FORT WORTH, Texas - What would you give to achieve your dream? An Arlington, Texas, native showed great discipline and self-control to push himself for the past two years to reach his goal.
Nicholas Gomez, an individual waiting to go to recruit training or a poolee, at Recruiting Substation Arlington, shredded 70 pounds to begin his journey to become a United States Marine. “The first time I ever walked into a recruiting office was when I was 10 years old and it was the very same office I am at now,” said Gomez. “At the time, 9/11 had just occurred and I decided then the best thing I could do was join the Marines. It would take another 12 years and losing a lot of weight to accomplish that dream.”
One standard for Marines and those wishing to become Marines is the weight standard. It is the strictest out of all the branches. If a poolee doesn’t meet those standards, they will not receive the chance to go to recruit training.
“As a recruiter, we can’t qualify the unqualified,” said Staff Sgt. Chase Sims, staff noncommissioned officer in charge of RSS Arlington. “However, if an individual is not at their required weight, we will give it our all to help them reach it.”
Gomez, age 22, has dreamed of enlisting into the armed forces since he was 10 year old watching the deadly terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania replaying on his television.
“I wanted to join the services after watching the 9/11 attacks when I was younger,” said Gomez. “I wanted to do my part to help protect my country. I chose the Marines because they have the most pride and have always stood out to me.”
He encountered his first obstacle about two years ago when he weighed 275 pounds and first tried to enlist in the Marine Corps, but was told he couldn’t until he lost some weight.
Gomez took on the challenge, and over the past couple years, he has kept a healthy diet and exercises regularly, but it is not an easy mission. The reason he keeps moving forward is to eventually earn the title of United States Marine.
“The hardest thing for me has been to keep my diet in check,” said Gomez. “I drive past all the different restaurants and I want (their food), but I know I shouldn’t, if I want to reach my goal. My motivation has amped up a little since I just recently got a gym membership.”
A key to achieving a goal is motivation, Sims explained.
“(Gomez) has been one of the most motivated poolees I have ever seen,” said Sims, a recruiter for a little more than a year. “If a poolee has the passion for the Marine Corps like Gomez, I have to match that same passion level and it makes my job worth while.”
Gomez said his motivation comes from his family, friends and Junior ROTC, which is something he genuinely enjoyed in high school.
He came one step closer to achieving his goal by shredding the weight and being accepted into the Delayed Entry Program (DEP) June 20, 2013.
The DEP facilitates poolees acquiring basic Marine Corps knowledge. In addition to knowledge, they prepare mentally and physically for recruit training.
“I think being in the DEP will help me stay mentally right to get where I need to be,” said Gomez. “I also think I can help the younger and less mature people in the DEP to get where they need to be as well.”
Gomez is slated to head to recruit training in San Diego April 14. He has high expectations hoping to discover a career and serve 20 or more years. He said he might become an officer if the occasion arises.
“(The recruiters) will keep the water boiling for him and get him ready to go to boot camp,” said Sims. “He has the drive to be a Marine and we’ll give him the tools he needs to succeed.”
So what would you do to achieve your goal?
“I would give anything to achieve my goal of becoming a Marine,” said Gomez. “It’s what I have strived for these last 10 years.”