AL ASAD, Iraq -- There are some Marines who push themselves above the rest and set standards and inspire others around them do the same. One of those Marines works in the communication, navigation and radar department for the “Banshees” of Marine Tactical Electronic Squadron 1.
Sgt. Ryan J. Straub, a CNR technician for VMAQ-1, is not only proficient at his job, but is a source of inspiration and knowledge for the junior Marines around him.
Straub is the type of Marine that holds his Marines accountable, said Gunnery Sgt. Sean Jahr, the staff non-commissioned officer in charge of CNR section for VMAQ-1. “I mean that in a sense that he sets (the standard) high and holds them to that higher standard, therefore they have to execute accordingly. Sometimes they might not agree with it; however it helps the work center. He always strives, I wouldn’t say for perfection, but for the highest attainable goal.”
Straub, a Merrillville, Ind., native, worked as a welder until 1998, when he traded in his blow torch for the Marine Corps uniform.
“I joined the Marine Corps because I wanted to serve my country and be part of the best,” said Straub. “I love serving my country and working on these aircraft.”
Straub’s heart was not only in the Marine Corps, but in electronics as well.
“When I came in, I knew that I was doing something in the avionics field,” said Straub. “I enjoy working with electronics.”
Although many Marines love serving the Corps, not many of them share the passion for the job that has made Straub so successful.
“It’s hard sometimes because you have to tell him to leave,” explained Jahr. “It’s not uncommon for him to sit here for at least 12 hours. His longest day here has been 19 hours and then he will just turn around and come right back and knock it out again. You only wish that you had Marines like him all the time.”
Straub’s dedication to his job is not only respected by his supervisors, but is admired by the junior Marines who try to learn from him.
“In order to look up to somebody, you need someone like (Straub), who is passionate about their job and cares about the aircraft,” said Cpl. Steven Shelton, a CNR technician for VMAQ-1 and Winston Salem, N.C., native. “It’s easier to look up to somebody like that. He is a good resource to go to.”
In addition to being proficient at his job, Straub does not limit his skill set just to his line of work.
“He has exceeded what a normal Marine would do in the work center, (and) outside the work center,” said Jahr. “He has gotten his plane captain qualification, tire and wheel qualification, jack qualification, all types of qualifications.”
Although he is bettering himself, Struab makes it a point to ensure that he is providing the best service to his Marines.
“As a sergeant in the work center, I am more of an instructor and supervisor,” said Straub. “I go out there and help them repair aircraft, but I supervise and teach at the same time. I also give classes in the shop.”
As a leader, Straub is viewed to be in the top portion of the Marine Corps, according to Jahr.
“His work ethic is really second to none,” said Jahr. “I have yet to see anyone who is actually like him, here and outside of work. (I also credit) his initiative and dedication to the work center and the squadron. He’s always trying to make things better and he’ll do it the right way.”
Straub’s current deployment here marks the seventh time that he has deployed with the Banshees. In 2000, he was in Saudi Arabia, for Operation Southern Watch. In 2001, it was at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, for Operation Golden Watch. From 2002-2003, he re-visited Saudi Arabia, then Iwakuni, Japan, in 2004 and deployed here in 2005.
“My most memorable experience is serving with a bunch of great Marines and great leaders,” explained Straub. “They taught me a lot. I enjoy the experience of helping the aircrew and the Marines under me grow.”
Straub believes that his success stems from the hard leadership he experienced as a young Marine.
“My gunnery sergeant has been with me since 2000. He has taught me a lot about how to be a good leader and a good supervisor,” said Straub. “A lot of good Marines before me taught me how to be a good technician, what to look for and how to be nit-picky about the aircraft.”
Straub, who reenlisted on March 10, plans to make a career out of the Marine Corps and hopes to broaden his experience outside of his job.
“I will end up doing a B billet in the near future,” said Straub. “I want to be a Marine Security Guard or a Drill Instructor.”
Before serving in a B Billet, Straub will work at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington. His departure will be felt in the section, according to Jahr.
“It’s definitely going to be an impact on the work center,” said Jahr. “By far, he is the most experienced (CNR technician in the squadron). There is only going to be one person that has his experience and that is a tech that we have back in the rear. He’s stepped up to the plate and then some. Whidbey Island is gaining a very talented individual.”
The Marines in the section are confident that Straub will continue his success throughout his career, according to Jahr.
“I am very proud of him,” said Jahr. “I am very happy for his success and I know he is going to be successful wherever he goes. He came to us with the base for success and he has amplified on that during his tenure. You cannot go wrong with a Marine like Sgt. Straub.”