From a young age, 1st Sgt. Gilbert G. Oshana knew he wanted to
serve his country. He wanted to give back to the nation that had
given him so much and had blessed his family. Oshana’s love for the
United States and desire to serve led him to enlist in the Marine
Corps, and his love for his country has continued to grow throughout
his years of service.
Oshana’s parents applied for a visa to
come to America and left the life they knew in Iran in search of the
American Dream in White Plains, New York.
“My parents came to
this country for the opportunities and religious freedom that were
not available in Iran,” said Oshana.
His parents belief in
the opportunities provided by the United States and the advantages
it could provide their family remains with Oshana to this day.
“I fundamentally believe in this country and everything it has
blessed me with, which is why I decided to join the Marine Corps,”
September 24, 2017 - Marine Corps 1st Sgt. Gilbert G. Oshana at an
undisclosed location during deployment proudly serving his country
for 20 years ... and nowhere near close to leaving the Corps. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Jocelyn Ontiveros)
Oshana recalled being a corporal stationed in Okinawa,
Japan and being woken up in the middle of the night to phone
calls about the towers being attacked on September 11 2001.
“Due to this tragedy, we deployed to Afghanistan in
support of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit and I knew my
time in the Marine Corps had only begun,” said Oshana.
Oshana wanted to continue serving in the Marine Corps
and keep contributing to the fight, so in 2004 he set out to
be a drill instructor. Now responsible for shaping future
Marines that would go on to face the same challenges he did,
their desire to serve moved him.
“The recruits going
through the depot at the time I was there enlisted because
of the events that took place on 9/11,” noted the New York
native. “All these recruits decided to enlist during a time
of war, and not surprisingly, they all had infantry military
occupational specialties. I found that very admirable.”
Oshana remembers checking the names of Marines killed in
action - and seeing some of his former recruits.
“Seeing those names was something that pushed me to give
110% and continue the legacy of those heroes,” said Oshana.
After his tour being a drill instructor Oshana returned
to Iraq in 2008 on a brigade-level team to advise the Iraqi
“After the liberation of Iraq I saw a shift in
the way people carried themselves, but I knew it would take
a while for people there to grasp what freedom feels like
and how to live in it because it would be a cultural
change,” said Oshana.
It wasn’t a question whether he
was reenlisting or not.
“Going to battle against
terrorism in a part of the world close to an area once
considered home by my family made me feel responsible to do
something to help - to be part of the solution and provide
the opportunities I had,” he said.
progressed in his career, he decided he wanted to be an
infantry first sergeant. He wanted to have a company of
Marines he could influence and have an impact on.
was exposed to great leadership. Those warriors raised me -
that’s why I’m here,” said Oshana. “I want to inject that
warrior spirit into my Marines and teach them to be good
leaders.” After 20 years of service, Oshana is nowhere near
close to leaving the Corps.
“I feel like I still have
a lot to give back to this country and I’m ready to jump on
the next deployment even though I’m still not done with this
one,” he laughed.
By U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Jocelyn Ontiveros
The U.S. Marines
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