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Cpl. Daniel Flores, ground radio repair technician, 1st Tank Battalion, was the recipient of the 2016 Innovation Challenge for the creation of his multi-purpose cable unit. Flores is currently working on innovating new, more efficient technologies. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Medina Ayala-Lo)

Photo by Cpl. Medina Ayala-Lo

What I’ve Learned: Daniel Flores

30 Mar 2017 | Cpl. Medina Ayala-Lo Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

> I’m from Soldotna, Alaska. It’s more rural, there were maybe 5,000 people from my hometown.

> I grew up with a relatively normal sized family. I have an older brother, a younger brother and then my parents. We were a pretty close family. My dad owns a fishing business in Alaska so we helped out with the business a lot growing up. I hope to be a part of it someday.

> All three of us brothers joined the Marine Corps. My older brother is a sergeant with [Marine Corps Embassy Security Guard] and my little brother is part of the aircrew on CH-53’s. Our parents love that we’re all in, doing something we love.

> Both of my grandparent’s on my dad’s side were in the military. My grandma was in the Marine Corps way back in the day, about 20 years after Opha Mae Johnson joined and my grandfather was an engineer in the Army, he built runways over in Germany. Then my grandfather on my mom’s side was in the Army over in Korea.

> We weren’t super pushed toward military service. My parents just wanted to make sure that we had a plan. My mom always wanted one of us to go to college and be a doctor or lawyer or something big, but that’s not really what we wanted to do.

> I always had an interest in joining the military, but my brother influenced me to join the Marines. I wasn’t ready for college, but I needed to do something and the military is something that’s important to me.

> The camaraderie and the patriotism is what drew me in to the military; I wanted to do my part. When I was younger, I heard about 9/11 and the resulting wars and that resonated with me. I thought “I want to help, I want to do something.” Even if I’m not getting deployed I’m still able to support the effort.

> I chose ground electronics as my [military occupational specialty] because electronics have always come easy to me. I can understand them and it’s just kind of second nature.

> I get to explore a lot with my MOS. I get to experiment with different things and test new systems that will make my MOS more efficient as far as communication goes. I get to come down to the FabLab and try some things out.

> I took metal shop all four years of high school and then I took the general electronics class. I liked the freedom to design what you wanted. With metal working and electronics you don’t have to build a certain thing. You can create what you want to and explore a little bit more.

> The coolest thing we ever built in high school was a dune buggy. We used the engine from a Volkswagen Bug and we built one out of a steel frame and it could do wheelies. It had seven seats on it, there were two seats on the front, two seats on the side above each wheel and then three seats in the back. This thing looked crazy. In the center seat you had a little lever, and those three seats were on a slide bar, so it slid all three people’s weight back and threw the entire thing up on a wheelie. It’s the metal shop’s mascot now.

> My favorite thing I built for the Marine Corps was the cable test box. It makes it more efficient and more affordable to test certain cables in the tank. It saves a lot of time and effort. I wanted to make a more efficient process because the one now takes almost a full day, and with the cable test box, it takes 15 minutes.

> Growing up our parents were very supportive of us in every way. They never said you have to do this. They told us to figure out what we want to do and go for it. They raised us with the mentality of if you put your mind to it you’ll get it.

> I love fishing, hunting and anything outdoors. I love being outside; I like the freedom. You’re going out on your own and you’re also getting food that you know where it’s coming from. In Alaska, we’re pretty big on the sustainable food so going out and getting your own food, knowing where it’s coming from and having the knowledge that you worked for your food instills a sense of pride.

> Fishing and hunting always takes patience, but it’s always worth it in the end because you’re putting food on the table. Growing up we never bought any meat. We’re a big hunting family, there aren’t many families who don’t hunt in Alaska.

> I wrestled in high school and I played a little bit of football. So staying active has stayed a huge part of my life. Wrestling was my favorite sport because it was more of a who’s better thing. You’re putting your all in to it. It’s not so much a team effort, it’s how well you can do as a person. It’s the warrior mentality, you have to earn it.

> My favorite thing about being in the Marine Corps is the bond I share with any Marine, anywhere. You can get along with them. It’s the brotherhood or sisterhood that you don’t really see anywhere else. Everybody’s backing you, and everyone backs each other.

> If I had to give life advice to someone it would be you’re going to make mistakes in your life and you’re going to be stronger for it. There’s no set standard to life, you don’t have to do anything someone wants you to do, you can forge your own path.

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms