CAMP RIPPER, Iraq --
Information is a key aspect of ensuring Marines are prepared for any given task, as well as helping them make the best informed decisions when it comes to their future service in the Marine Corps. No matter how many Marines there are, someone has to be willing to ensure that every Marine has the necessary and pertinent information they need in order to be successful. That success not only refers to an entire unit, but it also refers to the success of every single Marine who has to make that all-important decision, to stay Marine or get out of the Corps.
Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Guevarra, career planner for Regimental Combat Team 8, works hard to keep Marines well-informed, whether their interests are to re-enlist, lateral move to another job field within the Marine Corps, or return to the civilian job market.
Every so often Marines receive an e-mail or phone call explaining to them the time has come to visit the career planner. Some Marines go into these visits with endless questions pertaining to their futures in the Marine Corps, while others seek information concerning the opportunities that may lie outside of the Corps. To Guevarra, no matter what the question might be, he does everything possible to ensure Marines are adequately informed and prepared to take the next step.
“When a Marine comes to see me, I put myself in his shoes,” Guevarra said. “I treat every package as if it were my own, that way I know the Marines are getting everything they need.”
As stated before, Guevarra shows the same support and commitment to every individual Marine, whether they plan on re-enlisting or choose to leave the Corps.
“I don’t sell the Marine Corps,” commented Guevarra. “It would be easy for me to let a Marine who is planning to get out, just walk out of my office uninformed, but I believe that each and every Marine deserves the right to know what all of their options are.”
Guevarra’s dedication to ensuring Marines are properly educated on issues concerning their professional careers comes from his own personal experiences he had early on in his Marine Corps career.
“When I was a first-termer I didn’t know my career planner,” Guevarra recalled. “I didn’t know anything about boat spaces or all the elements that factored into re-enlisting. So, when my time came to re-enlist, I missed out on a boat space and was forced to make a lateral move.”
When Guevarra was considering his options as to which MOS he had to lateral move into, he knew he wanted to stay in the administration field, so he decided he would try his hand at being a career planner.
“I didn’t have an easy time contacting career planners in the past, prior to
it becoming an MOS, so I wanted to make sure Marines were not being misinformed,” Guevarra said. “I wanted to make sure they really got the information they needed. Basically I just wanted to do the job and do it right.”
More than just offering Marines options within their current military occupational specialties, Guevarra also assists Marines in exploring other possibilities the Marine Corps has to offer.
“A lot of times I get Marines in here who just aren’t happy with their current job. Instead of letting a Marine continue in a field that he’s lost interest in, I’ll look at their records, see what they’re eligible for, and go through those alternatives with them. This way they have a lot more options when it comes time for them to make a final decision,” Guevarra said.
Not only is Guevarra’s work evident to the Marines he assists, but it is also very visible to those who work around him.
“He goes about his duties very professionally,” said Cpl. Jason Morris, who works as an assistant to the career planner. “He talks to Marines on a personal level, and he puts his all into getting Marines what they need.”
Although Morris is an infantryman by trade, he says that working alongside Guevarra has been a great experience.
“He has a lot of information that he’s been passing on to me, I pretty much know the ins and outs of putting together a re-enlistment package now,” Morris stated. “The organization skills I’ve learned from this experience are definitely something I’ll take back with me.”
Day-in and day-out, Marines are always called upon to make decisions that will contribute to their welfare as well as the well-being of those Marines around them. In some situations, such as options concerning career opportunities, Marines may not have all the information needed to make those sound and timely decisions. Fortunately for the Marines of RCT-8, they have a career planner who continues to stay dedicated to ensuring that every Marine receives all the information they need in order to remain successful in or out of the Corps.