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Medina knew from his sophomore year in high school that he wanted to join the Marine Corps. Many members of his family, including his stepfather, served in the United States Navy. He is the first generation of his family to serve in the Marine Corps. He enlisted September 7, 2010.

Photo by Cpl. Charles Santamaria

What I've learned: Cpl. Aaron Medina

1 Aug 2014 | Cpl. Charles Santamaria

Medina knew from his sophomore year in high school that he wanted to join the Marine Corps. Many members of his family, including his stepfather, served in the United States Navy. He is the first generation of his family to serve in the Marine Corps. He enlisted September 7, 2010.

It’s been a pretty cool experience serving in the Marine Corps; I got to travel to many places and work with other countries.

A part of the military is also who you work with, I’ve met so many people from different backgrounds and you see the reasons why they joined as you get to know them.

Before I joined the Marine Corps, I began to have an interest in guns and started shooting on local ranges where I lived. All the weapons I saw Marines use actually became one of the reasons I joined.

While in high school I enjoyed playing football, swimming, and shooting.

During my sophomore year in high school I decided I wanted to enlist in the Marine Corps.

My step dad was active duty navy and he would always tell me stories about Marines and what they did and I thought it was cool. I’m proud to be the first Marine in my family.

The dynamic of working with different countries was also really cool. An example of that was when we trained with the Australian army. Their mindset was to advance behind tanks while Marines never have anyone behind the tank. Seeing those differences was very interesting, while deployed or in training.

I remember when I was younger watching the news and seeing Marines made me always think about joining because of all the things I would see them do.

When I got to 1st Tank Battalion I was taken care of by my NCOs and they guided me in the right direction. I wanted to make sure I did the same with the junior Marines I have.

One of the things the Marine Corps has taught me is realizing all people learn differently. For me hands-on learning and teaching always worked the best.

I learned a little bit about cars while at Tanks, I know when I needed some work done I could go to the mechanics in the Battalion who were really good with cars and saved me from a lot of headaches.

I love old muscle cars and I want to eventually buy an old Camaro SS and fix it up.

My favorite part of being in a tank was driving and shooting, sometimes driving out in town I’ll start going off the road and I have to remind myself I’m not in a tank and that’s pretty funny.

My favorite position in the tank crew was the loader. You were doing everything, keeping track of the radio, throwing more rounds in, and passing ammo, it was very active.

I have Marines who have grown and become gunners. They come to me asking questions and in a way I’ll miss helping Marines out and being there for them.

One of the things I will take with me after the Marine Corps is leadership. All the things I learned from training junior Marines was very valuable and I’ve enjoyed all the experiences I’ve had.

Taking care of my Marines was always important to me. I made sure to always have my door open for questions or advice.

I grew up with all sisters and I never really had that brother figure; I got that in the Marine Corps and I’ll really miss being that brother figure for others.

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