ABOARD USS MOUNT WHITNEY (LCC/JCC-20) -- It all started April 12, 1982 for Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa armorer Lance Cpl. Clinton J. Rosemeyer.
He hails from Collinsville, Ill., which is only a "country mile" from St. Louis and is home to the "world's largest ketchup bottle."
After graduating from Edwardsville High School in 2000, he decided his life needed a new direction.
"When I was younger, I hung out with the wrong crowd," said the blue-eyed Rosemeyer.
He wouldn't go into too much detail about what he meant by "wrong crowd," but he did say that when he first decided to join the Marine Corps, no one thought he would ever amount to anything.
"I didn't care if everyone else thought I wouldn't be able to become a Marine, because I knew I could do it," he said.
And he did.
After completing basic Marine training, Rosemeyer was stationed at Headquarters Battalion, 2d Marine Division, Camp Lejeune as a small arms repairman.
"Now that I'm in the Corps, everyone is really proud," Rosemeyer admitted.
He said the person he credits most with his success is his mother.
"My mom is my mentor. She taught me right from wrong," commented Rosemeyer. "I never listened to her when I was growing up, but now I realize she was doing it for my own good."
However, she passed away July 20.
"After she died, my family became a lot closer. Since my mom is gone, I talk with my sisters more openly," he said.
Several weeks after the loss of his mother, Rosemeyer learned that he was deploying to east Africa with CJTF-HOA to help rid the world of terrorism.
"I was so happy when I found out I was deploying, because I've never been able to before. Plus, it was a good way to get a break from all of the depression in my family," he stated.
Rosemeyer is the task force armorer, meaning he issues, inspects and fixes weapons task force members use.
"My main responsibilities while we are on ship is to inventory the weapons. I have to count them twice a day because if one ever comes up missing, I'll be in a world of (trouble)," explained Rosemeyer.
Rosemeyer's billet here offers more independence than the one at Camp Lejeune.
"Back at Lejeune I always have to answer to other people, but working out here pretty much alone, I'm kind of like the boss," he said, "because people come to me when things need to be taken care of or they have a question."
Since he is basically the only armorer with CJTF-HOA, his duties can sometimes be exhausting but amusing.
"There was one time he had been working hard in the armory. When he was done, he came up to the (commander of troops) office, sat in the chair and was out like a light. We made a sign that read, 'I'm dreaming ....' and placed it over his head. Then we took a picture," according to Gunnery Sgt. Bonnie L. Skinner, the task force Headquarters Company company gunnery sergeant.
She went on to say, "He's a respectful, self-motivating Marine. He works hard and gets what needs to be done,"