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Reunion with CWO4 Renteria

Thursday, March 19, 2009 11:29 | Michael Sosa

I just said "See ya later" to a Marine that I admire.  That man is Albert Renteria CWO4 (retired).  He just visited the Austin area and I took him out to lunch.  It was a good lunch and it did me good to spend some time with a person who I have much respect and gratitude for.  All brought about by an internet social network. 
            While I was on Facebook back on Feb 16, 2009, I got bored and started looking up people that I knew from my past.  All I could think of were old friends from when I was on active duty being stationed in Camp Pendleton, CA @ 3rd Battalion 1st Marines.  As I looked for old buddies one person crossed my mind that I had not thought of in a long time; CWO4 Albert Renteria.  Not thinking that I would find him, I typed his name and "BAM", there he was.  I sat there looking at his name and picture, I thought to myself how different and older he looked yet still the same person & wondered if people thought the same of me whenever they saw my profile picture.  I asked myself if I should send him a request to be my friend on Facebook.  I sat there a minute or so and thought "What the hell".  In a matter of minutes I received a response from him accepting my invitation to become "internet" friends.  I didn't know how to address him since he was "Sir" or "CWO4 Renteria" but he told me to call him Al.  It took a few E-mails to adjust to call him by his first name but I got used to it.
            I never thought in a million years that I would ever have any type of communication with him again.  You see, I had not seen CWO4 Renteria since April 1997 when we returned from a six month float on WESTPAC.  Soon after my arrival back to the states I had orders elsewhere.  Al was my Personnel Chief while I was stationed at 3/1 as a young  Lance Corporal.  I had come to know him in 1994 when he took over CONAD (Consolidated Administration) at 3/1.  He turned our office of "pogues" inside out upon his arrival.  The days of taking it easy were over.  He would make us learn what it meant to be a real ADMIN MARINE.  He was disliked for the most part by most of the Marines in our office because of the amount of work he made us do.  Prior to his arrival, life in our office seemed to be easy.  Unfortunate to say, we as Marines decided to become complacent with work and we took shortcuts.  Things changed soon after.  Hindsight is 20/20 but during that time we thought he was just pure evil!!  He made us become responsible by reading and learning.  He always told us that "Knowledge is Power and Power is Knowledge".  I use those words to this day.  If we had a question we knew we could ask it but we needed to have the answer.  That answer was found in all the manuals we had at our disposal (PRIM, IRAM, DEERS Manual etc). 
            As a young LCpl, it was difficult for me to accept why he was so strict on us after all I was only a LCpl.  In the Marine Corps everything is for a reason.  I look back and realize why.  He provided me with those tools to take charge of any situation and know how to get solutions.   As a somewhat new Marine I took everything personal and it bothered me that I could not get over on him on anything no matter how hard I tried until I started to realize that perhaps I should just start doing what was expected of me and more and then perhaps I wouldn't have the burden of being upset so much.  I learned a lot.  I learned that by gaining information that helped me in my everyday life made life so much easier and it showed people that I was dependable and the "go to guy".  It was a good feeling to know that people trusted me with their problems or concerns not only in the office but out of it.


  • Thursday, March 19, 2009 10:20 | Anna Guster
    Dear Michael, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your comments about Al Renteria and the experience you had with him. What an advocate you have in Al! He's a good man and his heart is in the right place. If all of us had his passion, our world would be at peace. I met Al when he was President of Operation Interdependence (OI) a few years ago. I helped stuff many of the baggies that were sent to the soldiers in Iraq. I never felt it was enough since they were putting their lives on the line for ME! That was a while ago and Al has kept in touch and introduced me to "Where Communities Serve Veterans" when it first started. A coworker and I here at HP had the pleasure of visiting with him during lunch this past week and learned more about this program. With Al's help, you will be successful. I am proud of all of our military forces and for their great sacrifice. I don't feel that we, as a nation, are doing enough for you, considering the price you've paid to keep us free. I've listened to my father's war stories over the years and it makes me realize what a great treasure we have in our military. Thank you.…and that’s still not saying enough!
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    • Thursday, March 19, 2009 14:28 | Michael Sosa
      Thank you very much!!! This is a very important issue and I'm proud to be a part of his team once again. I added more to my blog so I hope you will read the remainder of it. I was typing it after I had lunch with him this afternoon and I'm at home now and I assured him that I would do my best to help.
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  • Thursday, March 19, 2009 10:32 | Eleanor Tobias
    Mr. Sosa, I was really amused at your description of CWO4 Renteria! And, believe me, you are not the first or only one who has complained about his strictness! However, they, as well as you, have learned from him some very valuable lessons, lessons that will serve you well throughout your life. It is admirable of you to recognize this and welcome your new association with Al. You will always benefit from his knowledge and inspiration, even if he seems too strict again! No, I don't think you will find that so because, as you said, you use the words "Knowledge is Power and Power is Knowledge"
    to this day.
    I am very happy for you and will follow your progress as you begin your book. Congratulations!! Semper Fi
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    • Thursday, March 19, 2009 14:29 | Michael Sosa
      Al strict?? Nahhh, he was a kitten!! ha ha. I wouldn't change a thing about my experience. I'm proud to be a part of his team once again. I added more to my blog so I hope you will read the remainder of it. I was typing it after I had lunch with him this afternoon and I'm at home now and I assured him that I would do my best to help.
      Link  •  Reply
  • Thursday, March 19, 2009 11:27 | Daniel Boothe
    Michael, I felt the same way. It took me forever to get used to calling him Al. By the way, really nice introduction. It brings about question and intices the reader. I look forward to working with you and helping this awesome organization grow!
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    • Thursday, March 19, 2009 14:30 | Michael Sosa
      Thanks for the compliment. I've not been so inclined to write like I did today. I'm glad you enjoyed. I completed my thoughts about what I was feeling today and hope you enjoy the rest of it.
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  • Saturday, March 21, 2009 17:32 | Jeffrey Backus
    Michael, I too enjoyed your story about Al in the old days. I look forward to reading more of your story. Thank you for your service.
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  • Saturday, June 06, 2009 07:56 | Frances Lowe
    It was inspiring to read your history with Al. I find that as we go through this world we usually rotate back to those that have had a great impact on our lives. I am excited to read more as you proceed through you book and grow into the life you were meant to have. Remember we are here to assist you should you need it and all you need do is ask.
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  • Tuesday, June 09, 2009 06:24 | Daniel Boothe
    Mr. Sosa, it really is funny how life turns out sometimes and who you will run into down the road. It is obvious that we both have taken something really special from the man we both know as Albert Renteria, but with the center we can now take even more from every learner invovled. Great lead by the way, and I look forward to reading more.
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  • Sunday, September 20, 2009 16:18 | Taffy Dalby
    Michael, Welcome to the office of Al Renteria! There is no end to his efficiency; he is the master mind of less is more! I worked with him in Operation Interdependence and experienced someone who expects the best out of everyone, which all are capable of doing but most need nudging to do it.
    Thank you for working for our nations freedom and the hardships you've endured. I hope that this plan he
    has thoroughly worked out for your benefit will
    gain you employment and satisfaction in your life.

    Stick with it and be a winner!
    Taffy Dalby RN
    Link  •  Reply

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