DOWNEY – Jose Balan reminisces about his first notion of becoming a part of the United States Armed Forces. “Military service was always something I wanted to do since I was a boy, and choosing the right branch for me was the Marines,” he says.
Balan would become a Military Occupational Specialty (M.O.S.) of 1812 Tank Crewman/8513 Marine Combat Instructor. His initial enlistment was four years as a M1A1 Tank Crewman from 1997 to 2001. He then experienced recall orders to support operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom for nine months as a Marine Combat Instructor during 2003.
Balan mentions that he was deployed on two occasions during his enlistment with the 22nd and 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit. He visited countries such as Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Greece and Italy.
When asked what the best thing about serving was, Balan states that “being able to see the world and experience different cultures with my fellow brothers.” He mentions that the Marine camaraderie is indescribable: “The esprit de corps is like no other, the camaraderie is like no other, and the rapport is like no other, ultimately, being part of ‘the Few and the Proud, the Marines’ is like no other.”
As wonderful as his enlistment experience was, Balan still endured the strain of emotions of missing home.
“I missed being away from home...especially the home cooked meals.” He was stationed at Camp Lejuene, North Carolina where he was constantly reminded by his Marine family how much he missed his family and friends back home in California.
Using the extensive training that Balan acquired during his time with the Marine Corps., he is able to use his leadership and confidence skills to get through his current career as a security officer day by day.
Balan’s advice to anyone considering joining the Armed Forces is to “explore your options and take complete advantage of all the services and resources. Take advantage of being able to further your education and travel abroad while defending your country.”
Balan has completed his Associate of Arts degree in Administration of Justice with an emphasis in Law as he continues to work as an assistant manager with RMI International for the City of Los Angeles – LAPD Security Services Division.
His main goal is to continue his education by earning his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.
“Coming Home: A Veteran’s Story” is a project between the Living Tree Foundation and the Downey Patriot, with the goal of telling the stories of local veterans. If you are interested in telling your story, contact Julie Garcia at (562) 884-8683 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published: Nov. 20, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 32