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New Marine's High Standards
by U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Anika M. Lewis
August 6, 2022

“I just want to be separated from everybody else. I want to be the top guy, to be always relied on. I just want to be the best in what I do.”

These were the words of Pfc. Erwin C. Mariano, a 19-year-old native of Guam. His commitment to achieving a high standard of personal excellence is what led him to join the Marine Corps. He had heard the Marine Corps was the hardest branch of military and that it was comprised of perfectionists. Mariano knew joining the Corps would be a challenge, and he wanted to accomplish what most people could not. On June 28, 2021, Mariano enlisted in the Marine Corps from Recruiting Substation Guam.

Private First Class Erwin C. Mariano, a Data Systems Administrator at Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, stands in front of the MCLB Barstow Communications Department on July 22, 2022. Mariano joined the MCLB Barstow Communications Department in April of 2022. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Anika M. Lewis)
Private First Class Erwin C. Mariano, a Data Systems Administrator at Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, stands in front of the MCLB Barstow Communications Department on July 22, 2022. Mariano joined the MCLB Barstow Communications Department in April of 2022. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Anika M. Lewis)

Mariano not only joined the Marine Corps to fulfill his own high standards, but he explained he did it for his family, as well. Mariano said that growing up, he had lived with his mother and grandmother. He was grateful for their provision, but he admitted there were challenging times.

“I did not like how we had to live day by day, paycheck to paycheck,” Mariano said. “I wanted to be able to support my own family on my own.”

Because of this, as a first-generation Marine, Mariano decided to set a new standard of provision for his family. Every paycheck, he has sent $200 to $300 back home to his grandmother in Guam.

"I feel very happy and thankful,” Mariano said, expressing his feelings toward sending money home. “Not only because I am able to support them, but they were able to support me when I wasn't able to." To him, sending money home is a way for Mariano to give back while showing his family he can be successful, no matter what challenges he had previously gone through.

This ideal of setting himself apart has also carried over into Mariano’s professional life. He shared what his greatest fulfillment as a Marine was.

“It’s to be able to set high standards and reach for it, and go off of that. To work hard, no matter what challenge they throw at you,” he said.

Since arriving at Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow in April of 2022, Mariano has worked hard to give his best in every capacity.

 As a 0671 Data Systems Administrator, his main job is working with and updating computers, assisting customers, setting up video teleconferencing for the installation’s commanding officer, and coordinating Public Address system support for various events. Mariano’s favorite part about his job is being able to help individuals across the installation with their computers and make sure they are able to do their jobs properly. It gives him satisfaction to expand the base’s mission in this aspect.

Private First Class Erwin C. Mariano, a Data Systems Administrator at Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, replaces an existing hard drive with a solid-state drive as a part of the System Life Extension Program (SLEP) upgrade project on July 22, 2022. SLEP upgrades help improve existing infrastructure to increase usability and performance for users. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Anika M. Lewis)
Private First Class Erwin C. Mariano, a Data Systems Administrator at Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, replaces an existing hard drive with a solid-state drive as a part of the System Life Extension Program (SLEP) upgrade project on July 22, 2022. SLEP upgrades help improve existing infrastructure to increase usability and performance for users. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Anika M. Lewis)

 Although Mariano has only been part of MCLB Barstow for a few months, he has created positive impressions on those around him. Corporal Noah M. Avila, a Data Systems Administrator and Mariano’s Noncommissioned Officer supervisor, praised him for his hard work.

“Pfc. Mariano is an incredibly driven, motivated, very intelligent Marine,” Avila remarked. “He constantly tries to do his best in everything that he does. There is no challenge which he will not arise to. The fact that he is so driven gives me the impression that going into the future he’s going to be able to have and achieve a great amount of success within the Marine Corps.”br>
Mariano has used his strong work ethic to set himself apart mentally, as well. He is currently attending Barstow Community College and is pursuing an Associate’s Degree in automotive studies.

“I wanted to expand my knowledge and be one of the top grads to graduate from college,” he said. Mariano went on to explain another, internal motivator. “My grandmother has 30 grandkids. There’s only one that’s graduated from college, and I want to be the second.”

Mariano is determined to always give his best, so he also engages in activities which help keep him mentally and emotionally charged. He enjoys weightlifting at the gym, working out almost two hours every day. Mariano likes playing video games, watching movies, and spending time with friends. He also stays connected with his family back in Guam by calling them nearly every day. Mentally, Mariano encourages himself by remembering that his family is supporting him and has his back, no matter what or how far away they are.

In the future, Mariano hopes to be attached to a Marine Expeditionary Unit or be stationed at Okinawa, Japan, or Hawaii. He is also working toward going back home on the Command Recruiting Program at Recruiting Substation Guam.

No matter what challenges lie ahead, Mariano has confidence in his abilities to remain committed to his personal standards of excellence. He shared one of his personal mantras that helps to keep him pressing forward.

“No matter what life throws at you,” Mariano affirmed. “Don’t stop. Either you give up or you get up. What was the purpose of all that hard work you put forward if you’re just going to give up?”

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