MCRD San Diego --
He was the first in his family to join the military and since his enlistment two of his siblings have followed his footsteps. Sgt. Juan E. Duque, senior drill instructor, Platoon 1041, Company C, says he was a role model for his younger brother and older sister who have both joined the service.
“My sister definitely joined because I pushed her,” said Duque, a Medellin, Columbia native. “My brother played the same sports as me and looked up to me as well. He joined right after high school.”
Now a drill instructor, Duque has transformed his position as family role model to a role model for a recruit platoon. Although the number of people is higher, it appears Duque is leaving a lasting positive impression on the recruits aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, Nov. 2.
After selecting Recruit Troy G. Redman, Plt. 1041, as the guide, Duque has pulled him aside numerous times to give Redman advice on leadership and how to be a role model to the other recruits.
Redman explained that because he is only 18 years old many of the other recruits are older than him and it was stressful to try and lead them.
“My senior (drill instructor) is a role model for me. He told me that they all look at me and the recruits are going to do what I do,” said Redman. “He told me that instead of doing things for myself it’s more about working with and pushing the recruits.”
During his drill instructing career Duque has had three honor platoons, received the Band of Brothers Award three times, awarded two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals and was recently voted Moral Leader for his current cycle of recruits.
The respect doesn’t end in the recruit’s eyes, fellow drill instructors also feel Duque is an excellent leader who always puts taking care of fellow Marines first.
“He takes care of his team,” said Staff Sgt. Michael A. Garcia, chief drill instructor, Co. C. “He sends them home to see their families as much as possible. He has Marines that want to work for him because of who he is and not just because they have to.”
Garcia explained Duque regards honesty as a very important quality and sets the right example by his own actions, but also by giving honest opinion of his fellow drill instructors.
“He gives an honest assessment on what fellow drill instructors need to improve on,” said Garcia. “A big part of being a senior drill instructor is training the Marines under you as well as the recruits. Recruits look up to him because he always sets the example of what a Marine is.”
Duque said making Marines had to do with his desire to leave his thumbprint in the Marine Corps.
“I wanted to instill good morals that I feel I was taught by my leadership during my life in the Corps,” said Duque.
Duque explained that after eight cycles of recruits, he has learned just how much influence a drill instructor can have not only in his recruits but fellow Marines as well.
“It’s a huge responsibility,” said Duque. “You see how recruits are inspired by your actions and how you treat your fellow drill instructors.”
Duque said that’s why he can’t have a negative attitude.
“If I had a negative attitude it would reflect on the recruits,” said the 26-year-old Duque.
Although Duque says he joined the Corps to find purpose it appears after finding it, the tables have turned. He not only inspires Marines in the making, but fellow Marines as well.