Marine Recruit Ramirez Lost 186 pounds To Join The USMC
In High School, Gabriel Mendez Ramirez weighed 365 pounds and was often the brunt of bullying. But one day, he saw a Marine Corps officer in a restaurant and decided that’s what he wanted as his future. Marine recruit Ramirez learned that if you want something bad enough, you don’t give up.
He stood tall, looking over the top of everyone in the crowded restaurant. He could be spotted from a mile away, not because of his height, but because of the uniform he wore.
His pride and confidence made him seem that much taller than everyone around him. His blood stripe lined the side of his pant leg and his shoes were so perfectly shined, Gabriel Mendez Ramirez could see his reflection staring back at him.
Ramirez’s eyes lit up observing this seemingly perfect person. He knew nothing about the uniform he wore or who he was, so he marched up to him and asked.
He was a United States Marine and from that day forward, Ramirez was determined that he would one day become a part of the Corps and earn his Eagle, Globe and Anchor.
They called Ramirez “Meatball” in high school. He met up with Staff Sgt. Anna Rodrigues in his sophomore year.
“She looked at me, not at my weight. She told me ‘It’s all up to you if you want it,’ and from there I got her card.”
Other branches of service told him he’d never make it. But Recruiting Sub-Station Oceanside worked with him and encouraged him. It’s all hard work, but they told him to not give up.
“I did my first workout with them and it killed me. “I ran a 26-minute mile and a half, I couldn’t do any pull-ups, and I couldn’t even do 20 crunches. But, they always encouraged me, motivated me, and pushed me.” Ramirez
It was a rollercoaster for him emotionally as he tried to lose the weigh and do workouts. He also needed to up his scores on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test. But one month, he tried to give up, and became so discouraged that he quit working toward his goal. That’s when SSgt Rodrigues showed up.
“She called me and asked, ‘What happened? I thought you wanted it’. I asked her, ‘Why are you wasting your time on me?’” Ramirez
She proceeded to explain that he wasn’t a waste of time. Never having experienced that kind of encouragement before, he joined a wrestling team to get rid of the weight. At first the coach, who was a Marine veteran, encouraged him. But when a new coach took over, suddenly Ramirez was back in the ridicule of peers.
Enter once again, SSgt Rodrigues. The self-doubt experienced by this potential recruit left after she “put him in check.”
“She showed up at my house one day out of the blue. She really put me in check that day. She told me to stop doubting myself and just put my mind to what I want to accomplish. I was the only one that could make this happen for me. No one could do it for me.”
At this point, Marine recruit Ramirez is finally ready physically and mentally for the United States Marine Corps. He lost 186 pounds, and fought through all the self-doubt to be on his way to Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego. He’s had to learn to be tough and fight on, thanks to the help of a Staff Sergeant who refused to give up on him. Drill instructors are in his future, so he will be challenged on every level. We hope he will soar to new heights.
Featured photo: Sgt Bernadette Plouffe via DVIDS