HADITHA DAM, Iraq -- The phrase, ‘It’s a small world,’ is used when people unexpectedly reunite. For two Marines with 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, it’s not just a small world, it’s a small Marine Corps.
Even though there are hundreds of units in the Marines, Orland, Calif., native, Cpl. Joshua E. Thompson, and Claremore, Okla., native, Cpl. Timothy R. Roundtree, served together nearly every step of their Marine Corps careers.
Now in Iraq for the second time together, they spend everyday together fixing vehicles for the battalion’s motor transport section. The two are known to complete jobs and each other’s sentences, having worked in the battalion together since August 2003.
“We pretty much know what the other thinks without saying anything,” Roundtree commented. “And when we work together, we can get the job done without saying one word.”
Their ability to work so well as a team has contributed to the success of the section since they arrived here in September. According to Sgt. Kenneth A. Hendrix, the battalion maintenance chief, having good Marines like Thompson and Roundtree in the section is fortunate because it is needed when trying to keep the battalion’s vehicles running.
“I am very fortunate to have them as my mechanics,” Hendrix said. “It seems like one compliments the other, they work so well together.”
Working well together is something they learned to do over the years since joining the Marines on the same day. While in the same platoon in basic training, they never thought it was the beginning of a long-term friendship.
“We graduated and I didn’t expect to ever see him again,” commented the 22 year-old Roundtree.
By sheer chance, the Marine Corps sent both of them from training at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. to the Marine Corps Combat Service Support Schools aboard Camp Johnson, N.C. While in a dining facility there, they reunited and discovered they would be in the same motor transport mechanics class together.
“I was going to camp guard at Camp Johnson and when I turned around there was Roundtree,” said the 21 year-old Thompson. “We got to talking and couldn’t believe we were going to be in the same class, too.”
As they learned to be mechanics in the Marine Corps, they also got to know each other. They found they had a lot in common and became friends during the many weeks spent learning their job.
Their friendship during those weeks in North Carolina was just the beginning. They soon found themselves part of the same unit, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, upon graduation from the course.
“I remember when the instructor said in class, ‘Thompson, Victor 3/1; Roundtree, Victor 3/1,’” added Thompson, a 2002 Orland High School graduate. “We looked at each other and couldn’t believe our ears.”
Since then, the two learned a lot about each other over their first deployment and enjoyed their off time together. They continue to complement each other’s work during their second deployment by filling in where the other falters.
“We are like the ying-yang sign,” commented Thompson. “We go together but we are really different.”