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Lance Cpl. Reggie Liberal, administrative specialist, IPAC, Headquarters Battalion, has an affinity for playing and creating music. He plays the piano, drums and guitar with the latter instruments being self-taught. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Medina Ayala-Lo)

Photo by Cpl. Medina Ayala-Lo

What I’ve Learned: Reggie Liberal

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

> I was born and raised in Orlando, Fl. I’m the youngest of three children. My brother and I are only a year apart while my sister and I are 6 years apart.

> We grew up close and then my sister, obviously being six years ahead, branched off. My brother and I weren’t always that close but when my sister left my brother and I just naturally leaned on each other and it was the best thing that ever happened to us. He’s actually the one who convinced me to join the Marine Corps.

> Growing up was kind of rough because we came from a rough neighborhood. I wasn’t allowed to play outside and our house was broken into often.

> I would say my dad had the most influence on me because he was the tough one. He was stern and he was the one who really enforced discipline. My mom did too, but then we all grew taller than her so she eased up a little bit.

> As a child I was really into music, I still am. I play three different instruments; the guitar, drums and piano with the piano being my forte.

> I was raised in a church setting. We would go almost every day. My mom used to take me to these prayer meetings and at around seven years old I got tired of going to these churches. So one day I decided to learn how to play an instrument. So I started playing and as my mom was dragging me along to church I connected with other musicians my age and played onstage. Eventually I became top notch and I started getting paid. Myself and a couple of friends formed a band and I guess you can say that was my first unofficial job.

> The drums were self-taught, I picked up little things along the way. I went to school for piano for about two years. Then I got tired of learning the classical style and decided to do my own thing. Guitar was self-taught as well. Piano helped me play the other instruments because it teaches you rhythm and sound and I played by ear so when I picked up the guitar it just came naturally.

> I’m the first one in my immediate family to show interest in instruments. My brother dabbled but he wasn’t consistent. If he stayed with it though, he would have excelled. He didn’t really practice like that and he’d still show me out on performance days. We used to play guitar together.

> Music is healing in a sense. It brings joy. It’s fun, it livens up my day. Nothing is better in this world than creating something and the people around you enjoying it. I think that’s one of the greatest pleasures in life. When I’m not playing sports or volunteering, I’m making music. I have my guitar and my drums in my room and I’m constantly creating things.

> I think music speaks for me sometimes. I don’t have to tell you what I’m thinking I just play.

> Church influenced me in several ways. Out of all my friends, I had church friends and then I had friends who weren’t really involved in that kind of lifestyle. I always ended up being the more level headed among my non-church friends. I was very cautious about what I did and if it wasn’t for the church I wouldn’t have been like that.

> I also played soccer growing up, that was my very first sport. Eventually, we moved from our original home town and then I made a group of friends who were really into basketball. By eighth grade year, I was completely in love with basketball.

> I spent a year in college before my brother convinced me to join the Marine Corps. My brother always wanted to go to the military because my sister was in JROTC. And he fell in love with the uniform and military presence, way before he was even able to join. In school, he didn’t do well in any other subject but he aced JROTC. Our dad tried to convince him to go to college first but my brother was set on joining.

> I was doing something I wasn’t supposed to be doing and when my parents caught me they told me to grab my stuff and get out of the house. I found places I could crash and people who wanted to speak to my parents but I realized I didn’t want to be back and forth. I wanted the first time I left the house to be the last time I came back.

> After that the military popped into my head and then my brother spoke to me and convinced me I could do it. I went to the recruiting office that day and the next day I took my test and I was gone four months later.

> I’m currently on the color guard. I fell in love with drill in boot camp, I was very good at it. When the door opened for me to be on the color guard I dove in head first. I like sharpness and precision and drill is that.

> I recently started playing for our unit’s football team. It’s a much more physically draining sport on the body than basketball but I like it because when you’re playing football you’re required to play in short spurts making the thinking process a lot quicker. It requires me to think on my feet.

> My favorite part about being a Marine is the different people who seem to have the same story that I do. The common ground we find as Marines is invaluable. I work at IPAC in new joins and I’m constantly checking-in Marines from the newest to the more senior. I’ve gotten to meet people and become long term friends and it’s because of the uniform that I got to see these kinds of people. I’m a social person so being able to do that as my job in the military is something I’m grateful for.

> The Marine Corps taught me maturity. I had to mature really quickly in order to be better at what I do. There’s still room for improvement but I can honestly say for a fact that if I wasn’t here, I wouldn’t be close to what I am now. That’s one thing I appreciate the Corps for doing for me is aiding me in becoming a better man.

> If I had to give advice to someone it would be stay as patient as possible. I know it sucks, because a lot of bad things happen to good people and a lot of good things happen to bad people but there will be a day when all those hardship will be worth it. There’s going to be a day when everything you went through will not only help to mold you as a person but also allow you to help the next person who is going through almost the exact same thing as you. Everything you’re going through is for a reason. So if you’re going through something rough, don’t beat yourself up about it take the experience and learn from it.
Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms