USS GUNSTON HALL -- Staff Sgt. Jeffery Perry is a Spartan.
Or at least that is what Marines call him after experiencing one of his hand-tailored CrossFit workouts.
“I do hear that,” Perry said. “But none of that stuff comes from me. I am not one of those guys that brags.”
But physical training is not the only thing the 31-year-old Middlesex, N.J., native is known for. He has to squeeze in his workout around his primary mission of ensuring vehicles and the Marines that work with them are ready to go at a moment’s notice.
Perry is the motor transportation chief with Motor Transportation Platoon, Combat Logistics Battalion 24, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit. His job focuses on coordinating the movements of all CLB 24s’ motor vehicles as well as ensuring they stay up and running.
“There is always something that needs to be transported so it’s a nonstop job,” he said. “Here with the MEU, it is probably the busiest I have ever been with a unit because the day-to-day operations that go on to support an entire MEU are unbelievable.”
Perry said he enlisted about a year after graduating from Middlesex High School in his hometown. He said his decision to join the Marine Corps came from a combination of wanting to serve his country like his father who served three years in the Army during the Vietnam War and the fact the Marine Corps has a reputation for being the toughest branch of the Armed Services.
“I wanted to join the military and I figured ‘hey if it’s like everybody says, the Marines are the hardest thing, so I might as well do that,’” he said.
He said he chose his military occupational specialty, motor transportation operator, after talking with his recruiter about his options, and now, absolutely loves what he does. So much, in fact, he said he has decided to make service in the Marine Corps a career.
“Growing up, raised by my father and my two older brothers, it was always a guy thing, cars and trucks, and things like that,” he said. “My intention was not to make a career or a life out of it at all. I figured I would do like my father did. I guess the Marine Corps just grew on me those first couple years in. It was right for me so I stayed doing it.”
Currently the Iraq-war veteran is on his fifth deployment – this is his second with the 24th MEU. On ship he can often be spotted leading the Marines of his platoon in intense Cross Fit workouts; workouts that have given him the nickname “Spartan.”
“I think they respect the idea of a staff (noncommissioned officer) that can go down there and hang with them, run with them, work with them, and do it alongside them,” he said. “As much as I hope to motivate them, they motivate me the same way to keep doing what I am doing.”
The 24th MEU, along with the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group, is currently deployed to the U.S Central Command area of operations as a theater reserve and crisis response force. The group is providing support for maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet area of responsibility.