MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, GA -- The Beeville, Texas, native never thought he would one day stand before senior enlisted Marines to be drilled on his Marine Corps knowledge and compared to several other leathernecks.
But from the small town to one of the smaller bases in the Marine Corps, Sgt. Jasper Tapia, computer programmer here, carried his competitive spirit with him. Thriving on competition is one of the things that helped him keep his composure under the lights of the noncommissioned officer of the Quarter board.
According to Sgt. Albert Perez, Tapia's NCOIC and the one who chose to send him up for the board, Tapia was a great Marine among several good Marines. When it came down to which Marine Perez would want with him when the bullets flew, Tapia was near the top of the list.
Tapia, with that infamous Marine Corps pride that is often misconstrued arrogance, but adding a bit of humility, said he believed in his ability to win the board because his sergeant believed in him.
This wasn't the first board Tapia had stood, and having experience to draw on really made a difference. Now, the NCO of the Quarter title, has inspired him to try and become an even better leader.
With the experience of taking part in several boards, and now winning one, Tapia said he looks forward to helping other Marines with the newly acquired knowledge.
Though Tapia doesn't remember actually signing anything from the Marine Corps recruiter, he's sure he's here now. But he wouldn't have it any other way.
"I didn't start to think seriously about it until I got to boot camp. And when I got there I thought 'Oh, man, what happened,' " Tapia said.
According to Tapia, the best part of the Marine Corps is everything. Whether it's the obstacle course, a morning of physical training, shooting the pistol or rifle, or just being around other devil dogs, Tapia loves being a part of the few and the proud.
Tapia also said there are several things about being in Albany that he likes. He enjoys his job, for the most part. He said he once saw an article with a Marine in futuristic battle gear with a small computer attached to his arm. That gave him hope that he may one day see combat.
He enjoys Marine activities and competing in Marine events. Right now, the only thing he doesn?t like is knowing that one Marine on base is faster than he is -- and that is driving him crazy.
He is favorite sports are football and boxing. Although he is a fan of the Dallas Cowboys, he seems to have a good head on his shoulders. Tapia said he also enjoys architecture and working with his hands.