HUMACAO, Puerto Rico --
Santos Alfonso Nieves Baez, is a 23 year old native of Caguas, Puerto Rico. His demeanor reflects a determination to succeed in life not only as a civilian in Puerto Rico but as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.
Baez serves as a lance corporal with Detachment 1, Landing Support Company, Combat Logistics Regiment 45, 4th Marine Logistics Group. He works as a landing support specialist but also fills any position that is needed, including working in the armory or in communications.
At first, Baez wasn’t sure about the military. It was his grandfather who served as an infantryman in the U.S. Army who was a significant factor in his life and held great influence on his choice to become a Marine.
“I made a promise to my grandfather, who fought in the Korean War, and was saved by a Marine. I always felt connected with that Marine for saving my grandfather,” said Baez.
Baez added that the bond between himself and his grandfather was unshakable.
“I used to ask him ‘why me? Why focus on me when you have so many grandchildren?’ He said to me, ‘I see in you the sprit and leadership that I don’t see in others.’”
Even after his grandfather became ill from a cerebral stroke, Baez continued to remain close and cared for him for six years until he passed away in 2011.
“It was when I was about to graduate high school. It was a difficult point for me because I had to watch him deteriorate, but I was prepared to lose him,” Baez said.
Holding true to his promise Baez joined the Marine Corps Reserve. He also attends school to study accounting and business. Additionally, Baez works with his father to build a business of education management, which is a business that helps school aged kids in their primary studies. They also have goals to provide seminars on resume writing and on how to apply for jobs for those looking for employment.
Baez said that once he found out his father was looking to kick off this business, he wanted to be a part of it.
“I wanted to do it because I am one of those people that cares more for others than myself. I just like helping people.”
With his determination to do well in both the civilian world and the Marine Corps, Baez added that experiences from both have helped him become more successful, and he has big plans for the future.
Currently he is finishing his degree in accounting and hopes to receive a commission in the Marine Corps.
Baez went on to say, “One of my goals is to be an infantry officer, and I don’t want to retire without being a colonel. If I can achieve more, that’s even better.”
Ultimately what drives Baez to succeed is the relationships he has found with his fellow Marines.
“The camaraderie in my unit is awesome. Some of us even study in the same college, and we stay in contact with the guys that go to the IRR or join other branches when they get out. It is an unshakable bond that we have.”