published Saturday, June 11th, 2011

12 hours on, 12 hours off

U.S. Marine Cpl. Jonathan Booth greets Afghan children during a security patrol.
Contributed photo by Sgt. Earnest J. Barnes
U.S. Marine Cpl. Jonathan Booth greets Afghan children during a security patrol. Contributed photo by Sgt. Earnest J. Barnes

Name: Cpl. Jonathan Booth

Age: 24

Job: Motor Transport

Location: Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan

Hometown: Red Bank, Tenn.

Family: Wife, Cala Oglesby Booth

U.S. Marine Cpl. Jonathan Booth joined the military following in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps of wartime service. He deployed to Afghanistan in February. He’s scheduled for one year in the combat zone. Stationed out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., Baker said in a telephone interview that he misses first his wife and family and next his Chevrolet Z71 pickup truck.

Q: Tell me about your day-to-day life in Afghanistan.

A: I check our convoys, we do turnover of 12 hours on, 12 hours off. I do changeover with my guys, they tell me all I need to know for the night. I track the convoy on a system that’s like instant messaging on crack.

One of my biggest challenges is sitting at a desk. When you sign up to be out in the field driving trucks, you don’t ever think that you’re going to be behind the desk. I beg and I plead and sometimes I get my way [to go on patrol] and sometimes I don’t.

Q: Your grandfather served in the Army in World War II and your father was a U.S. Navy corpsman in the Vietnam War. How did that tradition influence your decision to join the military?

A: I always, as a kid, used to dress up and play Army. I’ve always planned on being in the military since I was 16. I wanted to be a Marine. My relationship with my grandfather grew tremendously when I joined the military. I don’t think my grandfather really took me seriously as a man until I joined the military.

Q: What are you looking forward to most when you get to come home?

A: There’s a place where you go up Signal Mountain, there’s a little bluff where you can see Red Bank High School and Chattanooga. I know there’s several of those places but there’s one I’ve gone to before. On our first date Cala and I went up there. I played “Livin’ Our Love Song” by Jason Michael Carroll and we danced. I’d like to take her there again.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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