News: A leader of Marines
Story by Cpl. Laura Gauna
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - As a sergeant of Marines, a lot is expected from you. Just going through the motions was never Sgt. Frank S. Villanueva’s intentions and doing the minimum does not cut it in his mind.
Since childhood, Villanueva, a 29-year-old native of Phoenix, knew he was going to be a Marine.
“My uncle would tell me stories of when he was in the Marine Corps,” said Villanueva, staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge, Corporals Course, Combat Logistics Regiment 17, 1st Marine Logistics Group. “He told me it was challenging and I liked that.”
He became a bulk fuel specialist and over the last 10 years he has traveled to more than 20 different countries, including Greece, Spain, Turkey, Kuwait, Iraq, Africa, Afghanistan, Jordan, and Israel.
Villanueva has deployed four times, twice with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, once to Africa as part of a small security unit, and recently to Afghanistan in 2011.
“On each deployment I learned so much about my job,” said Villanueva. “Seeing the different cultures helped me realize how good we have it here and helped me grow and appreciate life more.”
During his deployment to Djibouti in 2003, he witnessed things that he still remembers today.
“There was just so much trash everywhere,” he recalled. “I saw kids playing in it, with no shoes. It was just unfortunate for them to live in all that. I never want my kid to ever go through that. It gives me the motivation to work hard and keep myself and my family away from that situation.”
Throughout his career he has always stuck to a single thought, "don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk."
“I’ve seen Marines be hypocrites and I never wanted to be that way,” said Villanueva. “I tell myself and my Marines to not just say it but live it. I really try to live by that motto.”
Now, Villanueva is in charge of Corporals Course and he enjoys the fact that he can pass on the leadership skills he has acquired throughout the years.
“Seeing them grow before my eyes is amazing,” adds Villanueva. “A lot come here not knowing much and then we bestow all this knowledge on them and their eyes open wide and they say, ‘Wow, I didn’t know this is how we do this and that.’ I really enjoy it.”
He has completed more than 73 hours of training, teaching each Marine everything from sword manual to how to counsel junior Marines.
“We teach them all they need to know to be a corporal,” said Villanueva. “What I enjoy the most is hearing the Marines say thank you for helping them grow as a corporal.”
The Marine Corps is in his blood and he hopes to continue his journey for another 10 years, with his wife Monique and son Frankie by his side.
“I love everything about (the Marine Corps),” he adds. “The camaraderie and being able to see different personalities from different people, from different places and backgrounds is a great thing. I feel like it helped me become a better man, the man I am today.”