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Photo Information

U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Astrid Ramos Roman, an administrative clerk with Force Headquarters Group, Marine Forces Reserve, (left) Pfc. Joel Mendoza, student at Logistic Operation School North Carolina, (middle) Cpl. Ashly Mendoza, a finance technician with Combat Logistics Regiment, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, (right) pose for a photo celebrating Joel’s Marine boot camp graduation in Hollywood, South Carolina, Oct 27, 2023. Ramos was the first in her family to enlist, inspiring her brother and sister to follow in her footsteps. (U.S. Marine Corps courtesy photo by Cpl. Astrid Ramos Roman)

Photo by MARFORRES COMMSTRAT - Web Services

Family in and out of the Corps; a Marine inspires change in her family

14 Feb 2024 | Lance Cpl. Aaron TorresLemus U.S. Marine Corps Forces Reserve

U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Astrid Ramos Roman, an administrative clerk with Force Headquarters Group, Marine Forces Reserve, was the first in her immediate family to leave for Marine Corps Recruiting Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina in October 2020, only to inspire her two siblings to follow in her path.

Originally from Riverside, California, Ramos is now on her second enlistment in the Marine Corps. She and her siblings plan to continue the goal of making their parents proud.

“All three of us thank our parents for their support in the path we chose, and for the love they gave us all these years,” said Ramos. “To my mom, her three Marines are her pride and joy and because of their example, we want to do nothing but to continue that.”

Initially Ramos was interested in joining the United States Air Force, but she was easily influenced when a Marine recruiter contacted her. Ramos was invited to come to a physical training event led by the recruiting office after meeting with her recruiter, Staff Sgt. Jose Vasques, who is currently stationed at Marine Corps Base Lejeune, North Carolina.

Ramos grew up playing sports and was on the varsity soccer team in her high school. She felt confident in her physical abilities, but unfortunately did not initially meet the Marine Corps’ height and weight standards.

“From then on, I would do whatever it takes to run towards the front of our PT events and lose the weight,” said Ramos.

Ramos kept her word. She quit her part-time job and dedicated herself to finishing high school and preparing herself for Marine Corps recruit training. Ramos worked out up to four times a day, twice with Vasques. Once she met qualification standards, Vasques prepared her enlistment paperwork and was ready to make a home visit.

“Both my mom and dad gave up everything in their home country so that they could have a better opportunity for them and their kids,” said Ramos. “They worked countless hours, often missing big milestones in our lives, but for them, it was a sacrifice they were willing to make in order to have the financial means necessary for us to succeed. It was hard with immigrant parents that did not hold a legal status in this country.”

Worried that her mother wouldn’t support her decision on joining the Marine Corps due to her ideology that the military should be a man's job, Ramos spent the whole afternoon nervously looking out the window awaiting Vasques’s arrival. After Vasques showed up to their house and explained the process, Ramos’s mother was hesitant, but to Ramos’s surprise, agreed to sign the papers.

“If this is really what you want and it will make you happy, I will sign the papers,” said Ramos’s mother, Laura Mendoza.

From then on, as the first in her family to ever join the Marine Corps, she was driven to carve a path for herself with the help of her family’s support. Even though her mother was worried at first, she would later become increasingly supportive of her daughter’s decision.

“My mother showed up to all the training events and she drove me as far as she needed in order for me to achieve this,” said Ramos. “She went on diets and worked out with me so that I could meet my weight. I owe my success in the military to my mom, because even today she is supportive in everything we do and motivates us to do our best.”

After leaving for recruit training, her sister, Ashly Mendoza, decided to enlist and left for recruit training while Ramos was still in boot camp.

Three years later, their younger brother Joel Mendoza enlisted in the Marine Corps and completed recruit training. While Ramos may have carved the path for both of her siblings, all three earned the title of United States Marine.

“On the day of my brother's graduation, my mom was so proud and yelled to all the Marines there that she was the mom of all three Marines,” said Ramos.

Ramos has experienced plenty of challenges in her career. She didn’t think she would want to reenlist, but after marrying her husband who is also a Marine and moving to her third unit, she was able to find leadership and peers who are like a second family.

“My unit is really flexible and supportive,” said Ramos. “Being stationed here it seems like we’re just like any other family. They are understanding and even try to help in any way they can.”

Despite challenges in the Corps, Ramos was enabled the opportunity to understand what it means to have brothers- and sisters-in-arms and share that experience with her siblings. Together, they had the opportunity to make their mother and father proud and give back for all the sacrifice that was made to help Ramos and her siblings get where they are today. Ramos is grateful for their parent’s support and is more than content with the path her and her siblings have taken.

“I am proud to have come from the Mendoza family, who shared common blood and now can carry that brotherhood through what we do,” said Ramos. “We are proud to say, we are United States Marines!”