Face of Defense: Marine Plays Vital Role in Unit's Success

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03/27/2012 01:03 PM CDT

Face of Defense: Marine Plays Vital Role in Unit's Success

By Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Edward R Guevara Jr.
26th Marine Expeditionary Unit

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C., March 27, 2012 - Reliability is a trait that Marine Corps Cpl. Jesse R. Mendoza learned from his father while growing up in San Fernando, Calif. He has used it as a foundation to build his life upon, and it's even helped him to gain recognition.

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Marine Corps Cpl. Jesse R. Mendoza, left, and Lance Cpl. David Anzualda post themselves at the front of the command element formation on Camp Lejeune, N.C., Feb. 10, 2012. Mendoza and Anzualda were selected as the noncommissioned officer of the quarter and Marine of the quarter, respectively, for the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Christopher Stone

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Most recently, the tactical field radio operator was recognized as the noncommissioned officer of the quarter for the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

With the 26th MEU's last deployment, Mendoza was part of a team that faced numerous challenges that come along with integrating communications across armed services and among the elements of the amphibious Marine Air-Ground Task Force and expeditionary environment, said Marine Corps Master Sgt. John O'Connell Jr., the unit's communications chief.

Numerous areas of responsibility stress-tested the section as it facilitated communications among aircraft, ships and land units, O'Connell said. Among them were humanitarian assistance in Pakistan, anti-piracy operations and support for operations Enduring Freedom, Odyssey Dawn and Unified Protector. And through it all, he added, Mendoza excelled.

"He is humble, professional and responsible," O'Connell said.

True to form, Mendoza projected that praise to the Marines who work alongside him.

"My work section always tries to do its best," Mendoza said. "I like working with my peers. We accomplish a lot of great stuff together. Even on short notice, we got it done."

His commitment to teamwork and excellence started when he was a child playing soccer, football and basketball, Mendoza said. During middle school, he added, he played soccer for a park league team that consistently placed in the top three.

Pride in his work is what drives him to do the best he can, Mendoza said. He knows people rely on him, he added, and he doesn't want to shirk his responsibilities.

His father set that example for him, he said, and his father's friends reinforced it through their actions and words when speaking to or about his father.

Mendoza's father even influenced his decision to join the Marine Corps.

"I joined the military because my dad joined when he was in Guatemala," Mendoza said. "I heard him talking about it when I was growing up. He said it was rough, but he got a lot of good things from it."

As his four years of service come to an end this summer, Mendoza said, he hopes to leave his own influence for junior Marines.

"It can get hectic and rough in the beginning [of a deployment]," he said. "But the MEU has its fun times, like visiting ports in different countries. And it has opportunities for Marines to stand out and get promoted."

When he leaves the Marines, Mendoza said, he hopes to attend the Commercial Diving Academy in Jacksonville, Fla., and to become a commercial diver.