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    Delta Company Marine Immigrates to America and Earns Title

    Delta Company Marine Immigrates to America and Earns Title

    Photo By Sgt. Angelica Annastas | Private Alphard V. Reyes, Delta Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, walks with...... read more read more



    Story by Cpl. Angelica Annastas 

    Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego

    Although immigrating to America was only one of the many challenges he came across, one recruit didn’t let the difficulties in life and recruit training keep him down.
    Private Alphard V. Reyes, Delta Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, traveled a long way from his home in the city of Davao, Philippines. He grew up with a big family that consisted of two sisters and five brothers.
    Growing up was difficult for Reyes because while his parents were always working, they never got away from financial troubles.
    “We had to make ends meet every day,” said Reyes. “I would always be doing chores or tending to my brothers and sister, especially when my parents worked late.”
    Reyes’ mother was a teacher for a couple of years and then became a medical student to pursue her career in the medical field, and his father was a sea merchant who was gone for long periods of time.
    “There was an older woman who was friends with my mom who would look after us sometimes,” said Reyes. “Other than that, I would make sure to take care of my siblings.”
    When Reyes’ father was injured, their lives got more difficult.
    “He had to get surgery, but the insurance didn’t cover it because they claimed it was his fault,” said Reyes. “Because of my father’s injury, it was difficult for him to find a job, which used up all of our finances. That was when we hit a recession.”
    It got to the point where Reyes and his family would have to ration food throughout the day.
    “We would buy fish in the morning, skin it for breakfast, use the meat for lunch and boil what was left for dinner,” said Reyes. “We had to do that for about four years.”
    Reyes learned to get through each day with his family, and he found the desire to follow in his mother’s footsteps.
    “At a young age I started reading my mother’s medical books,” said Reyes. “We have a high educational standard that we hold ourselves to. We were taught if you work hard in your studies, you can get a great career out of it.”
    In the Philippines, Reyes was given the opportunity to start school early when he passed a knowledge test, which allowed him to start 1st grade at five years old.
    “I graduated high school at 15 years old,” said Reyes. “I started school early and graduated pretty early, and then I went to college.”
    Reyes’ mother picked a medical career path for him, which he was comfortable with because of his mother’s influence. He attended college for only two years until his family left for America when he was 17 years old.
    “My mom and older brother left before us because we didn’t have the money to travel all at once,” said Reyes. “The rest of my family and I left the Philippines three years after my mom.”
    After settling in a new country, Reyes and his little brother found jobs at Dairy Queen. It gave Reyes something to do, but he wanted something more, so he decided to enlist in the military.
    He originally tried joining the Navy because of the medical field, but it didn’t work out for him. During this time, his little brother started the process to enlist in the Marine Corps, which sparked his interest. He decided he would think about joining the Marine Corps.
    To help him make his decision, Reyes talked to his older brother who is in the Army.
    “I asked him what he thought about the Marines, and he said they were good,” said Reyes. “The Marines train with the Army at the [military occupational specialty school] he attended, and he said he was impressed with them. He liked the way they function.”
    Talking to his older brother was enough for Reyes to decide to try joining the Marine Corps.
    “I called my little brother’s recruiter and told him I was hoping he could give me the same chance,” said Reyes. “He said, ‘Yeah!’ He came the next day and we started talking about it. I never had to go to the [recruiting substation] because he always came to me.”
    After entering the Delayed Entry Program, Reyes decided he wanted to leave as early as possible.
    “My recruiter wanted me to wait so he could get me a good job, but I told him what I wanted,” said Reyes. “He said he would work on it. I remember it being the 4th of July weekend, and he called me and asked if I wouldn’t mind leaving the next day. I told him, ‘Yeah!’ So that’s what happened.”
    Reyes started in India Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, but was dropped during the initial strength test because of a foot injury. He was placed in the Medical Rehabilitation Platoon for a week until he picked up with Delta Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion.
    “In the first few weeks I thought, ‘What the heck did I sign up for?’ said Reyes. “I would go to sleep feeling like an absolute failure because when you mess something up they yell at you. I have that personality where I beat myself up for a simple mistake, like a perfectionist mindset.”
    As training continued, Reyes realized how mentally and physically difficult each day was.
    “I almost got dropped during swim week because I failed passing the test the first two tries, and I realized how hard it was to swim with boots,” said Reyes. “I was surprised because I swam with my head under the water. You’re not supposed to do that here, but that’s how we were taught in the Philippines because we dive and jump off of seaports.”
    After failing twice, Reyes’ senior drill instructor threatened to drop him from the company. Reyes realized he needed to pass the test to prevent being held back in training again. Although Reyes didn’t pass the third time, he managed to pass on his fourth try the next day.
    “It was difficult because I really overthink some stuff, and the threat of being dropped was really hard on me,” said Reyes. “Nobody wants to stay an extra week.”
    Training is tough, but Reyes was able to find something that sparked his interest.
    “I enjoyed the obstacle courses because I saw them as playgrounds,” said Reyes. “I never got to play as a kid because I was always studying.”
    As Reyes finally brings his recruit experience to an end, he remembers where he came from.
    “I’ve been through a lot of stuff,” said Reyes, through tears of joy. “My entire life has come to this and it feels amazing. At first I was scared, but I’m not scared anymore because I know there are people who are going to help me. I’m really happy and thankful for that, and it makes me proud of what I have. A poor kid from the Philippines coming to something like this…there has been a lot of evolutions. Boot camp is not for everyone, but I made it, so maybe it was for me.”
    Reyes is also grateful for the hard work his drill instructors put in to training him.
    “They helped me through a lot, especially my senior drill instructor,” said Reyes. “I never really had a stable father figure because my dad was always busy, so we never really got close. With my drill instructors, I never really knew I needed them. I’m thankful for them being the challenge, the wall and the ladder to help me.”
    Following recruit training, Reyes will report to the School of Infantry at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., and then to his military occupational specialty school.



    Date Taken: 10.26.2016
    Date Posted: 11.01.2016 17:31
    Story ID: 213521

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