BY: BRAULIS PIMENTEL
Joining the US Army at the age of 17, in the summer of 1979, veteran Jose Marrero reflects on his 23 years of service.
Being raised by a single mother of 6, Marrero wanted a better life for not just him but his mother as well. Upon joining the military, Marrero lived in poverty and didn’t have enough money for college and didn’t know where life was going to take him.
“It changed my life,” Marrero said, “I lived in a town where you would either go to college after high school or you would be in the streets.”
While growing up, Marrero was surrounded by friends and other teenagers that would sell drugs to make money for their families. At one point, one of Marrero’s closest friends flashed money in his face telling him to join him so he could finally get some nice clothes. However, Marrero knew that there had to be another way to get a better lifestyle.
The Army was a path that completely turned Marrero’s life around.
“It made me the man I am today, it made me grow up very quickly, making me a responsible man and honorable to this country,” Marrero said.
Starting from the very bottom as a rookie, Marrero disciplined himself to work towards becoming a Drill Sergeant. However, the task wasn’t easy.
“I set a goal and would make many sacrifices to get to where I wanted to be, it took a lot of motivation on days where I wanted to throw in the white towel. Hard work, sacrifice, and dedication to duty is what got me to the next level,” Marrero said.
Marrero was known as a soldier who exceeded course standards, his dedication and grit came from his passion to serve this country. Through the Army, he was able to provide for his family, get a good education, and change lives. Although being in the military has left him with some life-long medical conditions, he doesn't regret his sacrifice and duty to America.
“If I could join the Army all over again, I would,” Marrero said.