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Capt. Sheik Faruk, Combat Center Aide-De-Camp, native of Georgetown, Guyana, has served in his current billet for a year. His military occupational specialty is an engineer officer. As a child, he learned a lot of his engineering skills from his father and hopes to one day take over the family business. (Official Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Medina Ayala-Lo/Released)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Medina Ayala-Lo

What I’ve Learned: Sheik Faruk

28 May 2015 | Lance Cpl. Medina Ayala-Lo Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

I was born in Georgetown, Guyana but I moved to Queens Village, [N.Y.] when I was 5 years old.

I have two older brothers and a younger brother. We’re pretty close.

I was the first person to join the military in my family. I wasn’t ready for college so I decided to join the military right after high school.

I was a year away from graduating high school and I was walking home one day when I saw the armed forces sign. I looked in the offices and no one looked at me so I kept on walking. I passed all the other branches and when I finally got to the Marine Corps office, the recruiter was the only one who came and greeted me. I signed up pretty much that day.

The reason I like boxing is because two people go in the ring and they duke it out. You can see the heart and courage it takes to stay in the ring and stay in each round. The other part I like about boxing is the training you have to go through to prepare for it.

I relate boxing to how my Marine Corps career has been. I started off as a private and I gradually worked my way up.
What I’ve learned from boxing and what I’ve learned throughout my career is that nothing beats hard work.

When I joined the Marine Corps in 2002, all we did for exercise was run. Then CrossFit came around. I enjoy the diversity found in CrossFit and that it’s ever changing.
I got into CrossFit about six years ago and I’ve competed in a few tournaments.

I participate mostly for fun. When I was training, we would do two work outs a day.

I also enjoy playing basketball. I played all throughout elementary school, middle school and high school.

Growing up in Queens, basketball was just one of the things you did. My dad taught me how to play and he put a basketball court in the backyard.

When I joined, I was enlisted but after my first contract I decided to commission.

I met a chief warrant officer who mentored me and pointed me in the right direction. I wanted to be like him. I finished up my four years, left the Marine Corps for two years, got my degree, and then went to Officer Candidate School.

I think one of the things that made me really want to be an officer was when I received a combat meritorious promotion from Brig. Gen. Kramlich in 2004. I had a few minutes to speak with him and it changed what I wanted to do in the Marine Corps. I would say that that moment was one of the reasons I became an officer. He even wrote my letter of recommendation to commission.

On the enlisted side you’re very much focused on your job and as an officer, you focus more on the bigger picture. I’ve been fortunate enough in the six years that I’ve been an officer to have held really good billets that have ultimately prepared me to be a better officer.

I’ve been Aide-De-Camp to the general for a full year.

I think my previous billets have taught me how to look for the finer details in things and juggle multiple tasks at once. I’ve also learned to use every minute off the day for something. If you’re just standing around, you’re not being proactive enough and something is going to slip by.

Something that I’ll take with me from being in this position is the ability to communicate and work with all different ranks.

My dad is a general construction guy who owns his own business. Growing up, I spent a lot of time going to work with my dad, helping him out and learning construction. When I first joined, I became a heavy equipment operator and then when I became an officer, the logical choice seemed to be to become an engineer.

Going to job sites with my dad prepared me for the tasks I’ve had to perform while in the Marine Corps. Shadowing my dad helped me learn multiple things and understand engineering a little bit better than my peers, who had no engineering background. My dad thinks it’s pretty nice that I’ve stayed within the family business.

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms