Recruit learns meaning of responsibility

Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego
Story by Lance Cpl. Bridget Keane

Date: 05.03.2012
Posted: 05.04.2012 13:44
News ID: 87900
Recruit learns meaning of responsibility

SAN DIEGO - Among the many qualities instilled throughout recruit training, self-reliance and responsibility are stressed from the very beginning. Responsibility is one step toward becoming a man and is a trait of being morally and mentally accountable, a characteristic that every Marine must have.

Pfc. Brandon Espinosa, Platoon 3255, Company L, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, held his right hand up and swore into the Marine Corps Reserves Oct. 6. Reality hit Espinosa a few weeks later when he found out that his girlfriend was pregnant.

“I saw the baby as a blessing,” said Espinosa, a 19-year-old Chino Hills, Calif., native. “I didn’t want to be a kid raising a kid.”

With the passing of his father five years prior, Espinosa witnessed the difficulties of being a single parent. He knew that he must take responsibility of the situation.

“I had talked it over with my recruiter and my mother,” said Espinosa. “I needed to step up and be a man; I wanted to be a good father.”

Before he found out he was going to be a father, Espinosa graduated high school in 2010 and moved on to La Sierra University, Riverside, Calif., where he had a baseball scholarship, playing second basemen.

Espinosa pursued a degree in criminal justice, wanting to be a police officer like his older brother, Daniel Espinosa, who patrols for the Los Angeles Police Department. After spending a year at La Sierra, Espinosa felt the college life wasn’t for him.

“College athletes are kids at heart,” said Espinosa. He didn’t want to continue to rely on his mother for support throughout college. He remembered back to high school when he left a class and ran into a Marine Corps recruiter in the hallway.

Espinosa was impressed by the Marine. He liked how the recruiter confidently presented himself in a professional way. He immediately held the Marine Corps to a higher standard and continued contact with the recruiter.

“I saw the Marines as being above everything else,” said Espinosa. “I wanted the discipline and confidence; I saw it being the drive I needed to be successful.”

Espinosa’s mother, Laura, was hesitant at first when she first heard that her middle child wanted to join the Marine Corps.

“My mother didn’t want to lose her ‘baby’ to the Marine Corps,” said Espinosa. “But this was just a step in the right direction to the confidence I needed to feel like I can do anything.”

Espinosa stood his ground about the decision to enlist in the Marine Corps and was later shipped off to recruit training Feb. 6.

Timid at first, Espinosa eventually stepped up and excelled among his peers, said Sgt. Juan Huerta, senior drill instructor, Plt. 3255, Company L, 3rd RTBn. Espinosa often received letters from his mother that stated how she has seen a growth of maturity in him.

Espinosa took care of the tasks that were handed to him by his drill instructors. He held the billet of scribe, which is a job that is given to a recruit that has shown responsibility throughout the cycle. They handle the fire watch roster which is the rotation of recruits that stand duty during the night.

“He’s more serious now,” said Pvt. Chance Fitzgerald, Plt. 3255, L Company, 3rd RTBn. “He does what he’s asked, takes responsibility and takes care of everybody.”

Espinosa has taken the traits and moral ethics that are instilled in recruit training and applied it to his time here, explained Huerta. He believes that Espinosa will also apply what he has learned in the past three months to being a father.

“What I mainly teach my recruits is self-integrity,” said Huerta. “Taking responsibility for your actions is the starting point on how to be a good leader.”

The responsibility learned and instilled throughout recruit training has given Espinosa a new found confidence that he will need throughout the rest of his life and career.

“I’ve become a man compared to the kid I was,” said Espinosa. “I am prepared to commit my life to being a good father for my child.”