As the song goes It's a family tradition
By Cpl. Christopher A. Raper
| | July 12, 2002
MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif. --
Soon after graduating high school, Alex Rivera set off to follow a family tradition. He left his hometown of Tucson, Ariz., to serve his country.Rivera pursued the eagle, globe and anchor just as his father, brother, cousins and uncles did before him. Stepping on the yellow footprints he began the journey that so many of his loved ones had traveled before him."The Marine Corps is in my blood," said Rivera. "One month after I graduated I went to the recruiter's office. Two months after school I was on my way to boot."Rivera graduated from boot camp and continued his training until he graduated from his military occupational specialty school of motor transport.Shortly after his graduation from the school, Rivera was on his way overseas to Okinawa, Japan with 3rd Surveillance Reconnaissance Intelligence Group.Rivera joined up with Schools Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, at Marine Corps, Base Camp Pendleton, for the next four years of his career.Once his time was up at Camp Pendleton and Rivera was well into his second enlistment, he transferred to Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, to spend the next three years.Around the time of his third enlistment, Rivera decided it was time to return to his Marine Corps birthplace, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, to attend Drill Instructor School."I saw the pride that my drill instructors took in themselves and their jobs," said Rivera. "Their example made me want to be a drill instructor. I wanted to be a part of molding the future of the Marine Corps."Drill Instructor School definitely wasn't easy," added Rivera. "You are constantly trying to do your best and get everything right."Rivera carried his high esteem for discipline and making the right choices with him into the trenches."Discipline lets the recruits know to do the right thing even when there is an absence of supervision," said Rivera. "I am very proud of the quality of basic Marines Charlie Company sends out into the fleet."I strive to develop well disciplined recruits," he continued. "I instill in them a respect for authority and the highest respect for the Marine Corps."His recruits aren't the only ones to gain something from the rigors of recruit training. Rivera learned the meaning of time management and leadership through his peers and a little hands-on experience. "You learn time management and leadership skills while working on the drill field," said Rivera. "By working closely with your peers you pick up different leadership styles and mold them together to create one of your own," he added.After five cycles as a green belt, Rivera took the reigns of Platoon 1074 and led the recruits through training as their senior drill instructor. He walks across the parade deck today with those very same recruits."There is one word that comes to mind to describe Staff Sgt. Rivera... professional," said Staff Sgt. Dennis J. Collins, series gunnery sergeant, Lead Series. "He is the type of senior drill instructor that junior drill instructors would want to emulate. He understands his level of responsibility to the recruits and the drill instructors."With an understanding of the responsibility that comes with wearing the black belt and smokey bear, Rivera ensures that he holds the welfare of his recruits as well as his drill instructors in the highest regard."As a senior drill instructor, I have to ensure that I watch out for the recruits' welfare and the welfare of the drill instructors," said Rivera. "The success of the platoon and the company are in my hand," he said.