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Cpl. Aaron Perry, due and status file clerk, Exercise Support Division, Headquarters Battalion, enjoys practicing different forms of martial arts; he finds it to be a mental and physical chess game against his opponent. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Isaac Cantrell)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Isaac Cantrell

What I've Learned: Aaron Perry

14 Nov 2017 | Cpl. Dave Flores Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

> I was born and raised in South Florida; Boca Raton, Florida to be more specific. It was an interesting place with a lot of culture.

> My parents provided a lot for me while I was growing up. Not just for me, but for my brothers and sisters as well.

> I would have to say that my grandparents were my biggest role models growing up. They really turned their lives around from when they were younger. They went from doing drugs to providing for not only themselves but for other people in need. It’s a really humbling experience talking to them about their success story.

> From the time I was young, I have always been into the more physical fighting sports like wrestling and jiu jitsu. They are both mentally and physically demanding. For me fighting is like a chess game, it teaches you to always be a few moves ahead of your opponent even while they are trying to do the same thing.

> After I graduated high school, I started working with my family in the daycare business. Sometimes it was awkward working with my mother because if she was mad at work, there was a chance she would be mad at home. I decided to quit after a while and work at a sports bar with a few of my friends.

> I was living life up for a little while but I decided that I wanted more structure and challenge in my life. No matter where he went I would always see my uncle, who is a retired master gunnery sergeant, exude the most confidence whenever he walked into the room and I wanted that.

> I decided to join the armed services and I thought, if I am going to try any branch, it’s going to be the Corps.

> Once I hit the fleet, I realized that I wanted to be the best in my shop. I saw early on that some people weren’t the best leaders and I wanted to do better than them. I wanted to become the leader that I always imagined for myself.

> I feel like I have become that better leader. I hope like the Marines under me have a lot of respect for me and are willing to approach me with any problems they may have.

> My time here has definitely been enjoyable and enlightening at the same time. Working with all the units that come in and out of training cycles has helped increase my job proficiency.

> I’m headed to my next duty station in Camp Pendleton, Calif. My unit will be right on the beach which I am excited for. As much as I like the sandy terrain here, I’m excited to finally have an ocean in view with it.

> My senior drill instructor always told me, “You don’t always have to be great in the Marine Corps, you just have to be better than the person to your left and your right.” I have used that to put myself above and beyond my average peer, from doing more pull ups, to being more effective at my job.

> If I could go back to when I was on the yellow footprints and tell myself something, it would be to always keep your head up, no matter how hard it can get.

> I plan on staying in the Corps a bit longer and just see where things end up. If I decide to get out, I would love to be a real estate investor or a Federal Bureau of Investigations Officer. I know they are two totally different worlds, but they both spark my interests equally.

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms