“If I didn’t join the Marine Corps I honestly don’t really know what I’d be doing with myself.”


Provided by: Patty

This is Irvin in his gear by an Osprey. He and fellow members were heading to Yuma, AZ for pre-deployment training.

Indecisive about his college and future plans, Irvin Rodas instead decided to join the military in order for him to challenge himself mentally and physically.

Today, he is now a Staff Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps and has served over nine years.

He shares his experiences in the military, his job, and how it has influenced him into being a better person and how one day he hopes to become a high-school guidance counselor.



Itzel Juarez: Hi. I’m here to interview my brother-in-law, who’s in the Marine Corps. Please introduce yourself. 
Irvin Rodas: Hi, my name is Irvin. Umm I’m a Staff Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps, currently stationed in Jacksonville, North Carolina. 
IJ: [silence] Ok. First question is why did you join the military?
IR: Uhhh, well so right after high school I actually went to college for a little bit. Umm but I honestly, I just at the time I didn’t really like uhh like going to- or I didn’t really like what I was doing at the school umm at- so I, you know, stopped going to college, I started working umm and then you know just kinda felt like I wasn’t really going anywhere with that, so then I just kinda decided that I wanted to you know join the Marine Corps.
IJ: [short pause] Hmmmm ok. Uhhh is there a reason why you chose the Marine Corps over the other military branches?
IR: Yeah, so I-it’s kinda weird, right, like people always talk about how the Marine Corps is the best of the best, aaand that’s something that I wanted to do, I wanted to challenge myself as much as I could mentally and physically. You know I really wanted uh- like, part of me really just wanted to do kinda like, [pause] like people always talked if- like if I knew that I was gonna do the military, I always wanted- I always told myself like “Hey like I’m gonna do the best at whatever I apply myself to.” So I-that’s why I chose the Marine Corps.
IJ: [short pause] Can you tell us what your job is and what you do? 
IR: Yeah so, my job in the Marine Corps, I’m a flight equipment technician, so I do all the emergency and safety gear for helicopters and airplanes. Umm anything that you can think of that’s safety related on like helicopters, like the seats, uhhhhhh the uhhhh the fire extinguishers, first-aid kits, uh the engine light,  fire extinguishers, anything you can think of that like pilots and passengers use, like helmets, vest, emergency oxygen, radios, like that’s all the stuff that I deal with, so I maintain and, and repair ummm safety equipment essential for aviation.
IJ: Ooooooo. Interesting. Ok. Is there a reason why you didn’t finish college?
IR: Yeah, so like I said before like at the time when I was going to school, I just felt like, so right after high school when I, [stutters] I started going to college, I just felt like I didn’t really know what I wanted to study, ummm at the time I kinda just felt like I was just going through the motions of like “Hey like you know I gotta go to college,” because that’s what everybody’s telling me to do, ummm, so at the time that’s why I stopped going, I just didn’t have the drive for it, uhh now that I’ve been in the Marine Corps for a little bit, ummm for a while, right, uh I kinda already know what I wanna do for school, so I’m actually planning on going back to school, um starting next year. 
IJ: Oh wow, really? That’s great!
IR: Yeah.
IJ: If you weren’t in the Marine Corps, what do you think you’d be doing right now?
IR: That I’m not too sure, [laughs], so I know I definitely [pauses] err- I probably would be working at my uh parents’ store. My parents actually own like a convenience store in East LA uhh and- so I would probably be pretty involved with that. Honestly, like if I didn’t join the Marine Corps I honestly don’t really know what I’d be doing with myself, if I’m being completely honest, huh [chuckles]. 
IJ: Okay. Uh if you could go back in time, knowing what you [stutters] now know about the military, would you join again? 
IR: Absolutely. 100 percent. Ummm you know just, you know like I said I’ve been in a little over nine years, almost like nine and a half, um and the Marine Corps has actually given me a lot of like experiences, um I’ve been able to like challenge myself, I’ve been able to travel, I’ve been able to meet really good people, and then I’ve honestly been able to make essentially like a way better version of myself, you know, if, knowing now, [stutters] and it has been very difficult because you know the Marine Corps is one of the, err- is the hardest branch out of all of them. Ummm you know, knowing now, if I go back in time and like with all of this information I would absolutely do it again. 
