Newark, De. --
Matt Humiston was a junior at Kennedale High School in Arlington, Texas when the World Trade Center was attacked on Sept. 11, 2001. Watching the twin towers crumble to the ground was an eye-opening experience for many Americans, including Humiston.
“It made me realize that the world is in a sense flat,” said Humiston. “We can be attacked and intimidated by other people. I did not want my family to have to deal with that.”
Ever since then, Humiston has dedicated himself to the service of his country.
He is now a Marine Corps captain and currently serves as officer selection officer for Officer Selection Team Newark, Marine Corps Recruiting Station Baltimore. This duty has Humiston prospecting for officer candidates at various events, career fairs and college campuses throughout Baltimore, the Eastern Shore and Delaware. In addition to finding potential candidates, he processes their paperwork and prepares them for Officer Candidate School.
Humiston was recently recognized for his efforts by being recognized as the OSO Rookie of the Year by the 4th Marine Corps Recruiting District for maintaining above 190 percent mission performance during the 2013 fiscal year.
“It is just doing my job,” said Humiston. “I do not worry about awards and recognition. It is all about adding value to the (Marine Corps). It is about making sure the Marine Corps has good leaders.”
Humiston has certainly come a long way since that fateful day in September 2001. After graduating from Kennedale in 2003, he was accepted to the United States Naval Academy where he majored in economics and played linebacker on the football team. While at the Naval Academy, Humiston chose to become a Marine officer.
“I saw the way they presented themselves personally and professionally,” said Humiston.
After being commissioned a second lieutenant and graduating from The Basic School at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., he was trained to be a combat engineer.
“You are kind a jack of all trades supporting the infantry Marine,” said Humiston. “You provide mobility, counter-mobility and survivability.”
He was sent to Marine Corps Airround Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., where he was made the commander of Assault Breacher Platoon, 3rd Combat Engineer Battalion. This was a unit consisting of assault breacher vehicles, which are designed to clear pathways for troops and other vehicles through minefields and along roadside bombs and Improvised Explosive Devices. Humiston was in charge of 35 Marines whose jobs included tanker, engineer and mechanic.
His unit deployed to Afghanistan in April 2010, just a few months after he took command of his platoon.
While in Afghanistan, Humiston helped plan and execute 18 mechanized assaults and cleared more than 35 kilometers of IED-laden territory for a 700-man infantry battalion in order to eliminate Taliban strongholds in the heavily contested and dangerous Sangin district.
“For me, we were saving lives,” said Humiston. “We were clearing the way and eliminating IEDs. I am very proud of that capability for the ground combat element.”
Humiston was tasked with missions that pushed himself and his Marines to the limit physically and mentally. It was during this time that he learned that self-composure and self-restraint during times of adversity was very important.
“You can not be overcome by friction and have tunnel vision,” said Humiston. “You have to be able to step back and see the whole picture.”
It was also in Afghanistan that Humiston learned that teamwork is the main ingredient to success.
“It pays to be a listener,” said Humiston. “You have to build relationships. You have to care about subordinates and subordinate leaders. It’s not me out here making decisions by myself. We have to rely on noncommissioned officers and staff noncommissioned officers. At the end of the day, I am going to make a decision, but you have to pool from their experiences especially during the planning process.”
He was awarded for his efforts in Afghanistan with a Navy Marine Corps Achievement Medal with a Combat distinguishing device for heroic achievement and exceptional leadership.
After returning from Afghanistan, Humiston became the executive officer for a 240-person Engineer Support Company where he prepared them for their next deployment. He was recognized as being the most effective executive officer in his battalion.
In the spring of 2011, Humiston requested to become an OSO.
“I wanted to continue to give back to my country,” said Humiston. “Find, develop and mentor highly qualified individuals to lead America’s Marines. America’s Marines deserve the best to lead them.”