The biggest mission for us is
we make Marines, we bring
those individuals into the Marine
Corps we hope to make Marines,
and we win our nation’s battles.
The big-ticket item on trying to
accomplish those three missions is
getting the applicants and getting
them prepared for boot camp.
As the commander here, I am in
charge of what we call recruiters on
production, or ROP. We have 70 sectors — that’s how many recruiters I
rate to go out on the streets. We
cover five counties: Kern, Santa
Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Los Angeles and Ventura. I believe it’s a little
over 23,000 square miles.
We are the largest in MCRC
[Marine Corps Recruiting Command] in the amount of ROP we
have. We have this higher standard, and it very much is that little
phrase of ‘the few and the proud.’
Not everyone is able to do it.
I went to Loyola University. I was
hoping to be pre-history or pre-law.
My mom was like, ‘You’d better fin-
ish college, it’s very important.’
Neither of my parents had gone to
college and finished. So I was like,
‘OK mom, I’m going to make it hap-
pen.’ I couldn’t afford to stay in col-
lege, and I decided, ‘I think I’m
going to join the military.’
In high school, the biggest pres-
ence were Marine recruiters. The stu-
dents who graduated and went to be
Marines always came back and they’d
talk to their friends. You see this
transformation; you’re not the kid we
used to hang out with last year. They
look so much more mature and they
stand so much taller and their pants
aren’t hanging down. All those little
things, you think, ‘Wow, I want that.’
They just exude confidence.
I just walked in [to the recruiter’s
office] and said, ‘I want to join the
Marine Corps, what do I have to
do?’ My mom was extremely supportive. She was born and raised in
Puerto Rico, and they had some
NROTC [Navy Reserve Officers
Training Corps] type of equivalent,
but her mother didn’t let her do it.
She remembered that and she didn’t
want to stifle her daughter.
I didn’t know anything about it,
the types of jobs. The recruiter sat
down with me. I scored well and I
qualified for the good jobs, so I got
assigned to the intel community.
That sold me off the bat. I’m thinking, FBI, Secret Service type of
stuff. I’m all about it.
Boot camp was not what I expect-
ed. It was a little bit of a shock for
me. In the second phase, you go to
the rifle range. I remember if you
scored expert, you got a phone call
home. So I did everything I could to
get a phone call home. I was like,
‘Mom, I don’t know.’
My mom is hard as nails, and she’s
like, ‘Let me ask you something. Is
the girl to your left and your right
doing it? Is she complaining?’
‘No, Mom, they’re all getting
‘Then you can do it too.’
I went to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba,
for my first duty station. I had to go
to my MOS [Military Occupational
Specialty] school in Pensacola, Fla.,
at Corry Station, so we trained along-
side the Navy. I was a signals intelli-
gence operator. I went to Gitmo …
from October ’94 to October ’95.
I was one of five female Marines
on that base of probably several
hundred Marines. I always say that I
was brought up in the Marine Corps
by the grunts, because I hung out
with the 81[mm] platoon. They
really showed me what a tight community was. They were never anything but supportive.
I went to the Marine Corps Intelligence Activity in Quantico, Va. While
I was there, I was involved with
Ceremonial Platoon. I became the
staff NCOIC [Non-Commissioned
Officer in Charge] and then the platoon sergeant. We did over 200
funerals. It was a great opportunity to
honor Marines in that capacity. I was
meritoriously promoted to sergeant
out of there. I was the MCCDC
[Marine Corps Combat Development Command] Marine of the Year
in 1996. I’d do school at night.
In December 1997, I got selected
to be the receptionist for the secretary of the Navy. It was a great experience. I got to meet some amazing
people I still keep in contact with
today. I picked up the MECEP [Marine Enlisted Commissioning Edu-cation] program. When you’re
Maj. Aixa Dones
COMMANDER, MARINE CORPS RECRUITING STATION LOS ANGELES
PROFILES IN SERVICE
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