Military News

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Face of Defense: From Bare Feet to Combat Boots

By Marine Pfc. Alvin Pujols
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif., April 27, 2015 – People come from around the world to join the ranks of the U.S. Marine Corps. For one Marine in particular, earning the title meant the biggest opportunity of his life.

Being born in Colon, Panama, Marine Cpl. Osmar S. Gorish couldn’t imagine that one day he would be in charge of a $2 million piece of equipment for the Corps.

“We used to play soccer in the streets barefoot and our toys consisted of bike tire rims being pushed by clothes hangers,” said Gorish, now a section chief for Battery A, 1st Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division.

“We made a makeshift foosball [game] out of a shoe box, clip hangers and a shaved down rock,” Gorish said.

A Big Blue Banner

When Gorish’s mother married his stepfather, he was given the opportunity to come to the United Sates and become a naturalized citizen. He and his family moved to Dallas, where Gorish finished high school.

During a job fair at his high school, Gorish noticed a man in blue with a big blue banner reading “MARINES” and quickly approached. He explained that he did not speak English very well and told the recruiter his story.

“The Marine recruiter was not only the first to call me back, but the only one that showed interest of all the recruiters I talked to,” Gorish said.

Gorish decided to take the opportunity and left for Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego on Sept. 5, 2011, with an open contract. He learned he was to become a field artillery cannoneer and after completing Marine combat training, he was off to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, for field artillery school.

Ambition Leads to Leadership

Gorish was then stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, with 1st Battalion, 11th Marines, where he gained more hands-on experience with artillery. As his capabilities grew, Gorish learned to perform the responsibilities of each of the crew positions in the M777A2 155mm Medium Towed Howitzer.

Marine Cpl. Jonathan V. Morales, an assistant gunner for Battery A, said Gorish was always a hard worker and always a team player.

With his ambition driving him, Gorish soon went to school to become a gun chief, which meant he would now be leading the Marines he had been working with for years.

“Gorish was very nervous his first field operation as chief,” said Marine Cpl. Jose S. Perez, a gunner for Battery A. “He kept asking the gun section how he was doing and was more like a team member with a leadership role.”

Close, Proficient Team

Marine Staff Sgt. Miguel A. Placido, the battery gunnery sergeant, said after a year as a chief, Gorish has now become a great leader with a close team. He grew with his team since they were privates and has even deployed with his Marines, Placido added.

Gorish and his team have become so proficient in their field that not even the audience of Maj. Gen. Lawrence D. Nicholson, the commanding general of the 1st Marine Division, could rattle their focus and precision during a live-fire mission.

The gun respects Gorish not only because he sweats with us but because he looks after his team, Cpl. Michael A. Chavez, a field artillery canoneer with Battery A, said.

“His hard work and dedication to what he does has created a really tight knit [team],” Placido said. “He leads his peers well.”

With his enlistment coming to an end, Gorish said he’s grateful for the opportunity the United States Marine Corps has given him. He said he plans to study computer science when he returns to Dallas.

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