JOINT BASE McGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. – Josiah Ortiz, aka “The Tank,” from Fort Hamilton High School in Brooklyn, N.Y., has dreamed of joining the military as a force recon Marine since he was in the seventh grade.
Josiah Ortiz, a cadet on the Raider Team from the Fort Hamilton High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program, collects his thoughts before his last team event during the 2013 Raider Challenge at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., May 11, 2013. Ortiz joined the JROTC program and the Raider Team at his high school because he hopes to one day become a force recon Marine in the Marine Corps. He feels that the experiences and life skills he has gained will make him not only a better Marine, but also a better citizen and father one day. (Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Darron Salzer)
When he transitioned from junior high to high school, he set into motion the foundation blocks for that dream to come true by joining the Fort Hamilton Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program – and he's been looking toward his goal ever since.
“The reason I joined JROTC was because in my career I want to be a force recon Marine, but I would not have joined the JROTC program if it was not for the Raider Team,” Ortiz said. “I joined so I can physically challenge myself and find my limits physically and mentally, that way I can push myself and achieve my goals later on in life – so far its been working out pretty well.”
Oritz said he was also drawn to the closeness and family of the Rader Team.
“Each one of them I consider my family, my brothers in arms and I would do anything for them,” he said. “It's a good feeling to see everyone together and trying their best [to achieve] their goals. That's what makes me happy and makes me enjoy being in the JROTC program.
“They are some of the best friends that I've ever had, and I wouldn't trade any of them for anything,” he said.
Since he joined JROTC and the Raider Team at Fort Hamilton, Ortiz has noticed changes within himself.
“Physical strength definitely [increased] and I feel as if I am more social,” Ortiz said. “I like sticking with the team and like I said before it is very family orientated so that's one thing that I really get out of it.”
His father, Pete Ortiz, has noticed that the younger Ortiz's focus is more solid thanks to the Raider Team.
“He takes the Raider Team very, very seriously and he holds it near and dear to his heart,” said Pete Ortiz.
“In that aspect it gives him a sense of responsibility and of commitment and with the leadership qualities of the program, he seems to be more attuned to wanting to do purposeful things in his life,” he said.
That commitment and drive has spilled over into Josiah Ortiz's personal life. In addition to his rigorous JROTC schedule and exercise program, he studies Muay Thai and plays football.
But it's his future that he's still got his eyes on. Josiah Ortiz plans to complete a four-year selective contract with the Marine Corps after high school and then enroll in the State University of New York Maritime College to major in marine transportation or mechanical engineering.
“While there, I'll [enroll] in the Navy ROTC program and use the Marine Corps transfer option to go back to the Corps and commission as an officer and make a career out of it,” he said.
Josiah Ortiz said support and guidance from his parents enables him to focus on his goals and continue with his dream of one day joining the Corps.
“They give me whatever I need, and they have always supported me no matter what I needed,” he said.
It's an example that he hopes to take with him and invest in his own family some day.
“I want to be as big an impact in their lives as my parents were in mine,” Josiah said.
By Army National Guard Sgt. Darron Salzery
Provided through DVIDS
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