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    Humbling Leadership | Gunnery Sgt. Estrada Gives His Take On Leadership

    Humbling Leadership | Gunnery Sgt. Estrada Gives His Take On Leadership

    Photo By Pfc. Courtney Robertson | U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Jorge Estrada speaks to Marines after a company...... read more read more



    Story by Pfc. Courtney Robertson 

    3rd Marine Logistics Group

    “I always tell my Marines to look at both name tapes. You have two families, your U.S. Marines family [on the left] and your blood family on the right,” said Gunnery Sgt. Jorge Estrada while explaining how pride motivates his leadership. “My father and my grandfather always said, ‘Have pride in everything you do.’”

    Estrada, the company gunnery sergeant of Headquarters Company, Combat Logistics Regiment 37, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, said his childhood not only shaped his leadership and values but also made him a hard working and understanding leader amongst his Marines.

    As a child growing up in Guerrero, Mexico, Estrada, the youngest of seven children, found himself working early hours at a young age just to help his large family make ends meet. While his mother and father were away farming in De Leon Springs, Florida, he worked to maintain his grandfather’s cattle farm in Mexico. There, he woke up most mornings before the crack of dawn herding and feeding cattle. When the job was finished, he would scramble to make it to school on time. He said this was a normal childhood to him, his family and others in his community.

    Before his tenth birthday, the rest of Estrada's family moved to De Leon Springs, Florida to be with his parents. He started fourth grade not knowing any English. Even after taking language classes and being surrounded by English speakers, he said he still struggled with the new language. Although there was a language barrier, Estrada enjoyed school very much.

    “Even to this day, I am still in contact with my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Aleman.” Estrada added.

    When not in school, Estrada was working in the fields with his family in Florida.

    “I used to work on a field gathering leatherleaf ferns. They are ferns that go into flower arrangements,” Estrada said. “People never really notice them because they are always looking at the nice flower, and never the background. It really just reminds me of those people who actually put in the work. Nobody really pays attention to the work that person went through to cut that fern from the ground; working all day, making bundles of 20-25 each for only 30 cents per bundle."

    To Estrada, hard work and staying determined was just his way of life. So, Estrada joined the Marine Corps while he was still a senior in high school.

    “How I view life is, you’ve got to get straight to the point without beating around the bush,” said Estrada. He said that while all his peers were at graduation, he was already at Marine Combat Training, the next step after United States Marine Corps Recruit Training.

    Almost 15 years later, Estrada is now a company gunnery sergeant.

    “It’s my job and it’s the job I want to do. I was just going to serve my four years, it was just going to help me get to where I wanted to go. Turns out, I liked being a Marine. I think this fits right into my culture and how I was raised,” he proclaimed.

    Estrada is very adamant about pride of belonging and staying humble. To him, the Marine Corps embodies earning your title and having a close knit family.

    “I like what the Marine Corps represents. The day I do not lead by example and the day I can’t perform the way the Marine Corps expects me to, I’ll think of other options and getting out. At that point I’ll just be collecting a paycheck. I wouldn’t be earning that paycheck. I’ve been working since I was a kid, for a paycheck, sometimes for free. I will earn my pay, that’s for damn sure,” he said.

    Estrada’s values, as a leader, are to remain humble, stay honest with yourself and Marines and to lead by example. He gestured to his blouse before stating, “Be humble with everyone. After we take this off, we are all still humans at the end of the day. Be honest, because we all make mistakes. Like it or not, I am going to hold you accountable. That’s how I show I care. I never like to say it, but I like to show it.”

    Estrada believes heavily in destiny and the importance of making something out of your time on Earth. He wishes to impact his Marines; to better them no matter the circumstance.

    “I’m accomplished if I impact you positively, because you look up to me, or even negatively because if you think I’m a bad leader, learn from that. Always learn to be like the leaders you look up to, and stay away from the character of the ones you dislike," Estrada explained.

    The work Estrada did throughout his life led to him being the type of leader who makes sure to hold all his Marines accountable for their actions, good or bad.

    “I see us all as humans," Estrada said, "But we are also Marines, and we are in an institution where there are rules and regulations that we have to follow. This is what we signed up for. We wanted it.” Estrada believes that learning from mistakes is just a fact of nature which makes people better mentors.

    “I’m not perfect," he said, "I couldn’t give you the recipe for a perfect leader. I just do what I feel is right personally and morally. When I need guidance, I think about my family’s values."

    As a United States Marine, everyone earned the title, so keeping and respecting the title is important to Estrada. It’s tied in with pride of belonging to a family.

    “My wife reminds me of how much I like my Marines every week. On field day, I will tell her, I will be home at 1800 or 1830, and she’ll say, ‘No, you won’t. You care too much for those Marines. If one of them pulls you to the side and asks you for some guidance or your opinion, you’re not going to tell them no',” laughed Estrada.

    “Remember both families,” he stressed, “How do you want to go back to the family on the right side of your chest? Do you want to go back with your head down, or your head held high, saying ‘I did it'?"



    Date Taken: 09.25.2019
    Date Posted: 10.01.2019 04:14
    Story ID: 343544
    Hometown: DE LEON SPRINGS, FL, US

    Web Views: 541
    Downloads: 3
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