Montclair State is honoring our veterans during Veterans Week – for their bravery, strength, and devotion to our country. Recently, I had the privilege of sitting down with Babee Garcia, a current student at Montclair State, who served three years in the Marine Corps.
In my interview with her, Garcia shared how she initially thought that she didn’t have what it took to serve in the Marine Corps. “I grew up nonathletic [and] clumsy,” she said. “I did not have the mentality or maturity to join any branch let alone the Marine Corps.”
However, she tells how after she turned 20, everything suddenly changed for her.
“Two years after high school, drastic change in my life needed to happen. And the Marine Corps has made me gain so much wisdom, discipline, humbleness, mental and physical strength,” Garcia said with a smile.
According to Garcia, the Marine Corps helped transform her life in a positive way. It helped her become better at handling tough situations and gain a different perspective on life. In times that were tough, Garci shares that, “Growing through those rough patches has made me a stronger person and was one of the best decisions that I have ever made [was] to join the service. It has saved my life to be in the military and that’s ironic cause you know marines risk their lives on the battlefield and you wouldn’t think it would save your life. You are risking it. But it has saved me from heading down a dark road.”
During her service, Garcia met many people from different walks of life that she was able to create close bonds with – one of them being her husband, whom she met while training in North Carolina. A month and a half during Marine Corps training, Garcia explained how “[She and her husband to be] were learning how to handle machine guns, and to throw grenades.” Garcia later said that her husband made the “first moves that led her to fall for him.”
In March 2016, Garcia officially retired from the Marine Corps. She started her first semester at Montclair State this fall and she is already making a difference among her peers. She recently won the Eboard Elections and become secretary of Student Veterans Association. During her work with the Student Veterans Association, she has brought awareness among Montclair students by educating them on veterans. Garcia has been promoting events through emails and finding new ways to reach out to students to help inform them on the topic, making a vast difference at the university.
“Before we didn’t have as many rights as we do now. Generations of marines, solders, airmen, coast guards and military personnel have created change among the world that we live in. I hope that every Veterans Day and Memorial Day, we take some of that time to stay humble and to know the background history between each branch. We hope that the Student Veterans Association can attach more people to help our organization grow and have more respect and appreciation among Montclair students.”