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    24th MEU Marine sustains the transformation from Australia to the United States

    24th MEU Marine sustains the transformation from Australia to the United States

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Devin Nichols | Cpl. Francis J. de Souza, a tactical switchboard operator with the 24th Marine...... read more read more

    USS IWO JIMA, AT SEA

    09.17.2014

    Story by Sgt. Devin Nichols 

    24th Marine Expeditionary Unit

    USS IWO JIMA, At sea - In the movie “Independence Day,” there is a scene where Will Smith’s character, playing the role of a Marine fighter pilot, looks over at his fellow pilot in the heat of a mission and yells, “Put your mask back on. That’s an order, Marine!”

    The average individual might glance over this short, simple quote, but a then 12-year-old named Francis J. de Souza heard it as a much more important message. He looked at his mother and said, “I will be a United States Marine one day.”

    “When I saw that scene and I heard him call his buddy a Marine, just the way he addressed him and didn’t call him a soldier gave me interest,” said de Souza, an Auckland, New Zealand, native. “The Marine uniform has always interested me, and I always have been fascinated by it.”

    De Souza was born in New Zealand, and in his life he has lived in Australia, Brazil, France and finally moved to the United States less than a decade ago. He went to college and earned an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice at McCann’s School of Business and Technology in search of a way to serve and protect.

    “I’d been in the U.S. for nine years and attended college to become a police officer,” said de Souza. “I wanted to defend this country in some way. I looked at my mother and told her I can’t join the police force right now because of all of these schools I would have to attend … ‘How do you feel about me becoming a Marine?’”

    She told me, “That would be incredible if you can do that.”

    After his decision, he took the first and possibly the hardest step, and spoke to a Marine Corps recruiter.

    “I called a recruiter and told him that I am interested,” said de Souza. “It took only two weeks for me to start the process to go to Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island.”

    When de Souza was asked what it felt like to earn the title of United States Marine, he replied, “I cried … it was my first time being a part of something and to serve a country. When they had the United States flag up and were playing the national anthem, I just felt honored to serve.

    “My senior drill instructor came up to me and said, ‘well-done de Souza,’ and to me that was huge. It was an incredible feeling. I could have served in Australia, New Zealand, Brazil or France, but I wanted to serve the United States because of the patriotism and fighting spirit of the American people.”

    “Sometimes I will look back at that time I saw that film, it comes from a random sound or sight, and to this day it gives me chills and will make me tear up because being a part of a family that moved a lot to fully dedicating myself to the finest fighting force in the world,” said de Souza.

    From a simple statement to his mother at the age of 12 until today, de Souza has made successfully made the transition and been engrained with the Marine Corps values of honor, courage and commitment.

    De Souza is a corporal and tactical switchboard operator with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s Command Element currently participating in Amphibious Ready Group/Marine Expeditionary Unit Exercise in preparation for a deployment at the end of the year.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 09.17.2014
    Date Posted: 09.17.2014 19:43
    Story ID: 142478
    Location: USS IWO JIMA, AT SEA
    Hometown: AUCKLAND, AUK, NZ

    Podcast Hits: 0

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