Back in 1995, at Upson-Lee High School in Thomaston, Ga., a 15-year-old Erik Housman listens to Larry Hughes, his high school Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps Instructor tell stories from his time spent in Vietnam from his career as a Marine Corps Master Sergeant. Tales Housman says inspired him to enlist after completing high school.
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- “I knew I was going to join the Marine Corps at age 15,” Housman said. “He basically took me under his wing, and kept me out of trouble and mentored me. The stories and experiences he shared with me drove me to join the Marine Corps two weeks after I graduated high school at the age of 18.”
Fast-forward to present day, Gunnery Sgt. Housman holds the military occupational specialties of communications chief and reconnaissance Marine and has spent the majority of his career working in the reconnaissance and special operations communities. He is serving as a company gunnery sergeant with the U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command. His career encompasses many accomplishments, all of which he attributes to a long list of leaders he says help him develop into the Marine he is today.
Housman also served from 2003 to 2006 as a sergeant with the Marine Special Operations Command Detachment One, which served as the pilot program to assess the value of Marine special operations forces permanently attached to the United States Special Operations Command.
“Being part of that unit was truly one of the best experiences I have ever had in the Marine Corps,” Housman said. “I truly got to work with and learn from the Corps’ best warriors and leadership.”
Corey Davis, a retired master sergeant and one of the leaders Housman refers to, said Housman is one of the best communications chiefs he had worked with.
“Whenever we went down range we had 100 percent communications with our COC (command operating center) and he was one of the main reasons,” Davis said.
He has been awarded three medals of valor with Combat Distinguishing Device including a Bronze Star Medal, a Navy Marine Corps Achievement Medal and a Navy Marine Corps Commendation Medal. He also has a Purple Heart Medal.
“I'm an extremely humble Marine,” Housman said. “All of the accomplishments that I have been awarded are reflections of all the Marines that I have learned from or worked with throughout my career. I'm extremely fortunate to work with the Corps’ finest.”
Housman was recently awarded the Private First Class Herbert A. Littleton Enlisted Award for Operations Communications Excellence for his actions January through December 2009 while serving as a communications chief for a 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion. Housman was recommended for the award for combat operations during Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, and courageous initiative and superb leadership throughout a successful combat deployment.
The Marine Corps awards three Marines each year with the PFC Herbert A. Littleton Communications Award. The award is given out to one noncommissioned officer and one staff noncommissioned officer from the communications field for excellence in communications. The award is also given out to one Marine from the data/communications maintenance field.
“The most important leadership traits that I have learned is to try and create a standard that everyone can strive for and create a good challenging working environment,” Housman said. “That will create a great sense of pride. Lead from the front and Marines will follow. Be firm, fair, and decisive and hold all Marines accountable for anything that they do or fail to do.”