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    Forging Ahead: From Enlisted to Commissioned

    Forging Ahead: From Enlisted to Commissioned

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Jennifer Reynolds | Brigade Strength Manager 1st Lt. Marcos Lozano, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team...... read more read more

    Żagań, Poland — In the chatter-filled brigade human resources office sits a quiet professional in the corner who everyone comes to when they need assistance.

    Brigade Strength Manager 1st Lt. Marcos Lozano, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team "IRONHORSE," 1st Cavalry Division, never imagined that he would be an officer in the U.S. Army deployed in support of Atlantic Resolve working with a diverse group of Troopers.

    Originally from Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico with a bachelor's degree in finance, Lozano struggled to find employment to support his wife Jennifer and daughters, Carolina and Daniela.

    "I had attended a military school growing up, and I have family members that had served as well, so I knew it was the right time to enlist," Lozano said.

    From watching family members in Puerto Rico struggle, Lozano knew he would've had to take on multiple jobs to support his family if he didn't join the U.S. Army.

    Attending Army Basic Training at Fort Jackson, S.C. in April 2014, Lozano said goodbye to his wife and daughters.

    "So I took an English comprehension test along with the ASVAB to join, and I passed with no problems,” Lozano said, “but once the drill sergeants started yelling and screaming, I couldn't understand. I had to follow my battle buddies." With the help of the Soldiers to his right and left, Lozano improved his English and transitioned from recruit to Soldier.

    Lozano graduated from basic training and advanced individual training for human resources. He was reunited with his wife and daughters while stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas. While at Fort Bliss, Lozano's family grew, and they welcomed a daughter, Isabella. In 2016, Lozano answered the call to deploy to Kuwait, over 7,000 miles away, just weeks before Isabella's first birthday.

    As the heat rose in Kuwait, so did Lozano’s rank. He completed Basic Leadership Course, made the commandant's list and received a promotion to the rank of sergeant. His responsibilities increased with rank, and he began to mentor younger Soldiers as a team leader in human resources.

    While deployed to Kuwait, his Soldier, Spc. Lindsey Nickell decided she wanted to put in an officer candidate school (OCS) packet. Lozano assisted Nickell with her packet, realizing as they went through the questions that he was qualified as well. Retired Maj. Alejandro Valenzuela, their commander in Kuwait, overheard that Lozano was qualified but was not submitting a packet.

    "I met with the commander in his office,” Lozano said. “I told him I didn't think I was qualified or that my English was where it needed to be. He looked at me and told me we are having a conversation right now in English and said he wasn't giving me the option to pass up OCS."

    Brigade Human Resources Officer 1st Lt. Lindsey Nickell, 188th Brigade Support Battalion, 18th Field Artillery Brigade, was deployed as a specialist working under Lozano in Kuwait.

    "When I decided to put my OCS packet in, he was unsure if he could put a packet in or if that was his career path,” Nickell said. “Retired Maj. Alejandro Valenzuela gave us the extra push to pursue our goals of commissioning through his alma mater.”

    With the backing of his commander, Lozano pushed his doubts aside and submitted an OCS packet. Both Lozano and Nickell were accepted. They attended OCS at Fort Benning, Ga. in 2017. Lozano was a class ahead of Nickell, and he would always give her a heads up of what was to come.

    "He is always helpful and will spend extra time ensuring all questions are answered," Nickell said.

    Fort Benning OCS consisted of a total of twelve weeks and three phrases. Future leaders there focus on leadership objectives, planning, military history, land navigation and most importantly, taking care of Soldiers.

    Graduating OCS and returning to Fort Bliss, Texas an officer, Lozano, coordinated all aspects of personnel services, finance services, chaplaincy activities, command information services and legal services support within the battalion human resources office.

    Master Sgt. Kimo Erskine, a brigade human resources noncommissioned officer in charge, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team "IRONHORSE," 1st Cavalry Division, works alongside Lozano in the same office in Poland.

    "He brings unity, morality,” Erskine said. “He has a character trait that knows how to get along with others regardless of rank. He's on a different level when it comes to assistance. I would say that makes him fit the HR field very well because he will find a way to say ‘yes.’ He is that type of person."

    Lozano may not have all the answers, but he finds them. He never slows down when it comes to leading the human resources office and assisting his Soldiers. Through the U.S. Army, Lozano has gained stability for his family, built a career and had the opportunity to travel to foreign lands he never thought he would see.

    The 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, is finishing up a nine-month rotation in Poland as part of Atlantic Resolve. As Lozano looks forward to returning to Texas and reuniting with his family, he is proud of his team in Poland and what they have accomplished in the human resources office.

    Lozano recently purchased a recreational vehicle (RV) and is excited to take his wife and daughters on a road trip together to make up for time away from home. He will be starting graduate school back up at Columbia Southern University online, where he is seven classes away from his Master of Finance. Career-wise, he is set to attend Captain's Career Course and forge ahead in the Army.

    Despite all the training and time away from home, Lozano has no regrets, and he credits the leaders who pushed him and the Soldiers that helped him along the way. Lozano is now the leader who pushes Soldiers toward education opportunities and career goals, never letting them settle for less than their best.

    "Don't let your fears get between you and that decision to join the Army,” Lozano said. “The Army gives you a lot of different options. Just set your goals and go for it. Don't be afraid.”



    Date Taken: 07.16.2021
    Date Posted: 07.16.2021 08:35
    Story ID: 401028
    Location: ZAGAN, PL 
    Hometown: TRUJILLO ALTO, PR

    Web Views: 268
    Downloads: 0