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    Pfc. Jay Anthony Villarreal



    Story by Lance Cpl. Grace Kindred 

    Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego

    When Private First Class Jay Anthony Villarreal told his mom he wanted to become a Marine, it caught her by surprise.
    “I was surprised, but I was happy,” said Brandie Villarreal. “When he was young he told me he wanted to work at a zoo. He always loved to be outside, and he was always messing with the animals.”
    Villarreal was recruited out of Hondo, Texas with Recruiting Substation Westlakes in San Antonio, Texas. He enlisted into the Marine Corps in 2019, and shipped out to Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California, January 19, 2021.
    While in recruit training, Villarreal faced several challenges, but the hardest part of it all was missing his family. His 2-year-old daughter, Emelia Villarreal, kept Villarreal motivated throughout recruit training.
    “That’s what the hardest thing was for me,” said Villarreal, “Especially in those first weeks here, I was used to holding Emilia when I went to sleep, and I would turn over, and she wasn’t there.”
    Another challenge for Villarreal was his role as the guide for platoon 2125. Recruits are chosen as guides to lead their platoons. Guides ensure every recruit doing their part during recruit training. Guides are the Marines that stand out the most in their platoons in every aspect of training, mostly in motivation.

    “It was very stressful,” said Villarreal. “The senior drill instructor saw that I was louder than everyone, moving faster than everyone, and drilling better than everyone.”

    Drill plays a significant part in the job as a guide, and it’s one of the most important experiences in recruit training. Recruits were tested twice on their knowledge and skill levels of drill. Drill in the Marine Corps represents cohesion, uniformity, discipline, and professionalism. Villarreal credited his talent for drill to his high school marching band, the Mighty Owl Band in Hondo, Texas.

    Despite every obstacle Villarreal faced, he was supported through recruit training by his family. His girlfriend, Ashley Mechaley, encouraged him to join the Marine Corps to gain independence and experience self-growth. Mechaley grew up in a Marine Corps family, and was familiar with the benefits, traditions, and characteristics of a Marine.

    Villarreal graduated as the honorman for platoon 2125, April 29, 2021. Villarreal continues his training at the School of Infantry (SOI) at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California. Following SOI, Villarreal will report to Twentynine Palms, California, for his military occupational specialty school for Marine Corps communications.



    Date Taken: 04.29.2021
    Date Posted: 05.10.2021 16:22
    Story ID: 396041
    Location: SAN DIEGO, CA, US 

    Web Views: 38
    Downloads: 1