MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, S.C. --
Growing up, many children watch Marine recruiting commercials and think that it would be amazing to become a Marine, though most do not fill the boots when the time comes. For Staff Sgt. Sigrid Rivera, that dream started when she was just 4 years old and now, those size nine-and-one half boots are proudly filled.
Rivera, Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31 training chief, fulfilled her dream in 2000 when she graduated boot camp and has spent the past nine and a half years pursuing excellence. Her inner drive has propelled her to be one of six female black belt instructor trainers in the Corps along with other notable accomplishments.
“I became a Martial Arts Instructor Trainer because, not only do I like teaching, but I also like challenges and helping Marines improve themselves,” Rivera said.
Her duties as the training chief means she keeps track of her squadron’s training records and continuously strives to improve not only herself, but her fellow Marines on a daily basis along with teaching the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program.
Outside of her average daily challenges, the Marine Corps has presented Rivera with larger obstacles such as Marine Security Guard duty in Beijing, China; Berlin, Germany and Colombo, Sri Lanka.
“Marine Security Guard school was an eye-opening experience,” Rivera said. “It allowed me to learn more about the Marine Corps, build independence and get me out of the regular everyday schedule of turning a wrench.”
The challenges Rivera had to overcome to become a MAIT and MSG were only conquered because of her iron will and discipline.
“Throughout my time in the Corps, I have learned that an individual’s worst enemy could potentially be themselves,” Rivera explained.
Understanding and improving mental and physical limitations makes each individual a better person, Rivera continued.
“Rivera doesn’t settle for complacency,” said Staff Sgt. Humberto Delrio, the Body Composition Program coordinator with MALS-31 and a previous black belt student of Rivera’s, “she constantly strives to improve. She leads by example and won’t tell a Marine to do or not do something unless she does the same.”
Rivera does not just focus on MCMAP as an instructor. She pushes herself through combat conditioning sessions on an average of three times a day.
“When I get up in the morning,” Rivera began, “I think of new stuff to do to include running the obstacle course five times in a row, going for a long run with a pack, lifting ammo cans or flipping tires.”
Along with time spent on MSG duty, Rivera has deployed twice to Iwakuni, Japan as an avionics electrician.
“Although it was great to deploy to Japan, I want to go out there and join the fight directly by being a part of Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom,” she said.
Rivera knows what her commitment to the Corps and country is and wants to fulfill it by being part of the fight, explained Sgt. Christina Rodriguez, a hybrid test system technician with MALS-31.
“Staff Sgt. Rivera has inspired me to go through the MAI course,” said Rodriguez, who has earned both her brown and black belt from Rivera. “I too, want to change the mentality that Marines have about the program and teach how it can save lives during combat.”
Rivera is a leader that other Marines can proudly emulate, Rodriguez emphasized. She is the epitome of what a Marine should be, accepts nothing but the best and does not play favorites.
She is a Marine’s Marine.