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15th Marine Expeditionary Unit

America's Vanguard Force

Camp Pendleton, CA
Leadership 101: Marine from Los Angeles

By Cpl. Steve Lopez | 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit | March 2, 2015

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The Marine expeditionary unit represents everything the Marines Corps offers.

The Marines that comprise the MEU are the first responders to crises around the world. Its success is carried out by young Marines dedicated to maintaining a force in readiness. However, this would not be possible without exceptional senior leadership at the MEU.

Staff Sgt. Javier Salguero considers himself firm but fair. The 30-year-old staff sergeant from Los Angeles teaches his Marines to hold themselves accountable. His time spent as a drill instructor has developed his leadership skills. 

In this interview Salguero, an administrative reach-back cell chief with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, gives insight on what helped him develop into the successful leader he is today.

Q: When and why did you join the Marine Corps?
A: In 2004, I joined because I had nothing back home. I was hanging with the wrong crowd and I wanted to better myself. 

Q: Where did you start your career and why did you decide to start there? 
A: I came in open contract and got assigned to 0111, administrative specialist. I worked in a squadron and deployed three times; I liked the environment. 

Q: Describe your leadership style?
A: My leadership is firm but fair, I hold my Marines accountable. 

Q: Were you always a leader or do you think that’s something the Marine Corps helped develop? 
A: Yeah, going to drill instructor school helped develop my leadership skills. In order to be a good leader though, you have to be a follower first. You can’t always be a leader, you have to learn to be a follower.

Q: Who were your mentors growing up? 
A: My parents before the Marine Corps Definitely Sgt. Maj. Jorge Melendez, because of him I became a drill instructor. He guided me in a good direction. I first met him when I was a corporal and he was a gunnery sergeant. He’s been a good friend and mentor to this day.

Q: What do you expect from yourself and your Marines?
A: I expect to be a good leader, take care of Marines and getting the mission done. From them I expect to do what they are told to do, to be Marines and hold themselves to Marine Corps standards. 

Q: Do you have a family? If so how difficult is it balancing family and the Marine Corps?
A: Yeah, I’m married with three daughters. It’s difficult balancing work, family, and the training you have to do with the Marine Corps. Most important is managing your time while you’re back home.

Q: What are some of your hobbies?
A: I like to ride motorcycles, [and] after coming into the Marine Corps I really got into outdoor activities. I like fishing, going to the lake and camping.

Q: What was your upbringing like?
A: I was born in Guatemala. I came to the United States at 5 years old. I come from a family of four and we lived in a one-bedroom home so we were lower-middle class. I came from a neighborhood where violence and crime was normal. That’s what pushed to me to join the Marine Corps and get out of there, I still wanted to be alive at 21.

Q: What advice would you give Marines?
A: Stick to the basics – what you were taught in recruit training – and hold yourself accountable and to Marine Corps standards.
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