DURNESS, SCT, UNITED KINGDOM -- Few people choose to accept the responsibility of becoming a United States Marine. Even fewer make the commitment to maintaining a civilian career while fulfilling their role as a member of the Marine Corps Reserve. For Cpl. David Rodriguez, juggling his civilian duties with his Marine Corps obligations is nothing short of that ethos.
Born in Cuba, Rodriguez, a Miami Lakes, Florida native and Reserve Marine with 4th Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, Force Headquarters Group, is participating as a forward observer during the semi-annual exercise Joint Warrior 18, in Durness, Scotland, April 18-May 2, 2018. When he isn't conducting his Marine Corps duties, Rodriguez works as the regional manager for a start-up solar company in Florida and southern California.
“This is my second time coming to Joint Warrior,” said Rodriguez. “Just like last time, being here is a real eye-opener. How the rest of these countries view Marines, especially 4th ANGLICO as a liaison element, and specifically working with all the different countries, has given me the ability to lead and learn how to handle a lot of different duties and responsibilities.”
Reserve Marines spend a minimum of two weeks each year building their capabilities at an annual training exercise. This year, the West Palm Beach, Florida, based 4th ANGLICO company is taking advantage of Scotland's cold and rugged training terrain to test their mettle in an environment completely opposite of where they're from.
“The cold here is definitely tough, since we're all coming from Florida,” said Rodriguez. “It's made me become more creative in the field for when building observation points when it's extremely windy and raining. It's obviously a change, but at the end of the day, the mission comes first and we will do whatever it takes to get the mission accomplished.”
The Reserve force regularly augments active duty operations across the globe. Last year, Rodriguez spent time cultivating his capabilities as a leader of Marines when he attended corporals course for his annual training.
“I joined the military out of duty, but joined the Marine Corps to fight,” Rodriguez recounts on his early-aged desires to be in the military. “This is my first annual training as a corporal and I've taken that education and applied it to my everyday life. Becoming a corporal has weight and responsibilities and I have to be able to execute and perform at a high level for my team and the junior Marines watching.”
For now, Rodriguez is focused on getting the most out of his training at Joint Warrior 18. With his eyes set to possibly deploy or attach to a Marine Expeditionary Unit later this year, he knows the nation's call to activate could come any day. And, when it does, he'll be ready.