Twentynine Palms -- >> I grew up in the Bay Area north of San Francisco before moving to Boulder Creek, Ariz., where I played baseball and later attended Arizona State University to study business communication.
>> I left college at age 19 because I wanted to be able to serve my country. I was able-bodied and didn’t want to miss my opportunity or look back and regret that I never got to serve. I had four to six years to serve my country just like any other great American.
>> Baseball was a big part of my life going through high school. Being coached by Coach McDonald back in Boulder Creek instilled a lot of commitment in me and I learned values that were similar to the Marine Corps. Having him as my coach and mentor at a young age set me on the right path.
>> Baseball was hugely important to me throughout high school and college, but after going through three hernia surgeries, I had to take a break. Now, I spend my time lifting weights and going to the gym.
>> One of the best benefits the Marine Corps offers is the opportunity to travel. I was able to go to Gora Marza, Afghanistan, for my first deployment. During my second deployment, I was a part of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, which brought me into the Mediterranean Sea. I got to visit many different ports out there, including Africa and Iraq. I went to places I never thought I’d be able to go.
>> It’s pretty amazing being able to stand at a place where you never thought you’d be and look back to where you were a couple years prior.
>> I’m a rifleman. I have served as a team leader and a squad leader but I’ve also been able to work as a company clerk and see a different perspective of the Marine Corps compared to the “grunt” side. As a clerk, I made sure Marines were trained and we were functioning from an operations perspective.
>> The Marine Corps has definitely turned me into the man I am today. Fighting the fight in Afghanistan and training with my brothers day in and day out changed me. The experiences you go through while being away from home and friends can definitely get you out of your comfort zone. I’m going to take these experiences away from the Marine Corps, and in the future, tell all the stories to my kids.
>> Master Sgt. [Travis] Madden was my company gunny back in 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines. He was definitely a mentor and father figure to me. He really taught me how to do my job in a way that I could understand with my young age and experience in the Marine Corps. When I left 3/9, he came to [Tactical Training Exercise Control Group.] Joining him out here was quite the coincidence. He took me under his wing and was able to help me understand how TTECG processes. If it weren’t for him, I know my Marine Corps experience would have been much different.
>> Being a coyote helps me see the bigger picture of how Marines fight in a [Marine Air Ground Task Force]. Being able to see it from a different perspective really opens your mind.
>> When you’re training as a rifleman, everything seems so fast and you have to make those split-second decisions. After watching Marines train over and over again from an outsider’s perspective, you’re able to catch the common mistakes an everyday rifleman or squad leader makes. Being a coyote really helps bring all that knowledge together.
>> I’ve gathered honor, courage and commitment over the past five and a half years. When I get out, I’m going to take those core values and the brotherhood I’ve been a part of and use them in everyday life. Whether it’s in an interview, school or the workplace, those values carry over.
>> I think the transition from the Marine Corps to civilian life isn’t going to be too difficult because of the resources in place. The Marine Corps has been doing a great job at preparing me for the transition.
>> I want to finish my business communications degree. I’m looking to finish at either Arizona State University or San Diego State University. With hard work and dedication, I know I’m going to succeed in getting that degree. Finding the right job will hopefully come easily after that.
>> Honing your leadership skills is something valuable the Marine Corps has taught me. I’ve watched over my Marines as a team leader and a squad leader. The mindset definitely carries over to business.
>> My girlfriend, Crysta, is amazing. She’s on her way to becoming a veterinarian technician and is obsessed with animals. She’s beautiful and has beautiful soul. I couldn’t be happier when I’m with her and having her along for the journey is great.
>> I love California, but I don’t plan on staying in one place for a long time. I’d rather travel and meet new people. I often put myself in situations where I test my comfort level.
>> Every Marine serving with TTECG has a tough job. Our main goal is to focus on the Marines’ training at hand. We do it for more than just ourselves. We do it for the Marine Corps as a whole.
>> I know it’s a tough job but I’m glad I came out here to get this kind of experience. Knowing we can change one Marine’s perspective or help them improve is why we get up every day. The training Marines receive at [the Combat Center] could potentially save their lives out on the battlefield. I know that helps us sleep at night.