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Twentynine Palms, California
Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command and Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center
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Lance Cpl. Kyle Cavatorta has been playing hockey for 13 years. He joined the Marine Corps to experience the unique lifestyle and gain skills through hands-on learning. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Connor Hancock)

Photo by Sgt. Connor Hancock

What I’ve Learned: Lance Cpl. Kyle Cavatorta

14 Jun 2017 | Sgt. Connor Hancock Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

Lance Corporal, Tank Crewman, 1st Tank Battalion
Hometown: Cape Cod, Massachusetts

>I’ve been playing hockey since I was five years old. I started with local youth hockey, then moved onto travel teams and also played varsity in high school. It’s great getting on the ice with the guys and seeing who the best is. Hockey translates into the Marine Corps. Teamwork is vital in both. If people aren’t working together, the job won’t get done.

>I joined the Marine Corps because I’m a hands-on learner and I prefer being outside rather than in the classroom setting. I knew being a tank crewman would be a great job and I wanted to do something combat related.

>My grandfather was in the Army during the Vietnam War and I am the first person in my family to join the military since him.

>Just getting to operate the tank has been my favorite part of the Corps so far. Not many people get to do it and getting paid to shoot rounds is a lot of fun.

>I recently went on an operational prepositioning force to Korea for a month and a half. Our mission was to prepare all the vehicles that were on prepositioned ships for offload so we can be anywhere in a moment’s notice.

>Every six months, we go to Range 500 to qualify as a crew. In February, our tank crew shot company high with a score of 973 out of 1000. We ran through multiple scenarios and were tested shooting distances ranging from 500 to 2500 meters. It helped the crew to be more effective.

>My leadership has been molded by my mentors. I learned a lot from Staff Sgt. Wademan and Sgt. Galloway, whether it’s tactics or leadership. Everyday I’m learning something new and it’s important to share that information with new Marines in our unit, so we can trust each other to get the job done.

>I recently graduated tank commander’s course. A tank commander is a sergeant’s billet, but I was able to attend the course as a lance corporal. We were tested on gunnery and tactics.

>After that course, I was able to learn a lot of new things that I can share with the platoon. It made it easier to explain how certain parts in the tank operate and how to fix them.

>If I get out of the Marine Corps, I plan on going to a four-year university and attending the police academy. The lifestyle as a Marine is very similar to being a law enforcement officer. You set an example, follow the law, and set a high standard. I plan on getting my degree in business or criminal justice.

Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms