CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Reliability is a trait this San Fernando, Calif., native learned from his father. He's used it as a foundation to build his life upon. It's even helped him gain the recognition of his superiors on occasion.
Most recently, Cpl. Jesse R. Mendoza, tactical field radio operator, was personally recognized as the noncommissioned officer of the quarter for the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit in the first quarter of 2012. This follows a couple prestigious awards to units of which he has been a part.
"We won the (2010 Lt. Col. Kevin M. Shea Memorial Unit Award)," said Mendoza, of the 26th MEU's communications section. "I didn't (initially) realize how significant the award was."
The significance was difficult to understand for the 22-year-old because success like this has been commonplace around Mendoza. "We also won it when I was with (8th Communications Battalion)," he said of the 2009 award.
With the 26th MEU's last deployment, Mendoza was part of a team that faced numerous challenges that come along with integrating communications across armed services and between the different elements of the amphibious Marine Air-Ground Task Force and expeditionary environment, according to Master Sgt. John O'Connell Jr., 26th MEU communications chief. Between humanitarian assistance in Pakistan; anti-piracy; supporting Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Odyssey Dawn, and Operation Unified Protector; and facilitating communications between aircraft, ships, and land units, the section was fully stress-tested across numerous areas of responsibility. And Mendoza excelled in an exemplary manner.
"He is humble, professional and responsible," said O'Connell.
Mendoza echoes those comments by recognizing the Marines that work alongside him.
"My work section always tries to do its best," Mendoza said. "I like working with my peers. We accomplish a lot of great stuff together. Even on short notice, we got it done."
His commitment to a team and pursuit of excellence started when he was a child playing sports like soccer, football and basketball. During middle school, he played soccer for a park league that consistently placed in the top three.
According to Mendoza, pride in his work is what drives him to do the best he can. he recognizes people are relying on him and he doesn't want to shirk his responsibilities. His dad set that example for him, and his dad's friends confirmed this through their positive actions and words when speaking to, or about his father.
Mendoza's father even influenced his decision to join the Corps.
"I joined the military because my dad joined when he was in Guatemala," said Mendoza. "I heard him talking about it when I was growing up. He said it was rough, but he got a lot of good things from it."
At the end of his four years of service, he now leaves his won influence for junior Marines.
"It can get hectic and rough in the beginning (of deployment)," said Mendoza. "But the MEU has its fun times-like visiting ports in different countries. And it has opportunities for Marines to standout and get promoted."
Like many Marines before him, Mendoza will not make the Corps a career. The slender leader of Marines is choosing to move in a different direction once his obligated service comes to an end this summer. he has aspirations of becoming a commercial diver by way of the Commercial Diving Academy in Jacksonville, Fla. If his record as a Marine is any indication of his ability to succeed, he'll surely rise above the challenge.