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Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego

Youngest of seven siblings intends to earn BA in USMC

By Sgt. Marino II | Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego | July 18, 2014

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Recruit Esteban AldereteGonzalez, Platoon 3201, India Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, washes his gas mask after completing the Confidence Chamber at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., July 14. AldereteGonzalez is a Fonatana, Calif., native and was recruited out of Recruiting Substation Fonatana, Calif.

Recruit Esteban AldereteGonzalez, Platoon 3201, India Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, washes his gas mask after completing the Confidence Chamber at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., July 14. AldereteGonzalez is a Fonatana, Calif., native and was recruited out of Recruiting Substation Fonatana, Calif. (Photo by Sgt. Walter Marino II)


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Recruit Esteban AldereteGonzalez, Platoon 3201, India Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, stands in formation after completing the Confidence Chamber at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., July 14. AldereteGonzalez is a Fonatana, Calif., native and was recruited out of Recruiting Substation Fonatana, Calif.

Recruit Esteban AldereteGonzalez, Platoon 3201, India Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, stands in formation after completing the Confidence Chamber at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., July 14. AldereteGonzalez is a Fonatana, Calif., native and was recruited out of Recruiting Substation Fonatana, Calif. (Photo by Sgt. Walter D. Marino II)


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San Diego --

For many, the confidence chamber, where recruits are exposed to chlorobenzylidene malonitrile, a non-lethal tear gas, is a horribly terrifying experience.  

But for Recruit Esteban AldereteGonzalez, Platoon 3201, India Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, it was just another challenge in his goal of becoming a United States Marine.

“A lot of people panicked in the confidence chamber and started breathing in the air,” said the Fontana, Calif. native. “I just stayed calm and when I needed a breath of air, breathed through my camouflage utilities.”

AldereteGonzalez is the youngest of seven siblings and has the dream of being the first college graduate in his family.

He explained the desire for his goal is larger than anything he could experience in recruit training.

 He expressed that a motivational factor for him is the fact his parents worked very hard to move their family from Mexico to the United States in order to give him and his siblings better opportunities.

AldereteGonzalez said his parents struggled with obtaining citizenship, learning English and providing for seven children.

“My parents are kind of disappointed that they came here so that we could do better, and some of my brothers just kind of wasted the opportunity. I’m going to try and make it so it wasn’t a waste of their time,” said the 18-year-old. “My parents are hoping that I will be the first of their children to actually be successful like the American dream, what they came here for.”

The confidence chamber is the day prior to the Crucible, a 54-hour long training exercise that challenges recruits both physically and mentally. If AldereteGonzalez can finish the Crucible, he will be a Marine and closer to his ultimate dream of earning a bachelor’s degree.

However, the Crucible is no easy feat. It consists of more than 24 obstacles and 42 miles of hiking, all while under sleep and food deprivation simulating a combat environment.

AldereteGonzalez admitted he was nervous about the lack of food and sleep, but says he is healthy and there should be no reason why he can’t complete the challenge.

“I’ve wanted to be a Marine since middle school, and I’m not going home without my eagle, globe and anchor,” said AldereteGonzalez

With only 11 training days left until graduation, AldereteGonzalez is confident he will soon be a Marine and can begin his education.

“I plan on going to school while I’m in the Marine Corps and finishing my degree before I get out,” said AldereteGonzalez

If all goes well, the eldest of the seven siblings plans on attending her little brother’s graduation.

“He’s the youngest and has almost been like my child. He’s always wanted to join the military, and I knew he was meant for it because of his good attitude,” said Alejandra AldereteGonzalez. “I’m very, very proud of him.”



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