Determination, Motivation Drive Youth to Marines

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Marine shows determination in dropping 70 pounds.
Pvt. Jose A. Caban Jr. dropped 70 pounds so he could become a Marine. (Cpl. Tyler Viglione/U.S. Marines)

SAN DIEGO -- Hard work and determination can get people places they never thought they could go. One Marine set his mind to one thing and accomplished it.

Pvt. Jose A. Caban Jr., Platoon 3203, India Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, didn't give up on his goal and lost 70 pounds to enlist in the Marine Corps.

Caban realized what he wanted to do and did whatever he could to accomplish his mission.

"I was overweight since I was a child," said Caban, 20. "As I got older, I got used to it, and it didn't really bother me."

He attended Bullard-Havens Technical High School in his hometown of Bridgeport, Connecticut, where he played on the baseball team as a first baseman and catcher.

Caban graduated high school in 2011 and worked full time at a T-Mobile store.

"I lived awfully," Caban said. "My diet was awful. I didn't really care what I ate. I just didn't take care of myself."

After high school, Caban was unsure of what his plans were going to be, and at the time, he had no interest or intention of joining the military.

About eight months after he graduated high school, Caban was informed of the different opportunities in the service, though.

"I originally was veered more toward the Air Force," Caban said. "I learned that the military had height and weight standards and what I would need to do to get down to them."

Caban explained how he attended a future airman function and immediately realized that the Air Force wasn't enough of a challenge for him and wanted more.

Some time after he had decided not to join the Air Force, he found himself sitting across the desk from a Marine Corps recruiter. He was hooked.

"I was 240 pounds when I first went to my recruiter," Caban said. "I knew I had some serious work to do before I would be able to even enlist."

Caban soon realized he wanted his dream more and more.

He started going to the recruiting station's physical training events and poolee functions to start conditioning his body. His recruiters soon realized his determination and worked one-on-one with him to get him where he needed to be.

"When we first started running, it took us about 30 minutes to run a mile-and-a-half," said Sgt. Yuri R. Rodriguez, recruiter, Recruiting Substation Visalia, California. "We knew how bad he wanted it, and we were willing to help him if he kept his motivation."

She explained he came to the recruiting office every morning to go running, they researched healthy diets and worked a lot on cardiovascular exercises.

"His determination and motivation were unbelievable," said Rodriguez, a native of Lindsay, California. "He is the true example of how nothing is impossible."

When Caban's weight dropped to 170 pounds, he shipped to recruit training and took the next step in his goal.

"Recruit training was rough," Caban said. "There were many times I wanted to give up and go home, but I didn't, and that is all because of my drill instructors. I hated them through it all, but now I am thanking them."

Caban has earned his eagle, globe and anchor and is ready to move on in his Marine Corps career. After graduation, he will continue his training at Marine Combat Training in Marine Corps Base Camp at Pendleton, California, and then to his military occupational specialty school as a tropospheric scatter radio multi-channel equipment operator. He hopes to get education and discipline out of the Marine Corps.

"It is still surreal to be called a Marine after everything I pushed through, and I have finally done it," Caban said. "I want to accomplish as much as I can from here on out. My opportunities are endless."

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