View Full Version : Support reminds Marine why he serves

07-21-09, 08:56 AM
Support reminds Marine why he serves
By Erin McKeon
The Facts

Published July 21, 2009
WEST COLUMBIA — The calm, respectful and seemingly soft-spoken man who stood in front of a crowd of friends, family and Brazoria County Cavalry members has often called his parents with no voice because he had yelled at people all day long, he said.

Staff Sgt. Lucas Rodriguez, 27, has been a drill instructor for several of his nine years in the Marine Corps, and is about to begin his second deployment. His first was for a year in Iraq, and when he heads overseas in August, he’ll be going for a year to Afghanistan, he said.

“It’s been nine years and it’s gone by fast,” Rodriguez said during a welcome-home celebration Sunday evening. “It has its ups and downs like any career, but there are more ups than downs, and you get to make good friends and family. You’re around these good people all the time, and they become sort of like your family out there. You also get to travel all around the world, so that doesn’t hurt.”

Rodriguez followed his older brother, Juan III, into the military about four years after his sibling enlisted, he said. Rodriguez joined the Marine Corps straight after his graduation from Angleton High School in 2000, and said he plans to go career military.

“I saw the change it gave my brother with discipline and making your own money and traveling around the world and I decided to follow in his footsteps.”

Silvia Rodriguez, Lucas’ mother, asked the Brazoria County Cavalry to come out to her son’s celebration so he would know how many people support him.

“I just feel like they need to know that not only does their family support them, but others they don’t know support them, too,” Silvia Rodriguez said.

Lucas Rodriguez currently is stationed at Camp Pendleton in southern California and came home to visit his family Saturday night. He leaves today to continue training at Camp Pendleton and will be deployed to Afghanistan in early August, he said.

For Rodriguez, there are times he has to remind himself why he’s in the military.

“Sometimes you wonder why you’re out there and why you’re away from your family and if anyone cares,” he said. “But to come home and see all these people and how they support the military, this is why.”

He said some people don’t have family who send mail or have a support system back home, but then they receive care packages from strangers who support them, or see a friend who had a welcome-home party attended by people in the town or county, and their faith in people is restored.

And as long as Juan Rodriguez II knows his son is taken care of and is helping others along the way, that’s all he can ask for, he said.

“I didn’t get mad at him when he told me he was going into the Marines,” Juan Rodriguez said. “I’ve never once told either of my sons, ‘Hey, what’d you sign up for?’ If your kids are doing something that’s right, you’ve got to let your kids follow that road. If they’re doing something that’s not right, yeah, you’ve got to jump in, but not for this.”