An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


Photo Information

Lance Cpl. Xander Gonzalez a data Marine with Marine Wing Support Squadron 473, Marine Aircraft Group 41, 4th Marine Air Wing, Marine Forces Reserve, types code into his computer at Canadian Forces Base Cold Lake during exercise Maple Flag 50, June 2, 2017. When not training at his monthly drill or annual training, Gonzales works as an elementary school computer technician, applying his military occupational specialty to his civilian job. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Niles Lee/Released)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Niles Lee

Faces of the Force: Lance Cpl. Xander Gonzales

12 Jun 2017 | Lance Cpl. Niles Lee U.S. Marine Corps Forces Reserve

Working daily in the civilian realm, reserve Marines often choose civilian jobs that reflect their military occupational specialty, using skills the Marine Corps has taught them to advance their civilian career.

The Marine Corps trains Marines to be technically and tactfully proficient in their MOS and to be better citizens and leaders, qualities valued by civilian employers.

Lance Cpl. Xander Gonzales, a San Diego native, and data Marine with Marine Wing Support Squadron 473, Marine Aircraft Group 41, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Forces Reserve, thanks his career in the Marine Corps Reserve for helping him get a job as an elementary school computer technician.

“If I hadn’t joined the Marine Corps I wouldn’t have my current job,” said Gonzales.

After returning from Communications school in 2015, Gonzales applied for a position as a computer technician at Otay Elementary School in the Chula Vista school district. He interviewed with school principle Monica Castillo and eventually getting the job.

“When I found out he was a Marine I thought of it as a bonus,” Castillo said. “Being enlisted in the Marine Corps, I feel that it shows that he has commitment and is able to go through thick and thin with the kids, and be a positive role model for our students.”

Despite being a junior Marine and employed at his first professional civilian job, Gonzales’ co-workers and the students at Otay Elementary view him as a leader and someone who takes charge.

“Civilians don’t see the rank, they just see a Marine,” said Sgt. Joshua E. Pelino a data chief with MWSS-473. “When an employer looks at a Marine, they know that Marines are supposed to be leaders, even as Lance Corporals.”

With no college education, Gonzales leaned heavily on what he learned at MOS school when he first began his civilian job.

“I had never really gone to college, all I had was my high school diploma and what I learned through the Marine Corps,” said Gonzales.

Through the Marine Corps, Gonzales learned all the skills needed for his civilian job and earned associate-level Cisco certifications.

“All of the training we receive is taught in a civilian course,”  Pelino said. “We’re still taught by Marines but its civilian courses. What you do here [in the Marine Corps] is the same as you do in the outside world.”

The Marine Corps trains Marines to be better citizens, be technically and tactfully proficient at their job and develop leadership abilities. Reserve Marines are in a unique position to represent the ‘corps in their civilian careers and communities.

Gonzales plans to stay working for Otay Elementary School and stay in the Marine Corps, furthering his civilian and Marine Corps career.

More Media