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Face of Defense: Marine Learns Space Is Vital to the Fight
Department of Defense | Jun. 1, 2023
Marine Corps Maj. Benjamin Tuck
Tell me about your commissioning story.
I was drawn to service following 9/11 and I initially thought I wanted to "Fly Navy." From 2003-2007, I was a midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy, and I was both impressed and mentored by Marine Corps officers. I love the mission and focus of the Corps, and I was fortunate to be commissioned as a Marine upon graduation.
Why the Marine Corps?
The purpose. As a Marine Corps, we are America's force in readiness. I tell my Marines and kids too – I love being a Marine because our job is to stop bad guys and help people in trouble. An old boss of mine would sometimes quote, "Our job is to get there firstest with the mostest!"
What has been your favorite job so far?
One of my favorite jobs was being stationed at Marine Corps Forces, Pacific. One week I was in the Philippines in response to Typhoon Haiyan, and the next week I was in South Korea alongside the South Korean marines when they were conducting counter-battery fire in North Korea. Later that month, I was in Vietnam as U.S. Indo-Pacific Command opened a disaster management center in the flatlands that also functioned as a schoolhouse. I had a blast in several jobs and have served in I, II, and III Marine Expeditionary Force, but the part that makes them all awesome is simply being with Marines.
What is your military occupational specialty (MOS)?
I am a communications officer by MOS, but we train ourselves to be Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) officers first and foremost. As a Marine Corps, our fighting formations are called MAGTFs, which all have a command element, ground combat element, aviation combat element, and logistics combat element. It is a self-sustaining, combined arms formation to rapidly build combat power ashore.
Have you always had an interest in space?
I think space is interesting and vital to how we fight. I'm not really a space guy, but I view space through the lens of a warfighting domain and how critical it is to our ability as a Marine Corps, and joint force, to project power anywhere at our time and place of our choosing. I also think it's just as important that the Marine Corps and joint force be prepared to fight and win in a space-degraded or denied environment.
The goodness of being here at JTF-SD is to bring the MAGTF focus, sometimes we call it "MAGTF-ery," into our joint planning. Space is a big part of how we as Marines and the MAGTF conduct maneuver, fires, command and control, intel, and force protection.
What is the best part of your job today?
The best part of the job is the people. I'm impressed with the caliber and expertise of those who eat, sleep and breathe space for their careers. So – being a Marine within U.S. Space Command during its early years has been a good chance to be a plank owner as the organization grows and focuses on combat readiness.
What has been your biggest takeaway from the JTF-SD so far?
The protect-and-defend mission is critical and making sure space is timely, relevant and nested to the supported combatant commander's objectives must remain our top priority and focus. I'm enjoying my time at the JTF, but I am looking forward to getting back to the fleet and around Marines. When I return to the fleet, I'll be looking forward to applying much of what I've learned to how we as a Corps conduct maneuver, fires, C2 and the joint functions.
Tell me about your family.
Our family loves adventure and we love being a Marine Corps family. My wife, Julie, does an awesome job keeping our family running smoothly. She home-schools our kids, giving us the flexibility to travel and enjoy whatever duty station we're living in to the fullest. I've lived in North Carolina, Virginia, Hawaii, California, Washington, Rhode Island and now Colorado. Here we've really enjoyed the outdoors. Julie helps lead in our local American Heritage Girls Troop that our two daughters, Aubrey, 11, and Amelia, 6, are both active in, and they also do ballet. Our son, Brayden, 9, loves to run and Colorado provides the perfect setting.
What do you like to do when you're not wearing the uniform?
Trail Life has become one of my primary hobbies when I'm not in uniform. Trail Life is a nationwide Christian scouting organization focused on adventure, character and leadership. Brayden and I are part of Colorado Troop 0313, and our troop goes on campouts, hikes, fishing and other adventures and community service projects to include Wreaths Across America. Our motto is to "Walk Worthy" and I volunteer as the ranger for our K-5 patrols with 84 trailmen.