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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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Family time takes priority for Marine

By Lance Cpl. Edward R. Guevara Jr. | | June 20, 2003

MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- For many fathers, the most cherished moments in their lives are those spent with their children as they grow up, especially when those fathers set their children on the right path for life.

Staff Sgt. Ngiraterang T. Sakuma, senior drill instructor, Platoon 1081, Company B, is one of those fathers. Although his job on the drill field demands a lot of commitment and sacrifice, he still finds time to spend with his wife and children.

When a drill instructor joins his first platoon, he is always working with little time off.

"At the beginning (of his tour) he would barely come home," said Julieth E. Sakuma, his wife of seven years.  "Now that he's a senior drill instructor, he comes home most of the time."

When Sakuma has free time, he likes to take his family out.

"We go to the park and go watch movies," said Sakuma.

According to Sakuma, one-on-one time with his children is very important. He is very focused on helping them get started in the right direction toward their futures.

Sakuma's 5-year-old daughter Jasmine loves to read with her father.

"I read with my daughter after dinner all the time," said Sakuma.

He said he also loves to spend time with his 3-year-old son, Jasia, who loves running and has lots of energy.

"My son tears up the house while I read with my daughter," said Sakuma.

Sakuma recalled a similar lifestyle growing up and said he was an energetic young boy also.

Sakuma was the bad child, and his brother was the good child, according to Ray Sakuma, Ngiraterang's older brother.

However, the two seemed to change roles after graduating high school, according to Ray.

"He's a kid that grew up," said Ray.  "He's been there when I needed him to be.  He's a lot more responsible and a rock for his family."

After graduating high school and moving to Virginia, Ngiraterang and his brother took a blunt look at their lives and what they were going to do. Ngiraterang joined the Marine Corps two weeks later.

Ngiraterang had heard the legendary tales of Marines back in his home country of Palau through stories and films.

One of the stories he heard from local islanders was that of the infamous battle at Peleliu where 6,526 Marines and sailors died fighting in World War II.

This made Ngiraterang believe the Marines were the best, and when he was looking for an opportunity to take a path for his future, the Marines were the clear choice.

During a session of professional military education while stationed in Okinawa, Ngiraterang learned how Marines survived in a jungle environment at the battle of Peleliu.

Getting a mix of his heritage from Palau and his Marine Corps heritage at once confirmed his love for the Corps.

"I love the Marine Corps," said Ngiraterang. "It has shown me so much and helped me a great deal in life."

Ngiraterang was looking to become a man and to sustain himself and his family and he has found that and more in the Marine Corps.

"I do it for my family and two kids," said Ngiraterang.  "So they can see the hard work, so they can get the mentality of it and do it."

Ngiraterang said he is proud to have everyone who crosses his path see the hard work to which he is committed, from the recruits he trains, to the family he has back home.

He graduates Company B's honor platoon today and will then have a much deserved few weeks off before picking up his next cycle of recruits to train.

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