EDITOR’S NOTE: Part of this story didn’t run on Saturday’s Rawlins Times edition due to a print mishap. Here is the full story. We sincerely apologize to our readers for the inconvenience.
Philip Rose and James Mercer grew up together in Sinclair, Wyoming. One year apart in age these two friends became brothers and over the years have never lost touch with each other or their families. Together, in October of 2002 these brothers made the life-changing decision to step onto the yellow footprints in San Diego CA starting their journey as recruits in the United States Marine Corps. Seventeen years later and they are still serving, Philip in San Diego, CA and James in Fort Worth, TX.
Gunnery Sergeant Mercer Airframes Division Chief Marine Fighter Attack Squadron-112
Gunnery Sergeant Mercer was born on April 25, 1982 in Denver, CO. He graduated from Darby High School in Darby, MT in December 2000. After working at the Sinclair Refinery in Casper, WY from February 2001 until August 2002, he decided to join the Marine Corps. On May 29, 2002 at the age of 20, James Mercer enlisted in the Marine Corps Delayed Entry Program. On October 14, 2002 he departed for Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, CA. He graduated from recruit training on January 11, 2003.
In January of 2003, Private Mercer reported to Marine Combat Training (MCT) located in Camp Pendleton, CA. Upon completion of MCT, he received orders to Fort Bliss, TX for Low Altitude Air Defense Gunner Course (MOS 7212). After successfully completing the course, Private First Class Mercer reported to Cherry Point, NC to Marine Air Control Group 28 (MACG-28), 2nd Low Altitude Air Defense Command (2nd LAAD), Alpha Company, 1st Platoon where he served as the Assistant Gunner. He was promoted to Lance Corporal in December of 2003.
In February of 2004, Lance Corporal Mercer was assigned to the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (24 MEU), where he served as the Commanding Officers’ Personal Security Detail (PSD) in Iraq. On November 9, 2004, his Military Ground Vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED). He had shrapnel wounds to his face and arm and was medically evacuated to 31st Combat Support Hospital, South of Baghdad, Iraq. On November 15, 2004, he returned back to the PSD team and finished his tour in FOB
Kalsu, Iraq. In March of 2005 Lance Corporal Mercer was promoted to Corporal. On May 6, 2005, he was transferred back to Alpha Company 1st Platoon.
Corporal Mercer’s End of Active Service was in October of 2006 where he met a Prior Service Recruiter that informed him he could stay Active Duty and change his MOS. Ten days after being released from Active Duty, James Mercer was accepted to the Active Reserve Program as a Helicopter Mechanic (MOS 6152).
On October 26, 2006, Corporal Mercer joined the Marine Corps Active Reserves assigned to Marine Air Group 49 (MAG-49), Medium Helicopter Squadron 774 (HMM-774) at Norfolk, VA. In April of 2007, he was promoted to Sergeant and received orders to “A” school at NATTC, Naval Air Station Pensacola, FL. While there, he went to Aviation Structural School for “Core” and the Organizational Level Strand. Upon completion, he went to “C” school for CH-46E Structural and Hydraulic Systems Organizational Maintenance at CNATT MAR unit, Marine Corps Air Station New River, NC. After completing of both “A” and “C” school, he returned to HMM-774. There he was assigned to be the desk sergeant responsible for workload prioritizing tasks to 25 Marines, accounting for 650 tools and 13 tool containers.
From June to August of 2009, Sergeant Mercer attended Sergeants Course. After graduation, he was assigned to report to MAG-41, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 764 (HMM-764), MAG-41, Edwards, CA. As an Airframe Mechanic for the CH-46E, he was assigned to be a Collateral Duty Inspector (CDI) and Quality Assurance Representative (QAR) (MOS 6018) for the Airframes Division. In February 2012, he was selected for promotion to Staff Sergeant and then volunteered to attend Career Course, Sergeant Mercer was promoted to Staff Sergeant in July during the course. Staff Sergeant Mercer successfully graduated from Career Course in August of 2012.
In April 2012, Staff Sergeant Mercer volunteered and was selected for Prior Service Recruiting (PSR) duty. He reported to MCRD San Diego in February of 2013, for PSR Basic (8411). Upon successful completion of the course, he was assigned to the 12th Marine Corps District in Riverton, UT. Staff Sergeant Mercer successfully completed 40 months as a PSR.
