Everything changed that day. My evaluation scores began to drop dramatically — from the 4.9 out of 5 average I had for three years to a 1.0. After obtaining copies of my evaluations, I learned that my direct supervisors’ scores had been crossed out and lowered by the gunnery sergeant. I had never failed at anything in life before and I was not going to let anyone tell me I was not a good Marine.
My only way out, I believed, was to transfer out of my unit. At first my requests were repeatedly denied. Eventually though, after numerous letters of recommendations from other military officers, I was transferred.
I was promoted and, when I left my new unit, I had numerous letters of recommendation. The detachment’s commanding officer wrote accolades such as, “You are a Marine with exceptional core values… a great asset to the Armed Services” and “You are a Marine of great caliber and will go far in your military career.”
Unfortunately, I was required to return to my former training squadron just months before my six year contract was up. I was back under Gunny’s command. Those last few months were a living nightmare. I constantly dreaded going to work and was afraid for my physical safety.
With the support of friends, I managed to serve eight years. I love the Marines and, under different command circumstances, I would have continued my service. In three weeks, I’ll graduate from the University of California, San Diego with a degree in structural engineering. With the your help and with open service in place at the Pentagon, I’d signup and serve my country again.
Mr. President, thank you for supporting repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” I hope that, with your leadership, no other service member will have to go through the persecution I endured in order to serve our country.
Former Corporal Juan C. Perezortiz
United States Marine Corps
PREVIOUS LETTERS FROM THE FRONTLINE…
April 27 – Captain Joan Darrah
April 28 – LCpl Danny Hernandez
April 29 – An Active-Duty Military Chaplain
April 30 – Captain Rebecca H. Elliott
May 4 – Former Ssgt Anthony Loverde
May 5 – Former First Lieutenant Laura Slattery
May 6 – Former Staff Sergeant Anthony Moll
May 7 – Clifton Truman Daniel
May 10 – Former Sgt. Tracey L. Cooper-Harris
May 11 – Former Petty Officer 2nd Class, U. S. Navy Jason Knight
May 12 – Chief Hospital Corpsman Brian Humbles
May 13 – Former SSgt David Hall
May 14 – A Soldier Returning to Baghdad
May 17 – Former Sgt. Shonda Garrison
May 18 – A Mother in the Closet
May 19 – Former Sgt. Darren Manzella
May 20 – Former Cadet Sara Isaacson
May 21 – A Gay Active Duty Marine
May 24 – Former Lieutenant Junior Grade Jenny Kopfstein
May 25 – Former Captain Beth Schissel