AL QA'IM, Iraq --
The streets of Ubaydi, once home to daily firefights and a nest of insurgents, have undergone a transformation since 2005. In the eyes of one Marine, the transformation has come full circle to meet him at a pivotal point in his life.
On a desolate rooftop, four stories above the city streets of Ubaydi, Sgt. Nicholas Schorr, the platoon sergeant for Weapons Platoon, Company I, Task Force 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 2, took his oath to re-enlist while overlooking a city that has progressed hand in hand with his career.
On his fourth deployment with Company I, 3rd Bn., 2nd Marines, Schorr took the opportunity to solidify his future with the Marine Corps in an area where intense fighting consumed his second deployment with the battalion.
“Al Anbar province was the wild, wild west in 2005,” Schorr said. “On the record, there were over 265 engagements at the time. It was an area where you got out of the vehicle, and you expected something was going to happen.”
Schorr couldn’t help but feel a sense of pride in the path he helped pave leading up to the day’s ceremony amongst a small group of close-knit Marines.
“It feels like a serious accomplishment establishing yourself in an area that was tough starting out years ago and now seeing how it’s progressed so far,” said Schorr. “Now you can walk anywhere you want. There’s an extreme difference between now and then.”
Schorr, a native of Watson, La., arrived at Company I, 3rd Bn., 2nd Marines, April 24, 2004, as a private, and now as a sergeant has been a Betio Bastard longer than most in the battalion.
“I opted to redeploy with this company again because simply, it’s something I’m so used to and something I’ve gotten pretty good at,” said Schorr. “For me to be a career Marine, it’s more beneficial for me to come to Iraq as much as possible.”
Witnessing the ceremony, Cpl. Bruce B. Thompson, a Company I Marine on his third deployment with the battalion, revered the significance of the occasion, as he had fought side by side with Schorr in the same streets.
“I just got butterflies in my stomach looking out at the town and remembering how it was,” said Thompson. “I didn’t have to go on this deployment, but I told them the only way I’m going is if I get to stay with (Schorr).”
Picking up sergeant in his first four years, Schorr has excelled in the Marine Corps and his future looks just as promising.
“This is a very young sergeant, yet he is already demonstrating the capabilities to be more than the next rank,” said Capt. T.J. Owens, the commanding officer of Company I. “I have very high expectations of what he’ll do in the future.”
After completing his fourth deployment with Company I, 3rd Bn., 2nd Marines, Schorr will part from the battalion for the Special Operations Training Group in Okinawa.
“I’m focusing a lot more on making myself more diverse as opposed to just combat, combat, combat,” said Schorr. “I’ll round myself out a little more in the Marine Corps and come back out to Afghanistan or Iraq later on.”
The streets below revealed a new-found vitality. The Marine above could now look to the future, observing the accomplishments of his past.