Twentynine Palms -- Gunnery Sgt. Guillermo Fuentes, administrative chief, 7th Marine Regiment, a native of Ensenada, Mexico, enjoys reading ancient literature and is currently writing a self-improvement book on the cultural limitations we set for ourselves.
> I was born in Ensenada, Mexico, and I grew up there until I was 11. My family immigrated to the United States and we settled in Banning, Calif.
> I come from a very humble background; both my parents were farm workers in Mexico.
> I enlisted in the Marine Corps for multiple reasons. The first was the financial stand-point. I didn’t want to be over my head in debt and there weren’t a lot of options for me to fund my education.
> I spoke to the Marine Corps recruiter and he explained to me that the Marine Corps is a family and Marines are a group of people who come together for a purpose that is for a greater good. That’s what attracted me even more.
> The recruiter also explained to me that Marines consider themselves to be the best at everything they do and I’ve always had that inclination to be the best and do the right thing.
> I’ve been in the Marine Corps for nearly 12 years now.
> When I have off-time, I like to spend it with my family, that’s my No.1 pastime. I like playing with my kids, listening to them.
> I have three kids, a 9-year-old, a 6-year-old and a 2-month-old. I think what the Marine Corps taught me in regard to parenting is that there’s going to be different approaches to every situation; the leadership aspect comes in even when deciding where to go. It also taught me to sit back and go under my wife’s command a little bit.
My family has always supported me, from day one when I decided I wanted to be a Marine, and even now. Whatever achievements I accomplish they’re always by my side and supportive of me.
> I enjoy reading, especially ancient literature like “The Iliad” by Homer and “Apology” by Plato. I think there’s so much to learn from documents that were written centuries ago but are still relevant today.
>I wasn’t a reader as a kid or even through high school. What got me into reading was when I was assigned a book by one of my gunnery sergeants as a young Marine.
It wasn’t Marine Corps-related; it was something that he thought would be beneficial to me. The book was called “Who Moved My Cheese?” [by Spencer Johnson] and from that point on, I enjoyed reading.
> I like the way books can relay a message to you the first time you read them and then depending on what’s going on in your life, you can re-read them and they can mean something completely different.
> Another reason is the emotion words can evoke in you. You may read something and it makes you feel a certain way and then it changes your entire perspective for that day, year or perhaps your entire life.
> I stick mainly to books that are factual, about psychology or self-improvement.
> I’m in the process of writing a book capturing the cultural limits we set on ourselves because of where we come from. It’s a change in perspective, like in my case, I migrated to the United States and thought, “wow what a deal,” and I have not taken that for granted.
> I think that definitely plays a part in my drive in wanting to do better in every aspect of life.
> One thing that I have learned with time is the people in your environment definitely make a difference. Despite all the hardships that I had growing up, there were a lot of people in my community that made it a pleasure to live there, because we’re all together and going through the same thing.
> Like the Marine Corps, you all go through the same thing and it’s not that comfortable, but it builds camaraderie and it gives a sense of family where we can depend on each other.
> Before 7th Marine Regiment, I was part of Western Recruiting Region in Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego and before that I was part of 3rd Recruit Training Battalion in MCRD San Diego as a drill instructor.
> While I was on the drill field, the thing I enjoyed most was the type of camaraderie there is between other drill instructors.
> Out of all my duty stations, I would say Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 367 [Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii] stood out to me the most because it’s where I felt I got the most Marine Corps experience.
> Having deployed with them to Afghanistan, I saw what we do, why we do it and how.
> I began to see why you needed a wrench turner and a pilot. It’s all to support the Ground Combat Element and it painted the entire Marine Corps picture for me.
> What I’ve learned in my time in the Marine Corps is that one person can make a difference.
> You have to take responsibility of what you can control and create an environment that makes you want to be there and be better.
> Everyone was born to win, and everyone has a fighting chance. So for those who think that they are done; it’s never done, there’s always hope for every situation.