MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan --
Every year there is a sailor that stands out among the rest throughout various Marine Corps bases and air stations in the Pacific and earns the title of Marine Corps Installations Pacific Junior Sailor of the Year.
On March 10, 2016, Petty Officer 3rd Class Jason Aguirre, a logistics specialist with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron on Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, earned the title of the MCIPAC Junior Sailor of the Year for 2015. Aguirre said he went from a content life at home to joining the Navy and becoming a greater person and friend.
Before joining the Navy, Aguirre said he was interested in art, music, and painting and was satisfied with where he was.
“I have never really applied myself to anything, and eventually, I started to realize that I needed to do something better with myself — serve my country,” said Aguirre. My dad wanted me to join the military. He and my brother were in the Navy. My other brother was in the Army and my sister was in the Air Force.”
Aguirre said once he arrived in Iwakuni, he saw it as a fresh start and sought to better himself.
“I’m into martial arts and grappling,” said Aguirre. “It’s something that I was interested in before I joined the military. Being here provided me an opportunity so I thought I would do it. In a way, I set out for Sailor of the Year.”
Seaman Jorge Barragandeandres, a hazardous material clerk at the Hazardous Minimization Center, said Aguirre works hard on a daily basis and has never missed a step or procrastinated.
“During my time here, I have never seen a sailor stand out the way he has,” said Barragandeandres. “He has so much under his belt such as school, collateral aside from work duties, participating in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, and becoming the MCIPAC Sailor of the Year. That is a big deal and is something everyone on this base should look up to. He is an inspiration.”
Aguirre said becoming sailor of the year wasn’t an easy task and participating in Marine Corps activities helped him achieve his newly appointed title.
“Standing out is hard because everyone is on a level playing field,” said Aguirre. “Most of us are new to the Navy, so it’s hard to shine, but being on a Marine Corps base, I figured I would do some Marine Corps things. I started to partake in MCMAP and hang out with more Marines. I completed some courses and seeing the camaraderie between the sailors and Marines was awesome.”
Barragandeandres said Aguirre has been a great teacher and taught him everything he knows while at the Hazardous Minimization Center.
“I want to apply everything that he has taught me not only into my professional life, but also on a personal level,” said Barragandeandres. “He’s not just a great worker but also a great person. His success drives me to better myself. He’s an amazing friend, and I’m glad I have been provided the opportunity to know him.”
Aguirre said he is grateful for the award and plans to continue bettering himself.
“Receiving this award is a stepping stone — the first step toward something great,” said Aguirre. “I am really excited about this award and can only go forward from here.”