"Throughout my career, I have been able to positively impact people in different ways through my service."
Corporal | Marine Corps
She found what she was looking for in an unexpected place: the Marine Corps. Cpl. Garcia-Ortiz, like all Marines, takes a great amount of pride in being part of the Corps. “I think it’s a calling, to be honest,” she says. “Joining was probably one of the best things I ever did, especially at such a young age.”
Not What You Expect
As Cpl. Garcia-Ortiz went through training, she quickly realized the Military isn’t exactly how it’s portrayed: “It’s not just living out in tents 24/7 and disconnecting from the whole world.” Cpl. Garcia-Ortiz also discovered a new network of friends in the Marine Corps. She even got involved with the Female Committee, a group of female Marines who get together to talk, get to know each other and network. “[The Female Committee] gets us together and builds a camaraderie even tighter,” she says. Cpl Garcia-Ortiz worked her way up to be vice president of the Female Committee. “People think females can’t really get involved, that we don’t have a place or we’re just going to be in desk jobs. But the Marine Corps just includes us all. It’s not even about gender anymore. It’s about us representing the Marine Corps. We’re all one team, one fight.” As a matter of fact, females have been in the Marine Corps for over 100 years. The first female Marine was Opha May Johnson in 1918.
Making the Call
Because Cpl. Garcia-Ortiz grew up in Puerto Rico with Spanish as her first language, her communication role did not come easily, but through extensive training and the support of her fellow Marines, she forged a meaningful career that impacts the health and safety of those around her. Now Cpl. Garcia-Ortiz serves as a transmissions system operator, which means she and the Marines on her team have important roles to play in the Marine Corps’ mission.
As a Marine whose primary task is to ensure that the air, ground and sea assets of Marine task forces can communicate with each other, Cpl. Garcia-Ortiz’s job can make all the difference in a mission’s success.
“I like to refer to it as a [proverbial] ‘guardian angel’ because we’re watching out,” she says, “and we ensure that Marines are alive and safe.” She adds, “It builds my public speaking skills. As a speaker, you have to have fluency in the way you speak. You can have a great message but not know how to deliver it. So, as operators, we know how to fluently give out a message and deliver it in a timely manner, in a way that is understood.”
However, it’s not all business. Cpl. Garcia-Ortiz, her husband and their dog live near their duty station in Southern California. After work, they enjoy getting out and exploring what the area has to offer. One of their favorite activities is visiting a pet-friendly vineyard about 15 minutes from where they live.
“The Military is one of the biggest and best opportunities you can get out there, and if you have the opportunity to join, I recommend it.”