KHAFFIJIYAH, Iraq --
Many Marines enlist with the plan to do their four years and then get out, but some do this and realize they haven’t had enough of the corps for one life-time.
Sergeant Luis E. Maceira, a section leader with Combined Anti-Armor Team 2, Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 2, joined the Marine Corps on April 15, 1996, in order to follow the path of his father and uncles who were Marines during the Vietnam War.
“They influenced me a lot. My father was a radio operator and my uncles were infantrymen,” Maceira said.
Maceira, a native of Humacao, Puerto Rico, also joined in order to provide a better life for his wife and daughter.
“I figured this would be the best way to start a good life as a father and a husband,” Maceira said. “I was 23, so it didn’t really matter to my mother. I know she was ecstatic to see that I was following my father’s footsteps.”
After completion of recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C., he then graduated from the School of Infantry at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
“My first unit was Weapons Platoon, India Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines,” Maceira said. “I went on many deployments with them and was constantly training.”
While with 3/8, Maceira deployed to Japan, Korea, Haiti, and Kosovo.
After his first enlistment, Maceira left the Marine Corps to work as a police officer in Puerto Rico from February 2003 to January 2005. The section leader had some unfinished business and missed the Marine Corps; he decided it was the place for him. Maceira rejoined and was assigned to Weapons Company, 1/3 in March 2005.
“My goals in life were to be a Marine and a cop. Since I achieved both goals, I figure I would go back to the Corps and finish what I started,” Maceira said.
Since joining 1/3, Maceira has deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and is currently deployed to Khaffijiyah in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“So far things are going great out here, and we’re doing really well. It’s different when you’re actually here than when you just see Iraq on T.V., it gives a better outlook on what’s really going on,” said the 34-year-old. “Our battalion has taken no serious casualties so far. I hope it continues to go well, so it can be even better for the next unit.”
Maceira recalled when his platoon got the chance to build a combat out post in northern Al Anbar Province.
“It was pretty significant, and what we accomplished is something I’ll remember for a long time,” Maceira added. “It’s really rewarding operating with my junior Marines and seeing them develop new identities. It gives me a sense of accomplishment.”
Maceira explained that his goals for this deployment were to not only bring his Marines home safe, but transform them all into leaders during the deployment.
“I try and be like a brother or father figure to them,” Maceira said. “I just try to mentor my Marines and give them the best advice from my experiences in life and in the Marine Corps.”
While in Iraq, his duties consist of specializing in leading security using anti-armor operations using heavy weapons.
Although his duties may be considered tough while deployed, Maceira hopes to receive orders for recruiting duty once he returns.
“I just want to do some catch up with my family and spend as much time as I can for them, and I know being on recruiting duty would allow me to do this,” Maceira added. “I plan on retiring from the Corps and someday becoming a sheriff in Wisconsin. I’ll never forget the time I spent in the Corps and the qualities I’ve obtained will always follow with me.”