CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
U.S. Marine Lt. Gen. “Chesty” Puller (Ret.) once said “If you don’t prepare yourself to properly train him, lead him and support him, then you’re going to let him down. That is unforgivable in the Marine Corps.”
One Denver native understands what it means to “prepare yourself” and strives every day to be better for his Marines.
“I joined the Marine Corps because I wanted to give back to my country in the best way possible,” said U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Cristian LobatosSanchez. “Now I want to serve my Marines and be the one they strive to emulate.”
LobatosSanchez is an Aurora, Colo. native and was recruited out of Recruiting Sub-Station Metro East in November of 2015 during his senior year at Aurora Central High School.
“When I spoke to the recruiter for the first time, he had contacted my mother’s cell phone,” he said. “I was playing video games and I was really considering just hanging up the phone, but then he mentioned travel and a way to have my college payed for. I made an appointment for the following Monday.”
During his first meeting with his recruiter, LobatosSanchez organized the infamous “benefit tags” by preference. Benefit tags are small metal plaques which describe benefits the Marine Corps has to offer. He recalls vividly the first three on his list- travel, confidence and personal development.
After seeing his bother struggle to pay for college, he said he didn’t want to have a similar experience and looked for other opportunities in the workforce. LobatosSanchez eventually enlisted in the Marines and departed for Recruit Training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego on September 5, 2016.
Following his entry-level training, LobatosSanchez began learning his new trade- administration.
“Doing [administrative] work seemed like a job that could transfer into the civilian life well,” he said. “It seemed like a good skill to have.”
He checked into the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, I Marine Expeditionary Force in April 2017 as an administrative specialist. Being a Marine in the operating forces did not come easy to him at first.
“After I arrived at Camp Pendleton, I ran a Combat Fitness Test and it was nowhere near what I expected from myself,” said LobatosSanchez. “I ran a second class CFT, the worst I had ever ran. I knew one day there would be junior Marines under me, and I had to set the example. I saw my flaw, so I decided to fix it.”
LobatosSanchez has stuck to a strict diet and exercise plan since November of 2017.
“I go to the gym every day at around 8 p.m., regardless of how tired I may be from work,” said LobatosSanchez. “I have Marines now, so how can I expect him to strive for excellence if I don’t? I believe in leading by example, and I hope my example is made very clear to my Marines.”
His command has recognized him as the “Motivator of the Week” for his dedication to duty and his Marines.
“Cpl. LobatosSanchez is the pure embodiment of any senior staff non-commissioned officer or officer’s definition of what an NCO should be,” said Staff Sgt. Joseph Fralix, the administrative chief for the 13th MEU. “He is constantly striving to be better at everything he does. He is the definition of act as the rank you want, not the rank you are.”
LobatosSanchez credits his success to the Marines he serves alongside daily.
“I am honored that the Marines around me believe in me. It is because of them that I keep pushing to be better,” he said.
LobatosSanchez currently serves as an administrative clerk, a rifle bearer for color guard, and command physical training representative with the 13th MEU.
The California-based 13th MEU is a scalable, and highly capable Marine Air Ground Task Force, designed to rapidly respond to a wide-range of military operations around the globe.
(U.S. Marine Corps Story by Cpl. A.J. Van Fredenberg)