IJ: Alright. Uhhhh what are the pros and cons about your job? 
IR: Ummmmm, [short pause], pros I guess would be um my specific job, one of the things that I like about it is I can be, I can kinda go anywhere in the Marine Corps, where they have aviation, um so my specific job is like standard all around, so I’ve actually had experience working with Hueys, and Cobras, and Ospreys, and B-22’s, um I can essentially go wherever they have jets, I can go wherever they have like C130’s, like the cargo planes, um and then a you know, a big part of my job is uh like community, err- not, it’s like customer service, so you know I get to interact a lot with like pilots and crew chiefs a-and I kinda get to talk to them a lot, so I think that’s one of the things I like about my job, umm when it comes to like I guess I can like on a personal level umm on the technical side of it, uh you know a lot of like gear I deal with is is essentially like emergency and like life-saving gear you know um so that’s one of the things that you know I feel like I’m able to do my part in making sure that safety equipment, when the time comes when they have to use it, um I know for sure like I’ll be able, it’ll be able to do its job and you know take care of the pilot or passenger or whoever has to use it. As for cons, umm I’ll probably say just working long hours, uh you know that’s one of the, I guess kinda like the bad things about being an aviation depending on where you’re at you tend to work a lot, longer hours than other people who have different jobs like in the Marine Corps. 
IJ:  Uh have you like flown like uh like one of the uh like jets or done like anything of those stuff? 
IR: So I haven’t flown anything, you actually have to be a pilot to do that, uh but I have been able to ride in like helicopters and like the B22 Ospreys, um I’ve been able to do fun stuff like that, I’ve been able to shoot like the machine-guns um out of the helicopters for like training purposes like out in the dessert and stuff like that. I have done that, but um never, never like fly or anything like that. 
IJ: Hmmm I wish I could do that, but nah. 
IR: [Giggles]
IJ: What are your plans after the military? 
IR: So as of right now, um like I said-I’m still kinda like fifty-fifty ummm I do plan to finish doing 20 years in the Marine Corps and after that I retire, ummm after that pro-depends on what I do if I can actually do-keep doing my job that I’m doing now, but as in the civilian side of it, um which I wouldn’t mind doing because you know it’s uh- like I said- I uhh really like my job umm but if not then you know like I said I plan to go to school umm and major in education and then hopefully umm be able to become a uh, uh a high school guidance counselor um it’s- I guess one of my goals that I would like to do. 
IJ: Wha-like right now that you said that you want to become a high school counselor, why did you chose-choose that? 
IR: So I guess- part of it I guess started like umm before I joined the Marine Corps, you know um you know all my time throughout high school I always felt like I’ve never really got the guidance that I wanted, when it came to like my career you know people always pushed, umm you know like the dream is to go to college and get an education and get a job you know but no one never really told me about all my other options which were like trade school, like technical schools or the military or anything like that umm and then once I joined the Marine Corps, umm you know just being able to get those experiences and like you know, like I said meeting all those new people, umm it was just something that you know, I wish somebody would’ve told me, like “Hey this is an option for you,” you know umm and then you know, actually before I came out here to North Carolina I was actually a [Marine Corps] recruiter for three years and so I kinda got the taste of like you know talking to high school students, talking to college students, and that’s when I kinda knew like-ok like um like I definitely wanna be like a high school guidance counselor, I wanna help people out I like I kinda what to show people different options that they have in life, I wanna show them that you know that, there is more than one way, umm, in life to be successful and so that’s I guess like that’s my- my main reason to-to you know, that I wanna become a high school guidance counselor it’s because I wanna be able to make a bigger impact on individuals, you know as they kinda get older in life.
IJ: Hmmmmm that’s good. Well-I, that’s all the questions I have right now so I would like to thank you for being here with me on this interview and thank you for your service. So thank-
IR: Thank you, thank you for having me [stutters] and I appreciate your support.