Landing right on target

Landing Right on Target

U.S. Marine LCpl Tayevion Edwards, a forward observer with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), updates information on a board outside the logistics office aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Dec. 11, 2013. Edwards work as a forward observer involves targeting and planning long-range battery and mortar strikes that provide support during combat operations. Photo by LCpl Joshua Brown.

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (Dec. 11, 2013) – Artillery is critical military occupational specialty (MOS) in the Marine Corps that impacts the tide of battle with an array of long-ranged weaponry designed to wreak havoc on our nation's enemies.

LCpl Tayevion Edwards, a Cleveland native, is a Forward Observer with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). Edwards works with Advanced Field Artillery Data Systems to assist Marines manning mortars or a variety of batteries with locking onto and hitting designated targets.

"My goal is to make sure that we hit the target without any fratricide and provide support to meet mission success," said Edwards.

Edwards stands around five feet and nine inches tall. He stares with relaxed eyes through his glasses, and speaks quietly in a soft tone.

"I joined the Marine Corps after high school because I wasn't interested in college, and I wanted to try something different," said Edwards.

Edwards is one of five children in his family. With one older sister, two younger sisters and a younger brother he is the only one currently in the military.

"I like what I do. It's hard work, but I'm happy and the experiences are great," said Edwards.

Edwards deployed with the 26th MEU for eight-months aboard the USS Kearsarge during its operations in the 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility.

Sgt Dylan Pierce, a 26th MEU administrative specialist from New Bern, N.C., said, "He was definitely a key component to the success of our unit during deployment."

Edwards' skills were tested and applied during deployment when he was tasked with helping coordinate operations involving the Kearsarge's artillery battery to ensure safety and accuracy.

"He definitely matured over deployment, and did really well having been chopped over straight from his MOS school," said Pierce.

Edwards joined the MEU after completing his occupational school and immediately became immersed in work, because the MEU began its pre-deployment training in September 2012.

"He demonstrated knowledge of his MOS throughout the deployment, and learned a lot during our operations," said Pierce.

Pierce said Edwards demonstrated his well-rounded abilities as a Marine, demonstrating efficiency in his tasks, mission oriented mind-set and initiative to take on tasks. Pierce believes Edwards has the potential to be a great leader with these traits supporting him.

"I plan to reenlist and continue my career as a Marine," said Edwards. "I'd like to eventually be a Joint Fires Observer (JFO) and call in close air support and artillery fire myself."

A JFO interacts with controllers located in communications towers and pilots, or artilleryman to help call-in and order air strikes or long-range support during field operations.

Edwards said he enjoys what he does and what the Marine Corps has taught him.

"Honor is the most important thing the Marine Corps taught me," said Edwards. "I want to be an honorable man, honor my family and do great things."

Pierce said Edwards is a benefit to the team, a good Marine and predicts Edwards will do well in the Marine Corps and will one day be a great leader.

Marines.mil is the official website of the United States Marine Corps and is maintained by the Marine Corps' Division of Public Affairs.