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Lance Cpl. Walter Carreno, distribution management specialist, Headquarters Battalion, has been playing soccer for more than 12 years, to which he attributes to most of his success in the Marine Corps. (Official Marine Corps photo by Pfc. Levi Schultz/Released)

Photo by Pfc. Levi Schultz

What I've Learned: Walter Carreno

8 Apr 2015 | Pfc. Levi Schultz Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

My decision to join the Marine Corps came from my desire to be a part of something bigger than myself. Part of my decision came from wanting to have a good sense of the world when I got out of the service.

I feel that the challenges I have dealt with have made me more decisive and confident with my life choices.

I was the first in my family to join the military. I wanted to give my two younger sisters and cousins back home a good example.

My family had mixed feelings when I joined the Marine Corps. They were glad I was moving forward and accomplishing more things. While I know they worry, I feel they are proud of my decision.

I enjoy being active in sports and trying to set myself apart within the team. Much of my free time goes toward playing sports or lifting. Lately, I have been researching muscle health and nutrition to improve my health.

I strive to better myself as an individual not only physically, but mentally. I’ve been trying to further my education. Part of being a Marine is having both a strong mind and body.

When I was 12 years old, I discovered soccer. It was a sport that I fell in love with quickly. I played all through high school and managed to make the varsity team. The highlight of the season was when our team made it into the top 12 at state. Currently, I am playing for the Headquarters Battalion soccer team here. I’m looking forward to our next game and practicing as much as I can.

During high school, I started from the bottom on the bench. My dad would encourage me and tell me I have a natural touch with the ball. When I got older, I got good enough to play left forward and attacking middle.

After high school, I considered playing for a college team, but I decided to join the Marine Corps instead.

Playing soccer is one of my favorite memories as a kid. I would go to the park with my dad and my cousins, and we would just play soccer.

Every other weekend, we would get together for a barbeque and there would always be a soccer ball. Unfortunately, life goes on and we lose contact. When we have time, soccer is the nucleus that brings us together.

Soccer is a sport that brings people together. While playing soccer, I met five of my best friends back home and we still keep in touch. I have been playing with them ever since I can remember. I know exactly how they move and where they are going to be on the field.

Playing on a team in high school has helped me transition into the Marine Corps. It taught me that to be successful it takes teamwork and camaraderie. Working with other Marines is an important part of my job.

When I play soccer or go lifting, my mind just goes blank, and it serves as an escape from the day’s troubles.

Before I joined the military, I worked as a physical therapist’s assistant. Most of our patients were elderly, so it helped me to improve my social skills.

My job in the Marine Corps as a distribution management specialist is to ensure the [proper] transportation of household goods. It’s up to us to make sure storage gets from point A to point B in a timely manner.

My job has taught me how to handle people and certain situations. It has helped me to remain calm while under pressure and get the mission done in an efficient and tactful manner.

The Combat Center is a unique duty station. The rumors you hear from other Marines when you get orders here are not always positive. Most people look at it as a glass half empty. I think it’s what you make of it, and it can be a great duty station if you put in the effort.

My goal in the Marine Corps is to carve my own path and make my own success. When I’m gone, I want to leave behind a legacy and not just a memory.

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms