TF Marne Soldier overcomes past, excels as mechanic
June 18, 2010
U. S. Division-North Public Affairs Office
Sgt. Johnathon Jobson, TF Marne Public Affairs
Contingency Operating Base Speicher, Iraq - Soldiers come from all walks of life. Sergeant Orlando Boneshirt, a light-wheeled vehicle mechanic, and St. Francis, S.D., native, did not have the easiest childhood, but has used his experiences to help him fuel his military career.
At a young age, Sgt. Boneshirt, with Headquarters and Headquarters Support Company, Division Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division, was placed with a foster Family on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. There he was part of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe.
Sergeant Boneshirt attended grade school in a one-room schoolhouse that taught kindergarten through eighth graders. When he reached the seventh grade, his foster parents moved him to Todd County Middle School, also on the reservation.
It was during his stay on the reservation that Sgt. Boneshirt learned the basics of keeping equipment in good repair.
"As I was growing up with my foster Family, we lived on a ranch," Sgt. Boneshirt said. "Working on the equipment was always interesting to me. It helped steer me into what I do in the Army now. I enjoyed helping out here and there when I could and it is something that I still enjoy doing."
During the second half of his sophomore year, Sgt. Boneshirt went to live with his mother, Mavis Boneshirt, and was enrolled at the St. Francis Indian School. Realizing that the Family was not in the best financially condition, he dropped out of school, got his general education diploma and started working to help support his Family.
"At the time I had a lot of things going on in my life; trying to help take care of my Family," Sgt. Boneshirt explained. "It was easier for me to just get my GED and start working to provide income for my Family."
After working for a few years to get his Family into a better situation, and wanting to be able to do more with his life, Sgt. Boneshirt joined Job Corps and moved to their Kicking Horse training center in Ronan, Mont., to become a diesel engine mechanic. During this time he also completed his high school requirements and received his diploma through the high school completion program.
"I was the second or third person in my Family to actually get their high school diploma, Sgt. Boneshirt related.
Job Corps is a U.S. Department of Labor program that provides free education and vocational training to people ages 16 to 24. It teaches them the skills necessary to become employable and independent.
"I would say that my teachers at Job Corps had the greatest impact on me out of all my schooling," said Sgt. Boneshirt. "They helped me grow up and were supportive of what I decided to do."
After graduation from the Job Corps training program, Sgt Boneshirt joined the Army as a generator mechanic and later changed jobs to become a light-wheeled vehicle mechanic.
He was recently promoted to sergeant in March, his performance as a Soldier has made a great impression on his leaders.
"Sergeant Boneshirt knows exactly what he is doing here [in the motorpool] and how the systems work," said Staff Sgt. Joseph Pate, the DSTB motor sergeant, and Sgt. Boneshirt's supervisor. "He actually knows more than most Soldiers at his rank because of the school he has had in the past. He is a really great Soldier, and I see him quickly becoming a staff sergeant as soon as he is eligible."