ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. --
Pfc. Ana DominguezValazquez, a Marine from Recruiting Sub-Station Fullerton, Recruiting Station Orange County, shipped to recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island on Mar. 15, 2021. She entered recruit training prepared and resilient at the beginning of June 2021, but after obtaining a serious injury, had to quickly adapt her plan.
One month into recruit training, DominguezValazquez started having pain in her hips. The Navy doctors informed her she had broken her hip during training.
“I honestly don’t even remember how or when I broke it,” says DominguezValazquez. “All I could think about was the fact that I knew I couldn’t continue with my platoon in training.”
Shortly after finding out the news, DominguezValazquez transferred to the female rehabilitation platoon (FRP) on the depot. FRP is for recruits who become injured during training and need time to rehabilitate until they are ready to continue.
“There were times in FRP that I was really down about being hurt, but there was this one recruit who I really looked up to that kept me going,” claims DominguezValazquez. “She was originally in my sister platoon when I started out in November Company, and she was extremely resilient. I looked up to her because she never gave up, regardless of her injury or how long she took to get better.”
DominguezValazquez went in and out of training as she tried to push through her injury to become a Marine. She went into three different companies before being placed in her final platoon.
“It felt like forever being out of training,” says DominguezValazquez. “On the bright side, I was able to build a whole new family in FRP. Even now, I’m still a little sad knowing some of the females I was with are still there.”
It took seven months in total for DominguezValazquez to completely heal before returning to training with Kilo Company. Finally, she returned where she was initially pulled from training, grass week. Grass week is where recruits start learning the fundamentals of rifle marksmanship.
“It truly feels absolutely amazing to have finally graduated and earned the title, United States Marine,” says DominguezValazquez. “When I was in FRP, I’d see people come back from the crucible, and it would make me so sad. Coming back from the crucible, I was so happy I can’t even put it into words. I was yelling cadence so loudly, thinking to myself that I finally made it.”
After eleven months spent on Parris Island and enduring challenges she never thought she would face, DominguezValazquez graduated from recruit training on Feb. 11, 2022. Even though DominguezValazquez had some doubts during her time, she knew quitting was never an option.
“I think if someone ever goes through something similar to me, they should remind themselves that if you start something, you should finish it,” says DominguezValazquez. “We have so much time in our lives, and this is such a small moment compared to that. It felt so quick going from the yellow footprints to a Marine.”
DominguezValazquez embodied the definition of resilience by facing and overcoming adversity. After graduating, DominguezValazquez will attend Marine Combat Training. There, she will find out what her occupation for the Marine Corps will be.