Latina Style Inc

Letters from the Front

By Corporal Jocelyn Ontiveros, USMC.
Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Central Command

I was born in Guaymas, Sonora, MX, and moved to the United States when I was seven years old. My parents wanted me to have the opportunity to have a better life and chase the American dream. I struggled to learn English, and my first-grade teacher warned my parents that there was a high possibility I would be held back in first grade because of the language barrier. After hearing about this, my determination and desire to succeed pushed me to learn enough English to move on to second grade. From there, it was a constant battle uphill to continue learning a second language, but my determination allowed me to be an honor roll student throughout my time in school.

Jocelyn Ontiveros, Middle East, November 8, 2017.

In high school I took all AP classes and was involved in theater, student council, and the basketball team. In addition to school and extracurricular activities, I took care of my two younger siblings, Emiliano and Rakel. There is a 10-year difference between Emiliano and me and a 13-year difference between Rakel and me, so I have also been a second mom to them.

I kept working hard to be successful and go to college. I received the Dean’s Scholarship to Grand Canyon University, a private Christian school, where I attended for two semesters. It was there that I was contacted by a Marine recruiter and realized that I wanted to be able to help people and to give back to a country that had given me so much. I believed there was no better way to show my gratitude for the opportunities I was granted than to join the military. I chose the Marines because I wanted to prove to myself that I could overcome any challenge and obstacle thrown my way.

On November 18, 2014, I enlisted into the delayed entry program and left for boot camp on October 13, 2015. After my military training was completed, I was given the military occupational specialty of 4341, Combat Mass Communicator. I attended a three-month course at the Defense Information School in Fort Meade, MD. Upon my graduation I received orders to Marine Expeditionary Force at Marine Corps Base in Camp Pendleton, CA, and was sent to work at 1st Marine Logistics Group. While there, I served as a photographer, videographer and writer.

Miriam and Jocelyn Ontiveros before Thanksgiving dinner at their home in Phoenix, AZ. November 2016.

Rakel and Jocelyn Ontiveros going to Build-A-Bear on Rakel’s birthday. September 25, 2015.

As a lance corporal, I was in charge of two other Marines. Due to my conduct and proficiency I was given the billet of social media assistant manager, which is typically held by a corporal. My work ethic and reliability highlighted me and put me above the other Marines in the office to be selected to go on deployment for the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Central Command 17.2. It was on this deployment that I was able to improve my skills as a Combat Mass Communicator. While deployed, I received a Certificate of Appreciation for my contributions to the Children’s Health Fair at the American Embassy, Kuwait, a Letter of Appreciation for taking and editing photographs in the raising and lowering of two American flags during a time when I was incredibly busy accomplishing my mission in support of the SPMAGT-CR-CC, and another Letter of Appreciation for assisting with the Commandant of the Marine Corps’ visit. My work has been featured on the official Marine Corps Facebook page and Instagram page, and one of my photos was nominated for the Marine Corps’ photo of the year.

Now, being 22-years-old and two years into my service, I see how the military has allowed me to grow as a person. Being on deployment and away from family is rough and at times stressful. But now I’m setting an example to my siblings to be altruistic and to help those in need in whatever way they can. I’m teaching them that being a magnanimous person is one of the most humbling feelings. I’m not here to change the world, but if I can inspire someone and change their life, when it’s my time to leave this world, I know my actions will transcend my passing.

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