The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

November 3, 2012

Enid Marine makes most of his Afghan deployment

By Master Sgt. Brenda Varnadore, Regional Command Southwest
Enid News and Eagle

NOW ZAD, Afghanistan — After three years at Oklahoma State University, it came time for an Enid native to make a decision on his major.

Realizing it would affect the rest of his life, he wanted to be absolutely sure. He took a long, hard look in the mirror and made his decision. He wanted to be a Marine.

Now, four years into his six-year contract, Cpl. Michael Sheets, machine gun leader, 4th platoon, Company F, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, has no regrets.

“I got to the point where I had to decide what I wanted to do,” said the 2005 Enid High School graduate. “I wanted to be a Marine, so I signed a six-year contract to be infantry. I thought that was the only way to be a Marine.”

His parents, Tom and Cynda Sheets, initially were surprised, but stood by their son.

“They are very supportive and proud,” said Sheets. “They send care packages all the time to show their support.”

Sheets joined 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, during March 2009, after recruit training and the School of Infantry. He has deployed twice with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, based out of Okinawa, Japan. During his second deployment with the MEU, he went to Australia. His battalion set up the Marine Corps’ new unit deployment program in Australia.

Now, Sheets is in Afghanistan, where he has wanted to be since he enlisted. He said from what he has heard and seen, the Marines have made progress in Now Zad.

“We have definitely helped a great number of people here,” said Sheets. “You can tell they feel safer with us and are starting to feel safer with the Afghan forces.”

Because of the development of capability and capacity within the Afghan National Security Forces, the Marines of Fox Company have more time on their hands. Sheets confesses to being an avid golfer and fisherman. Since that is not available to him here, he said he works on growing as a Marine and a leader. He credits his machine gun team.

“They keep me on my toes,” Sheets said “They teach me something new constantly, but it makes me a better Marine.”

He said he also takes every opportunity he has to catch up on sports.

“I watch any (Oklahoma State) sport and the Cowboys,” he said. “I follow the Internet and game tracker whenever I can.”

Sheets isn’t sure whether he is going to serve his six years or 20, but he knows his ultimate goal is to serve in federal law enforcement. Until then, he said he wants to make the most of being a Marine.