Marine Corps Logistics Base, Calif. -- Many men and women aspire to be a part of something greater than them, which is why they choose to join the United States Marine Corps.
After more than two decades, one such Marine has achieved more than most and has come full-circle as he transitions back to civilian life … always carrying the title: U.S. Marine.
“I joined the Marine Corps for the challenge and even to this day, I see the Marine Corps as an elite force and it’s a challenge to be amongst the best in the military,” said Master Sgt. Lorenzo Lacy, who is leaving the active duty ranks after honorably serving the Corps for more than twenty years.
He stepped on the yellow footprints at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego in December 1990, shortly after graduating from Valley High School in Las Vegas, Nev.
“No one influenced me in joining the military, none of my family members were even aware of my intentions,” said the Las Vegas native.
“None of them would have thought I would be the one to join the military and when I did, they were all in shock,” he further explained with a smile.
Looking back, Lacy enjoyed recruit training because it challenged him.
“I enjoyed … every aspect of it,” he said with a chuckle as he reminisced about his time with Mike Company, 3rd Battalion.
“It really pushed me to my limits both mentally and physically,” he further explained. “I’m a competitor at heart.”
After completing basic training, Lacy attended his military occupational specialty (MOS) school in Camp Johnson, Jacksonville, N.C., where he gained the knowledge needed to become a supply administrative clerk.
“You have to be very knowledgeable in multiple aspects in this job field because supply is very broad. It’s challenging but it’s also rewarding,” Lacy said.
Upon completion of MOS school, Pfc. Lacy reported to 1st Supply Battalion, 1st Force Service Support Group, Camp Pendleton, Calif., where he served as the Due and Status File (DASF) clerk for general accounts, Supply Company.
In December 1992, Lacy went on his first deployment with 1st FSSG, and deployed to the port of Mogadishu in Somalia in support of Operation Restore Hope.
Operation Restore Hope took place as part of the United Nations Security Council’s resolution 794: creating a protected environment that enables humanitarian operations in the southern half of Somalia. President George H.W. Bush responded to the U.N.’s request for assistance by sending more than 25,000 U.S. troops to Somalia. The objective of Operation Restore Hope was to rapidly secure the trade routes in Somalia so that food could get to the people.
Shortly after returning stateside, Lance Cpl. Lacy received orders to 3rd FSSG, Okinawa, Japan, where he worked as a supply clerk for General Support Maintenance Company, 3rd Battalion.
In September 1994, Cpl. Lacy received orders back to the U.S. and reported to Combat Service Support Detachment 23, Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C. While stationed at MCAS Beaufort, Lacy worked as a maintenance float clerk and platoon sergeant.
“Once I picked up sergeant, the competitive side came out and I submitted my [administration action] form to become a drill instructor,” said Lacy.
On the form, Lacy requested San Diego but when he was approved for orders at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, he resubmitted the form because he wanted to become a drill instructor in San Diego, and train recruits where he began his Marine Corps career.
In April 1997, Sgt. Lacy reported to Drill Instructor School, MCRD San Diego, Calif., and after graduation he picked up his first platoon with Mike Company, 3rd Battalion, Recruit Training Regiment. As a young sergeant, Lacy quickly earned the billet of Senior Drill Instructor, which was commonly held by staff noncommissioned officers.
“Sergeants really had to compete for senior and that was a time for my competitive side to come out,” said Lacy.
Though the billet held extra responsibilities, Lacy did not shy away from the challenge.
“As a senior you are overall responsible for your recruits and your drill instructors,” he said.
Lacy explained that even though he was a senior, he was more detailed with the training of the recruits than was expected. He felt it was better to be more thorough, because the performance and discipline of the platoon is also an image of the drill instructors.
To this day, Lacy believes his hard work and commitment to the recruits was worth it because he got to see the end result.
“Having a recruit come there on day one and seeing their transformation to graduation (day) was rewarding,” he said.
While on the drill field, Lacy was meritoriously promoted to staff sergeant upon winning the Drill Instructor Meritorious Promotion Board.
After his tour on the drill field in August 2000, Staff Sgt. Lacy transferred to Recruiters School, MCRD San Diego, where he worked as the school’s supply chief.
In April 2002, Lacy reported to Headquarters Company, 23rd Marine Regiment in San Bruno, Calif., where he assumed the duties as supply chief. In February 2004, he was promoted to gunnery sergeant.
In April 2006, because of his experience as a drill instructor, Gunnery Sgt. Lacy received the opportunity to train young men at the Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Va. While stationed there, he worked summer augments as a drill instructor/platoon sergeant. When Lacy was not training potential officers, he served as the supply chief for the Combat Visual Information Center, Headquarters Battalion, Marine Corps Base Quantico. In June 2008, he was promoted to master sergeant and continued his duties with OCS and HqBn.
Wanting to return to California, Master Sgt. Lacy received orders to Headquarters Battalion, Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow in June 2009, where he was assigned as the base supply chief/staff noncommissioned officer in charge of the supply department.
A year later, Lacy volunteered for a six-month deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. During his deployment, he was assigned as the G-4 supply chief for Marine Corps Forces Central Command (MARCENT), Tampa, Fla., and for MARCENT, Bahrain. After a successful tour, he returned to the states and assumed his duties at MCLB Barstow.
What began as a challenge became a lifestyle for Lacy … looking back he never thought he would have stayed in as long as he did.
“During (all of) my re-enlistments, I never planned for retirement,” Lacy said.
Even to this day I’m still happy with my decision, he added.
As Lacy prepares to transition from the active duty ranks to the civilian work force, he plans on using his military experience.
“I will pursue opportunities in supply and logistics because I really enjoy what I do,” he said as he smiled.
Some may see this as the ending in one chapter of their life, but for Lacy he sees this as another challenge.
“This is another challenge for me in my life,” he said. “I thought this would be the perfect time for me (to retire) since I still have that fire inside me.”
As to the Marines who serve this country, Lacy expresses words of wisdom that he has utilized during his career.
“Know your job and learn as much as possible from your leadership … and strive to make yourself a better person,” he said. “There have been multiple leaders I have admired, (took a page from their book) and (I’ve) become a better person for that.”