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Continued from Reunion...

Thursday, March 19, 2009 18:39 | 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.


  • Friday, March 20, 2009 06:57 | Darlena Wills
    Mike, first off it was great meeting you the other night at Franc's house. Secondly, your blog is poppin' and I like how you introduced us to the "old you" and the "seasoned you." It's great to see how you gained wisdom through Al's leadership and him pushing you to become your own best resource. (Fighting it all the way...but you still learned) It's also cool that you came to see that through chaos one grows. It made you a better person, one who can handle just about anything that comes down your path. I look forward to the Grand Opening of your coffee shop, make sure to let the locals know so we can come support you! I also look forward to your next blog because you keep it moving really smooth and make it quite readable. :-)
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    • Sunday, April 26, 2009 13:59 | Michael Sosa
      Thanks Darlena for the kind words. Can you or someone tell me where I left off because I hAd typed so much that all I can see is part of what I wrote.
      Link  •  Reply
  • Friday, March 20, 2009 08:06 | LeRoy Scheller Jr
    Welcome aboard to our team. As a fellow Marine, a much older one, I enjoyed your telling of your experience meeting and working with Al during your tour in the Marines. Look forward to reading more of your story. Keep up the good work.
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  • Thursday, March 26, 2009 11:45 | Sigrid Gilbert
    Mike, I wish I could have met you while Al was visiting, but
    I know I will before too long. I would like to know the name and location of your coffee shop as well. We have several OI people who work at Dell who I'm sure would stop in.

    I got such a kick out of your experience with CWO4 Renteria, and I know the value you got from it. Your pride in being a Marine must have risen tenfold after you "got it".

    In twelth grade, our homeroom and English teacher, Miss Bickley, was Miss Cruel Witch. She could smell if you didn't have your homework done, and would ask you a question about it, and you'd be so embarrassed to be caught. She had the highest standards and assigned the toughest term papers and unending work, way too many vocabulary words, reading, and writing. She took us to see Shakespeare plays at the Univ. of Pennsylvania on Friday evenings. We loved her sweet counterpart, Miss Tees the Biology teacher. Years later when we all graduated from college, running into classmates or returning to our alma mater, everyone couldn't wait to find Miss Bickley or ask about her. It wasn't until years after graduating that I and all of us realized what a great teacher she was. Many of us pitched in to set up a fund for her to go to the theater and eat out after she retired. Same with my parents who were European born and strict. I would complain to my friends about how strict they were, but inside I was proud to have parents like them. So, I loved hearing that your Chief Warrant Officer who helped lay the same foundation as my Miss Bickley and my parents helped lay for me.

    I'm sure it took a lot of self-confidence to make the decision to start a business followed by the commitment to hard, but hopefully enjoyable, work. I wish you great success and look forward to following you through the SWVBR program.
    Sigrid in Lakeway
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  • Friday, April 03, 2009 13:57 | Albert Renteria (Administrator)

    Thank you for your dedication to service and for your time during my visit.

    I just arrived at Fort Bragg North Carolina and I will be here until Tuesday, April 7, 2009. Your posting inspires me and the memories fuel my energy to do what I do. Thank you, Semper Fi, Al
    Link  •  Reply
    • Sunday, April 26, 2009 13:58 | Michael Sosa
      Hi Al, I'm sorry I've not been on here in a long time but I've been inducted into what it's like to being in charge in the restaurant industry. Whew, 15 hour days are killer. NO PAIN, NO GAIN. Keep kicking butt Al.
      Link  •  Reply
  • Sunday, April 26, 2009 14:01 | Michael Sosa
    Can someone tell me where I left off because I had typed so much on here however what I see where I left off says the following: "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."
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    • Sunday, July 19, 2009 20:31 | Deleted user
      Hi Michael,
      First off, yes, you are correct in where you left off. The last sentence reads.... "It was a good feeling to know that people....but out of it".

      So, we are all looking forward to more blogs, or perhaps the next level post. Thanks for the blog so far, just wonderful, raw and real!! It was really nice to "see" a more clear picture of Albert. Good luck in your posts.....waiting.....
      Link  •  Reply
  • Sunday, May 17, 2009 14:35 | Derek Strauss
    Mike, or rather Sosa, as I always called you back in the day. How are you doing?

    Reading this after Al pointed me in it's direction sure brought back a lot of memories of those times in 3/1 ConAd. Wow, where has time gone.

    Reading this was a bit like stepping into a time machine and going back to '95-'97 in Camp Pendleton. Having practically memorized manuals cover to cover...Those were the days. Funny I can still quote some of the JFTR and Orders and Seps Manuals. I bet you can do the same with the ones you used.

    I never thought of the line you quoted; "Knowledge is Power and Power is Knowledge", since I left the Marines, until I read it here. It actually made me tingle with the feeling of being able to quote regulations verbatim at a CG or other Administrative inspection (you know, the one's from hell that lasted 3 days). However, the funny thing is, I never stopped practicing that simple mantra.

    I am in discussion now with Al on this program. I am seriously interested and I will be following your blog.

    Thank you for sharing.
    Link  •  Reply
  • Tuesday, June 09, 2009 06:26 | Daniel Boothe
    The Corps in itself teaches us a lot about ourselves, things we never thought possible. It is this that I think makes us a unique breed, but nothing we can't share with our fellow learners.
    Link  •  Reply

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