Lead From the Front

Lead From the Front

Sgt. Rainiel De La Nuez, a parachute rigger with Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force - Crisis Response - Central Command, separates parachute cords before servicing and repacking a cargo drop parachute in the Central Command area of operations. Photo by Cpl Carson Gramley.

CENTRAL COMMAND (Jan. 30, 2015) – At just 22 years old, U.S. Marine Sgt Rainiel De La Nuez, a parachute rigger with Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force - Crisis Response - Central Command, has already accomplished much more than what he expected to 10 years ago.

De La Nuez is originally from the Dominican Republic but now calls Edison, N.J. home. He says the years he spent in the Republic before his move to the U.S. gave him a different perspective on life and has influenced his decisions.

"I was brought up in the Dominican Republic in a little 10-by-10 shack, with my little sister, my mom and myself," said De La Nuez. "The entire mentality of growing up where I did, it gives you a hunger I think, a consistent hunger."

His fellow Marine and friend, Sgt Nicholas Campenni, a motor transport operator, says he understands how seeing two very different ways of life can give De La Nuez this drive for success.

"When you've seen worse places than America and…you come from a different country, you have a different outlook on things. You want to be the go-getter," said Campenni.

De La Nuez didn't always plan to be a Marine, but started off strong once he did.

"I saw one of my buddies who just came into the Corps. He got back from boot camp and talked me into going to see a recruiter," said De La Nuez. "I went in and right away I said ‘sign me up.'"

De La Nuez joined the Marine Corps in April of 2011, and by the summer of next year had been selected for a Marine of the Quarter Board followed shortly by a meritorious promotion to corporal.

"[After my promotion to corporal], I just kept moving on and a year later I was promoted to sergeant and later deployed out here and I just put in my package for MECEP, Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program," said De La Nuez. "When I see officers and Staff Non-commissioned Officers I see them at a higher level of influence and leadership and I definitely want to be there; I want to lead from the very front."

Campenni said his fellow sergeant makes a great Non-commissioned Officer and will have no problem being a successful officer.

"He's one of the youngest sergeants I've ever known, and he knows a ton [of information]; he has to keep me in check sometimes," said Campenni. "He understands the aspect of trying and succeeding, and not being scared of failure."

De La Nuez said he likes the responsibility that comes with his rank and takes it to heart.

"It's really [humbling] to see the types of people that have crowded to me and allowed me to influence them," said De La Nuez. "I see that influence I have now and I just want to have a greater influence on the Marine Corps."

He says that while his upbringing has guided him significantly, there are other influences in his life that keep him on the right path.

"I think a lot of [why I work hard] is just me wanting to make my family proud and doing what's right within me," said De La Nuez. "I know going after it and not sitting down and waiting for things to land in my lap is the right way. There comes that point of putting out your own efforts and there's also times where God blesses you."

Aside from the Marine Corps De La Nuez says he has an even bigger accomplishment on the way; he and his wife Natasha are expecting their first-born child (a son) shortly after his return home from this deployment.

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