PALMS, Calif. - Anthony Chiccino was born and raised in
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is part Italian, and worked a s cook
in an Italian restaurant while trying to make living in New York.
I was just a kid growing up on the outskirts of Philadelphia. I
never would have thought I would be where I am today. I had grand
fathers who served in the Navy and the Army but I just wanted to go
to school for criminal justice.
I lived in Philly for about
18 years of my life. It was all I knew for a while. I had never been
to the west coast.
After I graduated high school I applied to
a criminal justice college in New York City to study international
criminal justice. I moved there as soon I got accepted.
go talk to a recruiter with one of my buddies after I graduated high
school. He ended up enlisting and eventually leaving and I chose to
go the school route.
It was the first time on my own. I was
kind of taking a stab in the dark. I packed my stuff in my car and
drove up there.
I have to admit there were some times where I
was kind of nervous. It was a new city to me and New York isn't the
easiest place to figure out.
I didn't have a steady place to
stay. I also didn't have a job so I ended up applying to about 10
The first place I worked was a Greek
restaurant. I was a chef for them. I had some cooking experience
from back home but I learned a lot from working at that restaurant.
I ended up moving to an Italian restaurant and really enjoyed
it. My dad is Italian so I have always been around Italian food.
Cooking is one of my favorite hobbies to do in my free time. I
enjoy making food for people and especially eating it myself.
It has always been a thought in my head to make a career out of
cooking but criminal justice always looked more appealing to me. It
also helped that it was my major while I was going to college.
After getting a job and finally having a schedule in New York, I
was able to get my own apartment. There were some days where I was
staying in my car but it all worked out in my favor.
friend came back from boot camp and I happened to be home visiting
my family. They had a party for him and I remember seeing him in his
dress blues and thinking, maybe I should have joined. He looked
Once I got back to New York I went to see a
recruiter again so I could get more information.
didn't know if I wanted to join or not but eventually I was going to
his office everyday and it just seemed more and more appealing.
He pointed me in the direction of Military Police because that
was what I was studying in school. It looked like something I would
enjoy so I chose it.
I wanted a job in homeland security or
something along those lines and having a degree in criminal justice
and a military police background looks pretty good.
Even if I
didn't get a job in homeland security I could always make a career
out of the Marine Corps, so it looked good in a lot of different
Now I am on the West Coast as a military policeman
and I love it. I also just got accepted into the K9 school and I am
leaving in January.
When I first got my orders to California
I was excited. I had never been to the West Coast so it was
something new again.
I was very excited when I flew into
Palm Springs. Palm Trees everywhere, the sun was out, it was like
paradise. I was expecting beaches to be all over the place. I had no
idea what I was getting into. The more we drove I saw less palm
trees and more sand.
I still enjoy it because it's something not
many people get to experience. I have to admit it is very different
compared to where I grew up though.
When I was growing up, I
played a lot of football. I played for a club team in Philly and
started when I was six years old.
It was kind of funny. One
of my favorite coaches was a retired Marine. He was also a drill
instructor. Looking back, now that I'm in the Marine Corps, I
realize he would do things drill instructors did. Discipline was one
of his biggest things he concentrated on.
we did was Marine Corps related, even the way we counted. None of us
had any idea, but it was effective.
I fell in love with the
sport and so did my dad. He would never miss a practice or game.
Eventually the coaches would just kind of make him an assistant
because he would always be there.
I would say he is my hero.
My dad has always backed me in any decision I have made. He still
calls me every day to see how I am doing and to tell me how proud he
is of me for how far I have come. It always helps to hear that
someone is proud of you, especially someone like my father.
By USMC Lance Cpl. Alejandro Bedoya
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