News: Marine continues family legacy
Story by Cpl. Pedro Cardenas
MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif. - For some children their father is their role model while growing up. Though some may try to emulate their morals and values, few decide to continue in the family business.
Pfc. Frederick M. Padilla Jr., Platoon 1046, Company C, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, is following in his father’s footsteps while finding his own path.
Padilla grew up in the military lifestyle. His grandfather was an Air Force career officer, his uncle is a retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Frank J. Padilla and his father is Maj. Gen. Frederick M. Padilla, director of operations, Plans, Policies and Operations, Headquarters Marine Corps. His father was the only Marine in the family. However, even with his family’s military background, Padilla did not want to join the military at first.
“I wanted to see if I could do something other than what my dad did,” said 22-year-old Padilla.
According to Padilla, he began boxing at the age of 13 as a hobby but wanted to try his luck and become a professional boxer. He soon realized he was not going to earn a living boxing and decided to make a career change.
“My father and my uncle told me to give the military a shot,” said Padilla, a native of Oxnard, Calif. “I was going the wrong path and not making anything out of myself.”
He met with a recruiter and enlisted in the Marine Corps. Padilla shipped off to recruit training Oct. 28 to follow his father’s footsteps, an enormous task by any measure.
“It definitely sets the bar high because he is passionate and loves the Marine Corps,” said Padilla. “I admire that and it gives me someone to emulate.”
For Padilla, recruit training was an adjustment. He was surrounded by younger recruits who talked about their families and hometowns. Padilla wanted to create his own luck, which is why he did not want anyone to know his father’s rank. He did not want to give anyone any reason to treat him differently.
“He worked his way up to become one of the squad leaders but nobody knew who his father was,” said Sgt. Jason A. Sabater, senior drill instructor, a native of Vallejo, Calif. “He wants to create his own path and that says a lot about him.”
During recruit training, Padilla had received numerous letters of encouragement from his father. According to Padilla, his father sent him encouraging messages of pride and guidance. Padilla has a huge unique perspective over his peers. His father is a Marine who can guide him professionally but most importantly give him the fatherly advice to steer him in the right direction as a person.
“I want to be a good man, a good citizen and a good Marine like my father,” said Padilla. “He is someone I can go to for guidance, in any matter, because he is my father and fellow Marine.”
According to Sabater, Padilla is a natural leader. Not only because of his individual qualities, such as initiative and decisiveness, but also because of the foundation that comes along with being the son of a Marine.
“There is definitely pressure but I like it because it keeps me straight. It’s not just me messing up, I’m a direct reflection of him,” said Padilla. “I have his name and I want to make him proud but, at the same time, I want to make my own path.”
Padilla will attend the School of Infantry located at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., to become an infantryman. He also plans to start college once his training is complete and follow in his father’s footsteps.
“I want to become an officer and be like him,” said Padilla. “He is not only a great Marine but also a great father.”