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Saving lives, fighting fires, loading bombs: One Marine does it all

23 Jul 2004 | Lance Cpl. Justin V. Eckersley Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort

For some people, burning buildings, crime scenes, wrecked vehicles and 2,000 pound bombs are things to avoid.For Cpl. Terry J. Depiero, aviation ordnance technician, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 115, these hazards are a part of his job and his lifestyle.Growing up on a quiet farm in New Paltz, New York, was not enough to satisfy Depiero’s desire for excitement.“I was a farmer, landscaper, firefighter, Emergency Medical Technician, police dispatcher, bridge worker, and even a pizza guy,” Depiero said. “A lot of those jobs I did all at once.”In the mornings, after taking care of his duties in the apple orchard, Depiero would volunteer to maintain a local bridge. In the afternoons, he would deliver pizzas and at night he was a police dispatcher. Any free time he had was spent volunteering as an EMT or firefighter, which was what he enjoyed doing most.“I’ve been inside of several burning buildings in my life,” Depiero said. “It was very scary, with things blowing up everywhere.”While he never had to pull a victim from a fire, as an EMT Depiero rescued numerous people from car wrecks.“Doing something like that is a rush, a natural high,” Depiero said. “You just feel really great about it and you’ve really accomplished something.”While attending college, Depiero found himself bored and uninterested in what he was doing.“I didn’t really like it,” Depiero said. “But I had two brothers-in-law who are both Marines. They told me to join the Air Force, but I went to the recruiting station and joined the Marine Corps anyway.”Although he hoped to join the Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting team, Depiero enjoys his work as an ordnance technician. Watching an aircraft take off, loaded with bombs, and coming back empty carries a sense of satisfaction, according to Depiero.“The toughest part about being in ordnance is making sure everyone is safe,” Depiero said. “There are just so many things you have to do exactly right, or someone could be hurt or killed.”After serving in the Marine Corps, Depiero hopes to join his brother-in-law as a police officer, who is in charge of a Special Weapons And Tactics unit. Depiero is looking forward to the opportunity to follow in his footsteps.“There are three things I’ve always wanted to do in my life; become a firefighter, become a Marine and become a police officer,” Depiero said. “Right now, I’m two-thirds of the way there.”