Letters from the Front

By Yessica Ramos, CWO2, USMC

Yessica’s daughter Young Marine’s Graduation. (L-R) Anylina Ramos, Aurianna Ramos, and Yessica Ramos. Kadeena, AFB Okinawa, Japan, 2019.

I am a proud Latina with Ecuadorian origins. I am a Utilities Chief Warrant Officer in the Marine Corps. As a young child, I always had an interest in joining the military. I would always dress up like GI Joe and carry a kitchen utensil or anything that could resemble a weapon on my “war” belt. My mother, being a single parent, putting herself through school, and becoming a citizen, had a lot on her plate.

As the oldest of three, I helped my mom with establishing an organized structure. I use to watch a lot of war movies, such as “Pearl Harbor” and “The Patriot” and felt the same every time, wishing that one day I can be a part of the military to make a difference in the world.

2019 Marine Corps Ball. (L-R) Anylina Ramos, Aurianna Ramos, and Yessica Ramos. Camp Butler, Okinawa, Japan, 2019.

I am from North Bergen, NJ which is minutes away from the Lincoln Tunnel to go into Manhattan, NY. I was in high school when 9/11 occurred. Even though I had earned a full scholarship for soccer to attend NJIT, all I could think about was joining the military to help. Initially, because of how 9/11 happened, I wanted to become a pilot to keep enemies away. However, during my first semester, a Marine recruiter spoke to me about the Marine Corps and everything it had to offer. The only issue was being 17 and needing my mother’s signature. After begging her and hearing from the recruiter what my future could be, she saw that this was something I had always dreamed of. It has been 17 years and I can say I still thank my mother for signing the papers. Just like everything in life, I had ups and downs.

Drill Instructor School Graduation. (Sgt Ramos). Parris Island, South Carolina, 2009.

Once I joined in 2003, I started making my bucket list in boot camp from deploying to becoming a Drill Instructor, and ultimately transitioning into an Officer. I have made so many sacrifices along the way. There is absolutely no way I would have been able to do any of it without the support of my family. In 2004, I deployed to OIF I and made me dream a reality by walking around with a full combat load during a real war. It was very hard work, but really gave me a sense of purpose of why I joined.

Reenlistment Ceremony. (L-R) CWO2 Ramos and 1st Lt Williams. Okinawa, Japan, 2019.

Unfortunately, in 2007, I had to leave my 10-month-old daughter with my mother in order to deploy to Iraq again to support OIF II. Upon my return, I was accepted to attend Drill Instructor School. I spent less than a year with her, dropped her off again, and couldn’t have her until almost three years later. Once I was able to have her again, we moved to CA where I volunteered to deploy to OEF in Afghanistan. I was then accepted to teach at the Marine Corps Engineer Schoolhouse and was accepted to become a Warrant Officer. I have had the honor and privilege of meeting endless extraordinary people, especially Latinos, and the opportunity to continue positively influencing change (COVID-19).