News: New York native, combat veteran retires after 20 years of faithful service
Story by Lance Cpl. Joey Mendez
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - It is always a gloomy day when America’s finest must do without one of its many great Marines. Gunnery Sgt. Joshua W. Raposa of Albany, N.Y. is stepping away after 20 years of faithful service to country and Corps, March 31, 2014.
The proud father of three daughters has sacrificed numerous years away from his family.
He has completed a total of five deployments, to include two separate combat deployments to Iraq with 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, and Afghanistan, with 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion. The Marine Corps took him in and shaped him into the gentleman he is today, and Raposa is now ready to leave and spend more time with his family.
“I look forward to being around my family and kids who are getting older. I will be able to be around them for further adventures in their life that I have missed since becoming a Marine,” said Raposa with a smile. “It is going to be nice that my family and I are not going to worry about going to war again.”
The company gunnery sergeant for Headquarters and Support Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division grew up in Albany, the capital of New York. He bounced around homes at the age of 16 and described his youth as “being the kid from the wrong side of the tracks who made something of himself.”
In response to his teenage years, Raposa decided to become a Marine and left for recruit training at Parris Island, S.C., December 1993. He graduated recruit training and headed to the School of Infantry East in Camp Johnson, N.C. after joining with an infantry option contract.
“I always wanted to be something bigger than myself, something better than what I was. Out of all the services, the Marine Corps spoke to me more,” said Raposa.
During his time in the Marine Corps, he was assigned to Marine Corps Security Forces, in Norfolk, Va., from July of ’94 to Oct ’96. Raposa then reported in to 1st Bn., 5th Marines, as a team leader and intelligence analyst, from October ’96 to June 2001.
The war-hardened veteran returned to the yellow foot prints of Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C. as a 1st Recruit Training Battalion drill instructor after serving with the Marines of 1st Bn., 5th Marines.
“One of my most proud moments was being a drill instructor and walking my Marines across the parade deck,” said Raposa.
The former drill instructor was then called upon to become a sergeant instructor and create officers at Officer Candidates School at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.
After forming new commissioned officers, the sergeant instructor received orders to his final unit, 2nd Bn., 2nd Marines.
Raposa has earned several personal medals and awards during his time in the Marine Corps which include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon with one gold star in lieu of second award, a Drill Instructor Ribbon and a Humanitarian Service Medal.
While with the battalion, the decorated war hero served as the substance abuse counseling officer, deputy family readiness officer and the Headquarters and Support Company, company gunnery sergeant.
Leaving the Marine Corps won’t be easy for Raposa. He has been in since the age of 19 and has grown close bonds with his brothers-in-arms.
“I’m going to miss the camaraderie of being with Marines; Marines are another part of my family. Teaching and mentoring is something I have prided myself on throughout the years,” said Raposa.
Raposa has one final piece of advice for Marines as he prepares to leave the Marine Corps.
“Be humble enough to continue to learn and grow as an individual. Try to learn something new every day and continue to affect younger Marines in a positive way,” said Raposa. “Something I followed was, know that a Marine will follow you because of your rank, but a Marine will follow you to the end of the world if you take care of him.”