MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz., -- A station Marine from Marine Aircraft Group 13 was named the Noncommissioned Officer of the Quarter for the I Marine Expeditionary Force on July 12.
Sgt. Jerry Garza, MAG-13 armory quality assurance NCO, beat out thousands of other candidates from throughout the I MEF to bring home the title and show what it means to go above and beyond the call of duty.
Garza is one of those Marines who not only strives to better himself, but those around him, said Sgt. Maj. Philip L. Coble, MAG- 13 sergeant major. He displays great leadership ability in and out of uniform, doing his best at any task he is given. This, combined with the magnitude of the award, also earned Garza a meritorious promotion to the rank of sergeant on Aug. 2.
“Garza has set an example which would challenge other NCOs with even the heartiest work ethic who attempt to emulate it,” wrote Coble in his letter of recommendation. “His own dedication and endurance in difficult duties are beyond reproach and are awe inspiring not only to junior Marines within his scope, but senior as well.”
There is no ignoring Garza’s accomplishments as a Marine and servant to the community, said Sgt. Andrew Durivage, MAG-13 armory supervisor and native of Temecula, Calif.
In addition to his duties as an armory NCO, Garza has also taken on the responsibility of a leader in combat training, as a Marine Corps Martial Arts Program brown-belt instructor.
Garza has been teaching his fellow Marines since December of 2005, and has supervised more than 300 hours of sustainment, belt advancement and instructor training within MAG-13.
“I’m all about training Marines,” said Garza. “Going out there and doing what Marines do -- training, kicking some butt and having a good time -- I love it and I don’t think I could ask for anything more than to just train Marines.”
Garza has also completed the corporals course, where he graduated at the top of his class, volunteered in the community to help a local elementary school run a field meet, completed 30 college credits toward a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, yet he has still found time to run a good family household, said Coble.
The best thing about Garza is that he is the same person outside of work that he is in it, said Pvt. Dwayne Schmidt, MAG-13 armorer and native of Clementon, N.J. He is a really easy-going guy who knows when to be tough and how to help his Marines without being overbearing.
He is the type of Marine who will take the time to show Marines how to do something and ensure they are proficient enough to perform those tasks alone, said Durivage.
Despite all the praise from his peers and command, and his multiple accomplishments as a Marine leader and servant to the community, Garza remains humble and thankful to the leaders who helped get him to where he is.
Getting Marine of the Quarter for I MEF is like winning the lottery, said the Kerrville, Texas native.
“It’s something unbelievable; something that, when it happens, you don’t believe it at first,” said Garza.
Garza said he was just doing his job and following the guidance provided to him by Durivage. It is truly amazing that Garza has been able to take every piece of guidance that has been provided to him and apply it to himself, said Durivage
“Nobody is born with the ability to work 18-hour days, but it has to start with determination and endurance,” said Durivage.
That is something Garza never lacked and that is why he will go as far as he desires in the Marine Corps, said Durivage.
Garza plans to continue striving to better himself. His next goals are to become a MCMAP instructor trainer and later continue training Marines as a drill instructor.
This just goes to show Marines that they can accomplish as much as they want and go as far as they can imagine if they have the drive to do so, said Garza.