Story by LCpl Anthony Leite on 10/21/2016
"Always strive to be better than yesterday," said Pvt. Edgar F. Amaya. "Don't be afraid to step up to the challenges given to you."
The Anthony, Texas, native believes challenges can come in many different ways. His parents separated when he was just a toddler, and his mother moved the family from Colorado to start a new life with more opportunities.
Growing up with a single income meant a tight budget, but his mother's priority was always him and his siblings.
"My mother always found a way to provide for me," said Amaya. "I always had food and fresh clothes on my back."
Amaya is the second oldest of four children, but he was especially close with his older brother. The two were together all the time and he believes that his sibling significantly impacted his life by keeping him on a path to success and out of trouble.
"We always had to take care of each other," said Amaya. "He was always there for me and was the person I looked up to."
When Amaya was just ten years old, his mother remarried and his stepfather filled the role of the father that he and his siblings never had.
"He definitely filled in the spot as my dad," said Amaya. "He's the man I knew I wanted to become."
To keep himself busy, Amaya played multiple sports including baseball, basketball, golf and track.
However, his real passion was music. Beginning in 6th grade, and all the way through high school, he played in the school band. He excelled by playing numerous instruments and maintaining the role of first chair.
Then, one day Marine recruiters visited his school one day during his senior year.
"I was sitting in class wearing the USMC shirt my brother gave me when the recruiter came to my class," said Amaya. "He gave me his card after I showed interest."
But it didn't take that encounter to solidify his decision to enlist. He already knew that was what he wanted to do.
"When I heard about all the terrorism on the news, I wanted to join," said Amaya. "Somebody has to do it, and I wanted to make sure the right people were doing it."
When Amaya told his family about enlisting, they were understanding.
"My family never said no," said Amaya. "They supported me with my decision and wanted me to do what would make me happy."
During his time at the depot, Amaya was selected to be the guide for Platoon 2110. Although recruit training, and his drill instructors, were demanding, he stayed positive and found the strength to persevere. When he was lost and unsure of himself, he thought back to his role models, his stepfather and brother, and knew he couldn't give up.
Recruit training taught Amaya that being a confident person and keeping a positive mind and attitude can take him the distance.
"It's a challenging place," said Amaya. "Even something as simple as drill was hard. The changes were not just in myself, but also my fellow recruits."
Recruit training gave Amaya more than just strength and endurance. It gave him the mental strength to overcome any obstacle in life.
"I'm more confident in my actions and how I speak as a person." said Amaya. "I know I can accomplish any challenges given to me."
Following recruit training, Amaya will report to the School of Infantry at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., and then to his military occupation specialty school to become an air traffic controller.