MONTE VISTA— Less than one percent of men and women will ever have the honor to call themselves United States Marines. In schools of 100 graduating seniors or less it is not uncommon for only one individual to meet the physical and mental demands of a rigorous application process to become a Marine Corps recruit. Monte Vista High School is defying that statistic.
The class of 2019 has 64 seniors and four of the students will ship off to boot camp after graduation. “It’s reasonable to not find one person who is qualified, somebody whose heart and mentality is in the right place and someone who we would like to welcome into our family, helping to take on that great challenge of defending the country,” said Sergeant Andres Bustos of Marine Corps Recruiting.
“All in all (from Monte Vista’s 64 seniors) we have four. That is an extremely higher number than what we could have anticipated... We’re extremely proud of them,” said Bustos.
The Marine Corps practice the core values of honor, courage and commitment. Bustos believes that a big credit should go to the Monte Vista School District for instilling the same ideology in its students. “It’s about being the very best— being better than what you were yesterday.”
In addition to the four young recruits, Monte Vista High School graduate Trysten Ogden was recently welcomed back from his 13 weeks of boot camp and is now a private in the United States Marines. Another, Andrew Martinez, is currently completing his training.
I’m “joining the Marine Corps because of a sense of patriotism, and the lifestyle has always appealed to me. The travel, the sense of brotherhood, community and the challenge definitely influenced me to join the Marines over other branches. We have the longest and hardest training especially for the job I want to go into, which is infantry. It is has the highest requirements for everything. It would be easier to state reasons to not join the military. I can’t find a single negative thing about joining. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” said Ogden.
Ogden shared that his time in boot camp was challenging, but ultimately personally rewarding. “It’s a great sense of accomplishment to achieve something you didn’t think you could do. You begin to realize that the only real barriers to success are what we impose on ourselves.”
He also emphasized that the sense of community and brotherhood was strong in the Marine Corps. “We help each other out. Even people I don’t especially care for if they were to call me up right now that they needed help I would go, because they are my brothers,” he said.
This sense of belonging is experienced from the beginning of the application process. The four recruits— Reyes Nevares, Nicholas Pieper, Zachary Nevaro and Brantley Webster— all agree that the value of camaraderie is something they have already experienced. In poolee functions, which are designed to give recruits experience and a heads up in leadership, there have been situations in which they check up on each other and offer assistance.
They stated that the United States Marines was the organization that offered them more than just feeling like a number during the recruitment process, which factored in their decision to sign the papers to join.
The recruits all have bright futures planned ahead of them. In their midst there are aspiring CIA agents, Pentagon officials, chemists, history teachers and park rangers. The leadership skills and financial assistance provided by the Corps will help the recruits to achieve these goals.
“The interview process to be selected to become a United States Marine is very lengthy. The requirements are not only physical, but the mental attitude as well. It takes a recruiter awhile to figure out if this is someone they want on their team. Is this somebody that I would trust to have my back in any kind of situation?
“The common aspect I would say, to put it into a word, that this entire group has, and that the Marines look for— is selflessness. There’s a desire to help others that are struggling beyond yourself and put yourself second before somebody else who is in that need of help,” said Bustos.