CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq -- Nolan G. Ruby deployed here in early January with 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment. It is his fourth deployment in support of the operations around the globe.
Ruby’s previous deployments with the battalion include Afghanistan, Okinawa, and Haiti. The experience from deployments and knowledge gained from his mentors has brought Sgt. Ruby into a leadership position with 3rd Platoon, Weapons Company.
“In Haiti everything I learned was put to the test when I became a squad leader and had to begin leading Marines,” the Sioux Falls, S.D., native explained.
Ruby began his Marine Corps career in fine fashion as he was sent to Afghanistan where he provided security as a machine gunner on the rooftop of the U.S. Embassy, while participating in Operation Enduring Freedom.
Shortly after his return, Ruby, and the battalion, was sent to Okinawa, Japan for nine months as part of the Marine Corps’ unit deployment program, which is traditionally a six-month tour. From there he was sent to the Persian Gulf with a forward operating element from the battalion. Ruby manned a machine gun while the ship he was on moved through the Straights of Hormuz, providing security for those on board.
“I was a .50 caliber machine gunner whenever we needed security while we were traveling through smaller, more restricted areas,” Ruby explained.
Ruby learned a lot in his first two deployments and his superiors saw his progression and decided it was time for him to be a squad leader. He deployed to Haiti with the battalion February 2004 for his third deployment. As a squad leader he used the knowledge and experience he gained during his previous deployments to help lead and teach his Marines.
“Being attached to the line companies when I was in Afghanistan and Okinawa helped me prepare for what I had to do in Haiti,” Ruby explained.
Ruby’s childhood mentors also helped prepare him for the responsibilities and duties he now has. He was mentored and taught well as a young man growing up in South Dakota. He had a principal, Dr. Tommy D. Rose, who is a retired Chief Warrant Officer, who served three tours in Vietnam. His pastor was a former machine gunner who also served in Vietnam. Both men mentored and guided Ruby as a young man and helped him become the leader he is today.
“The discipline, structure and leadership they had, they always credited to the Marine Corps,” Ruby explained.
Ruby used the lessons from these men and his Marine leaders to mold himself into the leader he is today. He emulates his childhood mentors by instilling in his squad, the values and determination required of a leader of men, just as Rose and Ruby’s pastor did for him. His commitment to the development of his men in Haiti has paid dividends to the battalion because today most of Ruby’s squad from Haiti fill leadership roles within the battalion here in Iraq.
“Basically I have stuck to what was taught to me and didn’t try to invent the wheel twice when teaching my Marines,” Ruby explained. “Going to Infantry Squad Leaders School and other schools have also helped me do my job better.”
For his outstanding performance during the first five months in combat Ruby earned a combat meritorious promotion.
“Sergeant Ruby has taken advantage of every opportunity on the deployment to develop himself personally and professionally as a leader,” Capt. Nevgloski, Weapons Company Commander explained. “He has the strongest moral and ethical character that I have ever seen and is admired by many, regardless of rank.”