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Cpl. Liam Gamez, military police man, Provost Marshal’s Office, Headquarters Battalion, trained in Mixed Martial Arts for more than 10 years. He hopes to return to the sport upon his end of active service in the Marine Corps. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Medina Ayala-Lo)

Photo by Cpl. Medina Ayala-Lo

What I’ve Learned: Liam Gamez

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

> I’m from South Padre Island, Texas. South Padre is a beach city and it’s located along the Gulf Coast. It was pretty cool growing up there. It was spring break central, so summers and spring were crazy.

> I have several siblings, but only my little brother is fully related to me. We grew up very close. Growing up with a single mom, it was just us three in the house and that’s what brought us close together. We all had to pitch in and work a lot just to make ends meet.

> I started working as soon as I turned 15. When I turned 15, I was became a lifeguard at a pool, when I turned 16 a year later, I started working as a life guard at a water park, which was kind of fun but I hated it at the same time because it was so hot. It was kind of bitter sweet, but I made a lot of friends working there.

> For a period of time, my mom couldn’t work because she was diagnosed with cancer, so we took care of her until she was in complete remission.

> We have great memories too life wasn’t all sad but I stuck out the tough parts because I knew it was what I had to do. I knew if I was to sitting around being sad it wouldn’t help.

> I think I developed my resiliency from my mom. She is the strongest person I know. She taught me that not everything in life is given to you, and that you’ve got to work for what you want.

> When I was 9 years old, my uncle brought me to a fighting academy, because he has always been involved in martial arts. I guess he figured it would be a good activity for me. From there, I was hooked and I wanted to learn as much as I could about various fighting styles. I thought [Mixed Martial Arts] would give me an opportunity to challenge myself in a new way.

> I would describe myself as a competitive individual. It makes me feel great whenever I accomplish what I set out to do because I’ve proved to myself that I can be better than I thought. It’s important for me to challenge myself because that’s the only way I can come out on top.

> MMA strengthened my character because it taught me that you can’t go around hurting people just because you know how to. You have to use your strength and knowledge wisely.

> I’ve participated in a few competitions. Even though I got second place, I learned a valuable lesson; you’re not always going to come out on top, and that’s when you learn humility. How hard you let someone beat you is up to you.

> I’m the first one in my family to join the military. The idea of joining the military was always in my head, but senior year of high school is when it hit me that I had to make a decision. I wasn’t sure which direction I wanted to go toward but I knew I had to choose a path for my life.

> I chose the Marine Corps because it stuck out the most from all the military branches. My mom and my brother supported me 100% when I told them of my plans to join the Marine Corps.

> When it came time to choose my job, it was between military policeman or security forces. but I chose this one because it’s given me more experience for what I want to do in the future. I’m looking at working for border control.

> My favorite part about my job is that I’ve learned skills I can take with me if I choose to get out of the Marine Corps. The Marine Corps has taught me how to handle stressful situations and not to be afraid to speak up.

> My favorite part about the Marine Corps is the people I’ve met. I’ve built friendships that will last forever because we’ve been through some of the hardest things together and formed bonds that will never break.

> I think the Corps is something I’ll be proud of for the rest of my life. I’ll be able to look back and say I experienced something not a lot of people get to in this lifetime.

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms