Maricopa has two new U.S. Marines back home after graduation and eager to serve their country. Stationed at the Marine Corps Recruitment Depot in San Diego, California, Pvt. Daniel Rojas and Pvt. Oswaldo Sanchez graduated from boot camp Friday and made the rounds in town to visit some of the people that made their career possible.
Graduating from Maricopa High School in 2018, Daniel Rojas, 19, stopped by to see some of his old teachers as well as kids in the JROTC program. Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Rojas has done much of his growing up in Arizona, moving to the state when he was 6 years old.
“I decided I wanted to join the Marine Corps to help me basically better my future in becoming a DEA agent later on,” Rojas said. “I just want to serve my country and make sure that I keep this country safe for not only my family but everybody else.”
Oswaldo Sanchez, 22, is a native Arizonan who has lived in Maricopa since the early 2000s. Attending Casa Grande Union High School and not finishing, Sanchez had a different path before joining the Marines. Working as a truck driver, Sanchez enjoyed the money but did not feel like he had a fulfilling life.
Sanchez said he first felt interest in the Marines when a cousin enlisted around 2010. After seeing his transformation and how sharp he looked in his uniform, Sanchez knew that was what he wanted to do.
“I wanted the challenge and I didn’t like where I was at in life. I lived a comfortable life,” Sanchez said. “I started doing some research into the Marine Corps, you know, found out that’s the branch I wanted to enlist with. So, I went back to online high school and got my diploma.”
MHS Recruiting Sgt. Tylor Henson accompanied the men on their trip home and has seen their transformation.
“Some of the things that they went through in boot camp was a lot of leadership training, physical training and mental training to prepare them for what they’re going to go through later on in their Marine Corps careers,” Henson said. “When they get back, they usually stand a little bit taller and have a little bit more respect for everybody. Hold themselves to a higher standard like we see the Marines as.”
When asked what advice they would give to young people interested in the U.S. Armed Forces, both Marines agreed quitting isn’t an answer, and neither is underestimating yourself.
“Don’t quit. Never quit. Quitting is not an option,” Sanchez said. “Like, once you get there, you gotta make it out; you gotta make it through. It’s a one-way tunnel.”
Rojas agreed and stated, “Once you make it out, you just have that feeling of ‘I just accomplished something that most of the population can’t even do,’ and it just makes you feel like you have it. It’s that pride of the Marine Corps.”