24th MEU (SOC) Recon Marine stands out, thanks to father's support

22 Oct 2002 | Sgt. Zachary A. Bathon

In the tough world that is Marine Reconnaissance, one Marine currently deployed with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) attributes his success to the support of his father.
Sgt. Alan Poe, Reconnaissance and Surveillance Platoon, Reconnaissance Battalion Detachment, says his father, a retired Marine sergeant major has played a big part in making him what he is today.

"My dad treated the Marine Corps like a regular job," said Poe. "So when the time came I just knew I wanted to go and he was very supportive of that."

It's a small Marine Corps and not surprisingly Poe's career path has crossed his Dad's more than once. His first duty station was among his dad's last at 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines. Poe's father had served as that battalion sergeant major in 1997-1998.

Interestingly, Poe has another connection with his Dad's career. His father's Commanding Officer at 3/6 was then Lt. Col., now Col. Richard Mills, who is Poe's Commanding Officer with the 24th MEU (SOC). While assigned to 3/6, Poe's father also deployed with the 24th MEU.

"It was funny, I ended up at 3/6 after the School of Infantry," said Poe. "My father had just retired so he still knew a lot of people there, and they liked to mess with me."

After arriving at 3/6 Poe went to Lima Company and did a deployment with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit. It was there he heard about Marine Reconnaissance from some of his friends.

After that float, Poe passed the indoctrination and went over to Reconnaissance Battalion.  From there, he went to the Basic Reconnaissance Course, Jump School and to the (Helicopter Rope Suspension Training) HRST course."

Currently, Poe is the point man in his team. "Basically I'm the navigator," he said. "It is my job to know where the team is at all times. I also check for booby traps and mines."

"But, Recon is tough," he added. "You need to have good physical fitness, a tough attitude and be able to do things without anyone telling you."

Poe said he is able to do these things because of his father's positive influence.

"He is always telling me to make sure my (Marine Corps Institute Courses) MCIs are done, to go to the sergeants course and to make sure I am being a positive role model for others."

Poe said his father also passes on some of the tips that made him a successful leader of Marines. "The most important thing he taught me was to make sure you take care of your troops." He said this helps him because he just re-enlisted and plans on staying in Recon and wants to become a team leader and later a staff sergeant then a gunnery sergeant.

He also said there is a bit of competition as to who may be the better Marine. "My dad was also good at administrative stuff," said Poe. "But I think I am a better (physical trainer.)"

On his off time, Poe said he enjoys backpacking and rock climbing, something he picked up with his dad while he was in the Boy Scouts. He has backpacked and climbed through a lot of different places throughout the country. He most recently went backpacking with his dad at Pilot Mountain, N.C.

Whether it is in the field with his recon team or hiking through the mountains, Poe said his relationship with his father is one of the things that makes him who he is today.

"Sgt. Poe is cut from the same cloth as his dad, just an all around outstanding Marine," said Mills. "His father was simply a superb battalion sergeant major, the best I've ever been around. He didn't have an infantry background but was as fine and as hard a "grunt" as I've ever seen. Although he's retired now and kicking back in Texas, we stay in touch and he's still keeping me out of trouble! It's an honor to have his son in the MEU."