Hector Garcia

Oberlin College Library


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00:00:00 - Introduction to interview with Hector Garcia (LEDE) 00:00:30 - Early Life; Family, Friends, and Opportunity

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Partial Transcript: Can you begin by telling me where you were born and where you grew up?

Yeah, so, I was born in the South Bronx, in New York. From there I lived pretty much up until about '92. Then I moved out with my dad down to Brooklyn. Growing up in the 80s in the South Bronx was a little rough...

Segment Synopsis: Hector Garcia grew up in the South Bronx in the 1980s. He did not graduate from high school, nor did he think about the military growing up. Instead, his decision to join the military came as a method of survival. Hector dropped out of High School in 9th grade and was placed in a Brooklyn Detention Center. While at the center, a military recruiter approached him and gave him the opportunity to enlist in the military. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and started boot camp in January 2001. He was only 17 at the time, and thus his father had to sign for him. He did boot camp in South Carolina, which he felt like the detention center prepared him for.

Keywords: Bootcamp; High School; Juvenile Detention; Puerto Rico; Recruitment; enlistment; opportunity

00:10:52 - Going into Training and Military Service

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Partial Transcript: Where did you go do your training? Do you have any specific memories from this time?

Yeah. Paris Island, South Carolina, Yellow Footprint, you know? That was a... like I said, god moves you and prepares you for a lot of things, right? Me going through that detention home program kind of helped ease the transition because I was already used to having the little correction officers yell at us and treat us in that kind of a manner...

Segment Synopsis: During boot camp in South Carolina, he felt like the detention center prepared him for. After boot camp he became a field radio operator in California, and then he was deployed in Okinawa Japan. He states that traveling to Japan changed his life. There, he met his wife, they traveled together in what he says was similar to “free vacations” and they were deployed together. The most challenging part of military service to him was adjustment. He had to adjust to a different work ethic and way of life. He believes that his military service saved his life by getting him out of New York

Keywords: Basic Training; North Carolina; family; service; travel; wife

00:19:29 - Re-Enlistment

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Partial Transcript: Is that when you re-enlisted?

After I re-enlisted, we left Okinawa and I got stationed with 1st Battalion 8th Marines in North Carolina. From there I deployed to different parts... Spain, France, Italy, Cyprus, Jordan, Kuwait, Iraq...

Segment Synopsis: Hector then re-enlisted in North Carolina. After re-enlistment, he traveled around the world to Spain, France, Italy, Cyprus, Jordan, Kuwait, Iraq (etc). Through his travels, he got to experience different cultures, which made him more humble, and look at life differently. These experiences made him understand the value of his humanitarian work in the Marine Corps. After his experiences growing up, as well as being exposed to different kinds of social inequalities globally, he understood the importance of making a difference in people’s lives, and giving back to less fortunate people. He was in North Carolina for a total of 4.5 years, where he and his wife had 2 children.

Keywords: Marines; Social Work; U.S. Marines; USMC

00:23:17 - Becoming a Recruiter and Establishing a Family after Enlistment

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Partial Transcript: ... I'm gonna harp on that a little bit. It was a crazy conversation. So, as a recruiter back in New York City, at home in Queens; I'm in my office and we have this list of high schools. We call seniors and talk to them to try and give them information on the Corp, right? So I talked to this one kid and he said, "Y'know, I had thought about it." And as a recruiter you like... Man, let me go ahead and jump on that. So, and I said, "What made you think about it?" And he said, "When I was a kid... Me and my family were in Lebanon..."

Segment Synopsis: After his time in North Carolina, he became a recruiter in Queens, New York. He worked non-stop as a recruiter, from Sunday to Sunday. In New York, he and his wife had 2 more children. At this point, he wanted to leave the service in order to be a good husband and father to his family.

Keywords: Family; New York City; Recruitment; Relationships; Transition

00:34:50 - Attending the Marine Corp Ball and Reflecting on Friends in the Military

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Segment Synopsis: Hector reflects on the Marine Corps Ball. This ball gives Marine Corps members a chance to reflect on who they are, what they have accomplished, and feel pride to be part of history and tradition. He remains in touch with some of the kids he has recruited, and he has gotten the opportunity to watch them grow up. Some have joined the military and are still enlisted, while others have gone on to attend college.

Keywords: Celebration; Marine Corp Ball; pride; reflection; tradition

00:41:17 - Going into Social Work

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Partial Transcript: Thats what made me want to get my degree in social work... Which I did.

I don't want to skip any of your history, as now you work at Lorain Community College, so do you want to talk about how you went into that?

Yeah, so, one of the transitions of getting out of the service was, "Whats the next step? How do Veterans adapt to the civilian life?"

Segment Synopsis: After his service ended, Hector used the benefits from the post 9/11 military to go to school. He received a degree from Youngstown in social work.
Veteran programming within Lorain Community College.

Keywords: Civilian life; GI Bill; Lorain; Lorain Community College; Post 9/11; Social Work; Youngstown

00:47:04 - Self-Reflection on experience serving

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Partial Transcript: How did your experiences in the military change you?

Segment Synopsis: Overall, he believes that his military service changed him for the good, and he is now a better person because of what the military did for him. Speaking about race, he said that he did not see race in the Marine Corps until after getting out. It wasn’t until he got out and went to college that he saw the importance of the Hispanic contribution to the U.S.. He then saw the importance of representation and the importance of Latinos receiving equality.

Keywords: Change; Future; Hispanic; Service; War; strength