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Marine Corps Recruiting Command

Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.

3280 Russell Road, 2nd Floor Quantico, Va. 22134
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Firefighting Marine lives to save, serve country

By Cpl. Ryan Smith | | October 04, 2002

MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- Early on a rainy Saturday morning, Imperial County Rescue Squad 2865 was dispatched to a residential neighborhood for an emergency.  Upon arrival, the firefighters and emergency medical technicians found a young woman laying on a mattress in labor.  Working feverishly with sweat dripping from his brow, a young firefighter notices the baby crowning and proceeds to help deliver the new-born child. 

Cleaning off blood and clearing the baby's air way, the young firefighter removes his helmet, exposing a glimpse of his high and tight, takes a look at the new born and hands the baby boy to his mother.

This is just part of a regular work night for the young firefighter, Cpl. David Cisneros, a part-time reserve firefighter and full-time Marine.

"I started in 1989 at the age of 13 as a volunteer firefighter in the Mexicali Fire Department," said Cisneros, training clerk, S-3, Headquarters and Service Battalion.  "I also participated in the Mexican Red Cross as a first aid provider.

"My father introduced me to these activities because he didn't want me to spend my time in the streets with the wrong crowds," said Cisneros.  "He wanted me to have positive people around me."

At 18, Cisneros and his family moved to El Centro, Calif.  He began working as a volunteer firefighter for the Imperial County Fire Department after the transition to America.  After a couple of years as a volunteer, he finally was accepted to the Imperial County Fire Academy and graduated as a reserve firefighter working part-time in the same department.

"He is doing a great job here, we wish he could be here more often," said Luis Andrade, firefighter, Imperial County Fire Department.  "With his help it makes it easier to answer calls and help more people."

During his time as a firefighter, he thought heavily of his other ambitions in life.

"I grew up in Mexicali," said Cisneros.  "Over there, people have a lot of respect for Marines.  That is what made me want to be part of this.

"It feels good and I am proud to be part of the Marine Corps and the fire department," he said.  "I have two of the best jobs anyone can have."

According to Cisneros, there are many advantages to having the two jobs.

"In both jobs I've learned a lot," said Cisneros.  "I can use what I have learned from the fire department to save someone's life.  For example, in combat, one of my fellow Marines gets shot or injured; I can provide basic life support or use rescue techniques.  On the other side, the Marine Corps helps me to build endurance, teamwork, espirit de Corps and leadership.  All of these attributes can benefit (me) while on the job at the fire department."

Andrade, a fellow firefighter for 16 years, added, "With his training from the Marine Corps, he can better handle situations under pressure.  As a firefighter, you have to remain calm in order to be helpful in situations.  I think the discipline he receives as a Marine helps him perform his duties here better."

Cisineros' skills as a firefighter have also made their presence known to the Marines that he works with.

"Being a firefighter has made him more responsible," said Sgt. Matthew Mattson, noncommissioned officer in charge, S-3, H&S Bn. "His responsibility and maturity levels are above what some see in other Marines.  It is also great to know he enjoys what he does."

According to Mattson, Cisneros comes back to the office every Monday and re-lives some of the weekend's highlights.

"He always has new stories to tell about what he did that weekend," said Mattson.  "Usually it is stories about some really bad accidents, house fires or medical aid."

Cisneros added, "I have a lot of stories - some happy, some sad.  After an incident we have to go to a critical incident debrief.  We talk about the incidents and everyone there always has a story to tell."

"My passion is to become a full-time fire fighter and eventually become a paramedic," said Cisneros.  "I like helping other people and saving lives; whether it is by putting out fires, rescuing and extracting a victim from a car or providing medical help."


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