MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. --
During high school, Ronald Maltez found himself struggling—he weighed nearly 300 pounds and his self-confidence was at an all time low.
Since he was 14, Maltez wanted to be a U.S. Marine. But as he went through high school, his poor decisions and choice of friends led to an unhealthy lifestyle. Maltez said he hit rock bottom when his mom just stared at him and cried about his weight gain.
“She loved me and hated to see me so unhealthy,” said Maltez.
With nowhere left to go, Maltez decided he was going to lose weight.
He started a diet and began to see improvement. The idea of joining the military returned.
“I was not doing anything with my life.” said Maltez “I decided I was going to join the Marine Corps to prove that I could be someone.”
He visited his local recruiting office to see if he could join the Marine Corps, however, there was only one issue—Maltez would have to lose over 100 pounds before he could enlist. The recruiters invited him to start working out with them weekly in an effort to help him lose weight.
Maltez said those physical training sessions were painful and he had to fight to keep up with the other poolees.
“I’d run down the block, and I’d already be tired,” said Maltez. “I couldn’t even do a single pull-up.’
Despite the difficulty, Maltez kept coming back and over the next few months was able to drop the weight and enlist.
He shipped to recruit training in February this year and in May, Maltez walked across Peatross Parade Field with his platoon and earned the title United States Marine.
Maltez said becoming a Marine is just the beginning for him and that he still has a lot of work to do. His advice for others hoping to join the Marine Corps is simple: when you feel like quitting, just keep pushing and don’t quit.