Marine fulfills dream, graduates
By Cpl. Bridget M. Keane
| Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego | May 21, 2013
SAN DIEGO --
Pfc. Fred Edgar Trujillo, Platoon 1067, Company D, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, always took initiative while growing up and was more mature than his peers. The 23-year-old Fullerton, Calif. native was an only child raised by his mother until the age of 11, when she remarried his biological father. Less than five years later, his parents were divorced again. Trujillo’s mother was left to raise three children on her own.
Witnessing the sacrifices and hardships of being a single parent, Trujillo felt obligated to step up and provide for his mother and two younger siblings.
“I took over being the father figure in my family,” said Trujillo. “Ever since then, I did everything I could to provide for (them).”
The years passed and hardships continued, Trujillo worked nonstop supporting his family. Although he spent most of his time working, the few moments of free time he had he spent racing his car, which resulted in numerous tickets and a bad driving record.
As these issues began to pile up, Trujillo found himself lost. He walked into a local recruiting center and went to an Army recruiter.
“At that time, I would’ve been joining (the military) for the wrong reasons,” explained Trujillo. “It was more of a way for me to run away from my problems.”
Trujillo decided not to enlist and continued to work off his debt, support his family and go to a local community college for a degree in architecture. While he went to school, he worked for a car detailing shop.
“I took everything I learned from the job, dropped out of college and started my own business,” said Trujillo.
Shortly after starting his business, Trujillo began to think about all the possibilities he had in front of him in order to be successful in his future. He went back to the Army recruiter’s office to find out how he could benefit from joining.
“When I went back this time, I started asking questions; I asked questions about the differences between the other branches of services,” said Trujillo. “When he spoke of the Marine Corps, I felt that he was trying to talk me out of it, saying that it was too hard.”
The more the recruiter tried to sway Trujillo’s opinion, the more he wanted to be a Marine. He walked into the Marine Corps recruiting office and immediately felt a difference in the atmosphere.
“Just walking in there I knew I wanted to be a Marine,” said Trujillo. “The recruiter invited me to the first physical training session and I was sold.”
Trujillo began training every day for months, until he received news that he wasn’t going to be able to enlist. Trujillo’s tainted driving record was the one thing standing in his way of becoming a Marine.
His recruiter explained to him how the Marine Corps was strict when it came to the enlisting process and the number of tickets he had would put a hold on how long it would take for him to ship to recruit training.
Disappointed, Trujillo spoke with the Army recruiter, was given a waiver and began the process of enlistment. The night before he was about to swear in, Trujillo had an inspiring dream.
“I dreamt that I was going through boot camp and that I was graduating a Marine,” explained Trujillo. “I knew then that I was making the wrong decision (to join the Army).”
Trujillo went back to his Marine Corps recruiter and explained to him how he couldn’t be a soldier.
“I told him I don’t care how long it takes or how he does it, I was going to be a Marine,” said Trujillo.
His recruiter saw his determination and commitment to start training and began to find a way for Trujillo to enlist.
“I waited, it seemed like forever but I was so focused on becoming a Marine, nothing else mattered,” said Trujillo. “I even sold my car, which I loved, to pay off my traffic tickets. I really felt this was the best way to do something with my life.”
On Aug. 20, 2012, Trujillo took the oath and enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserves. He shipped off to training aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego Feb. 14.
“He’s more mature than the average recruit, you could tell he took on a lot of responsibility back home by the way he carried himself,” explained Staff Sgt. Johnnatan Lopez, senior drill instructor, Plt. 1067, Co. D, 1st RTBn. “He was very determined and focused.”
Trujillo’s mature demeanor was noticed by his drill instructors; however they also noticed his concerns for his family back home.
During training, Trujillo received a letter stating his mother was going into surgery. Although he was used to his mother going in for routine surgeries, he immediately became uncomfortable because he wasn’t there with his family.
“I kept thinking about my younger brother and sister and what would happen to them if something went wrong with my mom,” said Trujillo. “I wanted to quit training.”
Trujillo received a phone call home and was put at ease by his mother’s voice and three words, “Everything was okay.”
Satisfied with his situation at home, Trujillo continued to push through training, learning about his mental and physical abilities. He now holds the title “Marine”, the title that he was determined to earn, despite the obstacles placed in front of him.