iraq -- Potential Marines often enter boot camp under the buddy program to help them cope with the stress of recruit training. But for two Marines with 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment who didn’t join on the buddy program, its just coincidence that keeps them together.
Lance Cpl. Nenyl K. Nyen from Columbus, Ohio, and Lance Cpl. Jeffery E. Montee from Dublin, Ohio, both 19, are two infantrymen with 3rd battalion, 25th Marines who have been together through the entire span of their short Marine Corps career.
“It’s seems everywhere I go he’s right there,” said Montee jokingly.
“He just can’t seem to get rid of me no matter how hard he tries,” said Nyen smiling.
Nyen is a 2004 graduate of Worthington High School, were he was the senior class president and participated on the school’s track and volleyball team.
Montee graduated in 2004 from Dublin-Coffman High School, Nyen’s rival school, a few minutes away. He was the captain of the school’s football team.
However, their first meeting was not high school related. It was a general interest in the Marine Corps at the recruiter’s office.
“I wanted to give back to my country,” Montee said. “The Marines seemed like the best way to go. I loved their outlook on life and overall appearance.”
“I first came into the country when I was eight years old, and I knew I wanted to join the military,” said Nyen who is originally from Ghana in West Africa. “I chose this service because I wanted the challenge of earning the title of Marine.”
They have been in friendly competition with each other since meeting at the recruiting station.
“When we met I did 20 pull ups and then he did 20 pull ups,” said Montee. “From then we were in competition.”
“I felt like the underdog because I was smaller than him and being that we were from backyard rival schools didn’t help,” Nyen said.
After 11 months in the delayed entry program, Nyen and Montee found themselves at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C. and on their way to separate platoons.
“We stayed in the same hotel before we left and we sat near each other on the plane and the bus to the depot,” Montee remembered. “When we got off at the yellow foot prints we said goodbye because they sent us in two different directions.”
A few days later while Montee was settling in to his squad bay at 1st Battalion, Company B, Nyen and some other recruits were reassigned to his platoon.
“I was guide and he was a squad leader,” Montee said. “This had trouble written all over it.”
“The first month had to be the worst because we always got in trouble,” Nyen said. “But it was okay because at the end of the day we gave each other a look like we knew we would get through this together.”
The pair endured recruit training and graduated in September 2004. While on leave they returned home and kept in contact during their break before they began training at the School of Infantry East, Camp Geiger, N.C.
Nyen had few extra days home due to personal problems, while Montee reported to Infantry Training Battalion as scheduled. Once at the school Montee found himself delayed a few weeks.
“I was put on camp guard for a week or so and then I got a chance to start my actual training,” Montee said. “A few days later, lo and behold Nyen shows up in my squad bay. On top of that he’s in my fire team.”
This chance meeting was great news for Nyen.
“I was shocked to see him, but relieved because I knew if we made it through boot camp together we would make it through this,” said Nyen.
Their time during infantry training went by quickly. They pushed one another during the hardest parts and joked with each other during their time off.
When they graduated and went to check in to their reserve unit they found out they would be deploying together.
“We stayed together during all the training before the deployment,” Nyen said. “We knew we would be in the same unit, but we didn’t know if we would be in the same platoon.”
“By this time we had pretty much got the idea that we would be close to one another. Then they put us in the same platoon, but different squads,” Montee said. “I thought this might be the first time we wouldn’t be in the same room until a few days after we had moved in. He showed up and took the rack nearest to me. I realized that we pretty much stuck together; but that isn’t a bad thing.”
Montee and Nyen have been through the hardest parts of their careers in the Marine Corps together, but they will go their separate ways after this deployment with different college plans.
“I plan to attend Ohio State University majoring in international business,” Nyen said. “This will be the first we really have been apart after more than a year.”
“I plan to attend Miami (OH) University with a major in Political Science,” Montee said pausing. “But with our luck we’ll probably end up at either college in the same dorm room, taking some of the same classes.”