From Bronx to Sandbox: New York native keeps forward operating base running in Afghanistan

From Bronx to Sandbox

LCpl Marbelyn Cepeda, a generator operator with Combat Logistics Battalion 2, volunteered to deploy to one of the most volatile areas in Afghanistan. The 22 year old is serving in Sangin, Afghanistan, providing general support to 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 6. Photo by Sgt James Mercure.

FORWARD OPERATING BASE SABIT QADAM, Afghanistan (October 19, 2012) — Volunteering to deploy to what has been one of the most volatile areas in Afghanistan may come as a tough decision for some, but for LCpl Marbelyn Cepeda, the decision was easy.

Cepeda, from 6th Communications Battalion based out of Brooklyn, New York, has served for more than three years at the reserve unit as a generator operator. Now, she is serving in Sangin, Afghanistan, as part of Combat Logistics Battalion 2, providing general support to 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 6.

Not only is Cepeda responsible for making sure generators at the forward operating base are up and running correctly, she has taken on the task of helping the other CLB-2 Marines on the FOB by managing and assisting the laundry facility and utilities section.

"It's a different experience for me," Cepeda said. "I volunteered for this, for the life experience. Down the line, I'm going to be able to say that I came out to a war zone and did my part."

Growing up in the Bronx, Cepeda said she misses something about her city that may seem strange to those not from a metropolitan area.

"I miss the crowds," Cepeda said. "It's not something I thought I would miss out here, but being somewhere that's alive and upbeat is a complete shift from being out here."

A 2008 graduate of the High School of Fashion Industries, Cepeda had her heart set on becoming a fashion designer, but the drive to serve her country had her set her sights on the Marine Corps.

"I wanted to challenge myself," Cepeda said. "I wanted to be able to look back and know that I had what it took to be a U.S. Marine."

After her current deployment, Cepeda wants to go back to school for public relations and finish her bachelor's degree.

 

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