Face of Defense: Okinawa-Based Marine Leads by Example

CAMP HANSEN, Japan, Jan. 8, 2018 — “I could care less about the awards, the rank, or any of the stuff that I’ve been given,” said Marine Corps Cpl. Noel Mayorqa. “I want to be an example to my squad. That’s what I strive for.”

Mayorqa, a squad leader with Alpha Company, Battalion Landing Team, 1st Marine Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment here, ensures the platoon leader’s intent is being met by making sure each task is done quickly and efficiently. He’s also in charge of accountability, training and the general well-being of his squad. He knows each job within his squad with great detail so he can help guide and shape his squad to perfectly execute the mission.

“I’ve learned everything about being a radio operator from him,” said Lance Cpl. Mason Townsley. “He taught me how to communicate, how to be a better rifleman and how to be a better person.”

Townsley, a radio operator in Mayorqa’s squad, said he doesn’t want to be in any other squad because of Mayorqa’s leadership. “He never lets us slack off,” Townsley said. “He always strives for us to be better, and he’s always pushing to improve himself. It’s really awesome working with someone who is very dedicated to his job.”

Learning Curve

Mayorqa started his career at Marine Barracks Washington, also known as “8th and I” for the intersection near the main gate. The base is home to the Corps’ ceremonial units, and Mayorga said he spent his two years there focused on drilling for ceremonies. He participated in more than 150 standard funerals, 50 full-honors funerals and four different special teams.

“They are really strict on the little things — the way your uniform looks, the way you drill,” he said. “They always told me that the little things matter. I got a lot of discipline from 8th and I. They also taught me to be confident, respectful and humble.”

Mayorqa said when he checked in with his unit here, he didn’t know anything about being a rifleman. The newer Marines knew more than he did, but that didn’t slow him down. He came to the unit with a positive attitude and ready to learn, said Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Stuart Sanford, the platoon sergeant for 3rd Platoon, Alpha Company.

“He didn’t know everything, but we threw him in a lot of different positions,” Sanford said. “He excelled, and is now one of the best squad leaders in Alpha Company.”

Mayorqa said once he started to learn the information he just wanted more.

“I didn’t do it to stand out with my peer group or be the best,” he said. “I did it because I wanted to know my job and I wanted to share the knowledge that I know. I want to better myself so I can better the Marines to my left and my right.”

Mayorqa said he plans to stay in the Marine Corps as long as he can to continue to push himself and the Marines around him.

“It’s never been about me when it comes to the Marine Corps,” he said. “It was for the brothers to the left and right of me. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for my Marines.”