Starting in September 2016, Staff Sergeant Mercer reported to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 112. From there he attended F/A-18 Aviation Hydraulic/Structural Mechanic in Oceana, VA, to obtain the MOS. After graduating F/A-18 “C” school he went back to Fort Worth, TX, where he became the SNCOIC of 30 Airframe Marines and in charge of supervising safe work on 12 F/A-18 Legacy Hornets. April 2018, Staff Sergeant Mercer was promoted to Gunnery Sergeant. He then became the Airframes Division Chief.
Gunnery Sergeant Mercer’s personal decorations include the Purple Heart and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal. He is married to the former Cassie Vyvey of Sinclair, WY. They live in Fort Worth, TX, and have two children: Tyler (14) and Leah (13).
MASTER SERGEANT PHILIP ROSE 1st BATTALION, 5TH MARINE REGIMENT BATTALION COMMUNICATIONS CHIEF
Master Sergeant Philip Rose entered the Marine Corps in October 2002 and completed recruit training at MCRD San Diego, California. After completing Marine Combat Training at Camp Pendleton, CA and the Basic Network Operators Course at 29 Palms, CA, he was assigned the MOS 0651, Data Network Operator.
In May 2003, Private First Class Rose reported to II Marine Expeditionary Force G-6 located at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina, where he served as a Helpdesk and Defense Messaging System technician. He was promoted to Lance Corporal, Corporal meritoriously and then to the rank of Sergeant. Sergeant Rose was deployed to Camp Fallujah, Iraq with the II Marine Expeditionary Force Forward from February 2005 to February 2006. He served as the Assistant Network Chief and MCCC Watch Clerk. After returning to Camp LeJeune, Sergeant Rose was assigned as the Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) transition clerk.
In November 2006, Sergeant Rose reported to U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) Camp LeJeune, North Carolina where he served as the Service Desk NCO. He was moved to the Operations section to assist in the creation and implementation of the pilot MARSOC Network Operators Course (MNOC). During this time, Sergeant Rose became the Logistics NCO and Assistant instructor for the MNOC. He attended SNCO Career Course at Camp Johnson, North Carolina followed by Data Chiefs Course at 29 Palms, California. Upon returning from school he was promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant and assigned the MOS 0659.
In February 2010, Staff Sergeant Rose began the training pipeline to become a Special Operations Capabilities Specialist Communicator (SOCS-C). He attended MARSOC Network Operators Course at Stone Bay, North Carolina and served as a Squad Leader. He received the Gung Ho award at the commencement of training. Continuing the pipeline, he reported to Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) School at Fort Rucker, Alabama immediately followed by Special Operations Training Course (STC) at Stone Bay, North Carolina. Staff Sergeant Rose was assigned to Marine Special Operations Support Group as a Communications Support Team Chief.
In July 2011, Staff Sergeant Rose was assigned to 2d Marine Special Operations Company Hotel and served as the Company Communications Chief. He deployed to Camp Lawton, Afghanistan from February 2012 to October 2012. Upon return he was assigned to Intel Battalion Special Operations Support Group as a Data Chief and promoted to the rank of Gunnery Sergeant.
In February 2013, Gunnery Sergeant Rose was assigned to Defense Information Systems Agency at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. He was then assigned to Operations Team 3 (OT-3) in support of Joint Staff Operations in the National Military Command Center within the Pentagon. Gunnery Sergeant Rose served as the senior enlisted member of an eight person team made up of personnel from every branch of the military. OT-3 was responsible for the direct support of the O-7 Deputy Director of Operations and the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff.
In April 2016, Gunnery Sergeant Rose was assigned to Detachment B, Marine Wing Communications Squadron 38 at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California. He served as the Data Platoon Staff Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge, Operations Chief and Detachment Gunnery Sergeant. Master Sergeant Rose was promoted to his current rank in March 2018 and served as the Detachment B’s Comm Chief.
In April 2019, Master Sergeant Rose reported to 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment aboard Camp Pendleton, CA currently serving as the Battalion Communications Chief. In October 2019, his unit was deployed to Okinawa Japan to serve as the Battalion Landing Group Communications Chief as part of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit
Master Sergeant Rose’s personal awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal third award, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal second award and the Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal. He is married to Morgann Rose and they are stationed in San Diego CA, with three children: Haley (18), Lane (16) and Delmas (1). They are expecting their fourth child April 2020.