EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- Every U.S. Marine joins the Marine Corps for various reasons. For one it may be a family history of Marines and for another it may be because they want discipline in their life.
For Cpl. Harley Damarputra, an aviation life support equipment technician and collateral duty inspector with Marine Fighter attack Squadron 314, stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, and forward deployed to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan, his reason was to prove his mother wrong.
Damarputra said his family moved to Elkins, West Virginia, from Bali, Indonesia, when he was in the seventh grade, and when he graduated high school his mother told him that he couldn’t join the Marine Corps.
“My mother told me I couldn’t do it, so I had something to prove to her,” said Damarputra. “And at first it was just about that, but then I realized that it was about more than just proving her wrong, it was actually a good life experience.”
Damarputra said he doesn’t think he would be where he is right now if he didn’t join the Marine Corps.
He also said he was naturalized when he completed boot camp, allowing him to become a U.S. citizen.
“Even though it wasn’t the sole purpose of me joining the Marine Corps, it’s a good bonus,” said Damarputra. “And it’s definitely an honor to be an American.”
Damarputra’s friend and former co-worker, Cpl. Juan Garcia, a flight equipment technician with Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242, stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, said ever since they first met Damarputra has always wanted to be a role model and the best Marine he possibly could.
“If there is something he has to do,” said Garcia. “He always wants to be the best at it.”
Cpl. Solomon David, non-commissioned officer in charge of flight equipment, VMFA-314, and former supervisor of Damarputra said Damarputra’s need to be the best motivates everyone who works with him.
“The guy is a motivator,” said David. “He says things how they are, and he has great leadership qualities.”
Damarputra said joining the Marine Corps has given him the opportunity to visit other countries and experience different cultures, which contributed to who he is today-even his mother agrees.
“It’s definitely a blessing,” said Damarputra. “And my mother is really proud of what I’ve become.”