Marine Corps Success Stories: Captain Rico Acosta
I sought a commission in the Marine Corps after talking to numerous family members. I was from a family that had many people serve on active duty in the army, the Air Force and the Marine Corps. I, I've loved everything that the Marine Corps has had to offer, not only for me, but for other members of my family, and I wanted to be a part of the tradition. I played high school football; I played college football, and I thought then there was no greater feeling: the rush of adrenaline that would run through my body. I had that same feeling when I joined the Marine Corps and I knew I was shipping to OCS. Uh, sitting on the bus as you come through the gates at Quantico, and you take that long journey to the parade deck of OCS, you start to think about those things. It starts to, the adrenaline starts to rush in you.
Being a Marine to me, it is one of the greatest feelings I've ever had. And it makes you stand up a little straighter, you know, it makes you, you know, raise your chin, stop looking at the ground. It makes you feel really proud of what you're doing. Not only for yourself, but for your country. That is the greatest feeling I've had as a Marine Corps Officer.
When I got to OCS, there were doubts. And I'm sure, you know, I've talked to other officers, you, you have doubts in the back of your mind. Is this really what I want? Can I do this? Am I good enough? There are other guys here that look bigger, faster, stronger. And that's where you either have the Marine Corps qualities or you don't. You reach down inside, and you say, you know what? I, I belong here. I can do this, and I can be good at this. Uh, and that's what, I think that's what the Marine Corps really looks for is that courage to say, "Look, you're scared; you're worried about something; maybe you failed at something; but do you have the courage to overcome it?" That is something I definitely learned there at OCS, and it's something I carried with me for the remainder of my Marine Corps career.
Marines require a lot, and they expect a lot of their officers, and so you've always got to be on top of your game. You want to expose yourself to as many different situations because as a leader of Marines, you're going to be exposed to a lot of different situations. And you're going to have to learn how to handle those. Some of them might be really easy to overcome; some of them are going to be extremely difficult. So, take and seek out new challenges.
When I had my first billet, I felt that the Marine Corps prepared me to go out and find the answers if I didn't know them. Uh, they gave me the leadership ability to solve the problem. If there was something that needed to be taken care of, and I didn't know what it was, it was my job as an officer, as a leader to solve that problem, to figure it out. And to surround myself with individuals who are going to help us accomplish whatever goal and whatever mission it is that we had. While I may not have always felt like I knew the answer, I definitely had the leadership ability that was given to me by the Marine Corps to go out and make things happen.