CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
From helping U.S. Marines at the age of 12 during the Haiti earthquake to joining the U.S. Marine Corps at the age of 21, U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Nailey Riviere, a motor transport operator with Combat Logistics Battalion 15, Combat Logistics Regiment 1, 1st Marine Logistics Group, reflects on her journey to joining the Marine Corps.
Riviere was born in Haiti and lived with her parents and siblings. She was only 12 when she had her first experience with Marines, when they were deployed to Haiti to assist with the 7.0 magnitude earthquake, which happened on January 12, 2010. Since Riviere had the ability to speak 4 languages, she helped Marines with translating, passing out food and water, and removing people from the rubble.
“I felt good, and I really wanted to continue helping people,” said Rivere. “One of the Marines told me to join the Marine Corps so I asked about what it is, and they said I would get to wear their uniform and be able to help people in so many different places.”
Six years later, at the age of 18, Riviere moved to live with a relative in the United States, leaving the rest of her family behind so she could pursue better educational opportunities. She completed high school in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts in 2017 then went to college for a year and a half. She decided that college wasn’t what she was looking for, so she ended up talking to a Marine recruiter from Worcester, Massachusetts. When she joined the Delayed Entry Program, family and friends were unsure she would be able to complete basic training, but she persevered because she knew she wanted to become a U.S. Marine.
“I talked to my family about joining the Marine Corps, but they really weren’t about it because I was a girl with glasses,” said Rivere. “Now look at me, I’m a girl and I did it.”
After becoming the first Marine in her family, Riviere was able to facilitate her siblings moving to the U.S. and hopes to be able to help her parents move as well.
In the Marine Corps, Riviere deployed with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which gave her the opportunity to participate in training with many other countries. She expects to go on a second deployment next year. As a motor transport operator. She has had the opportunity to drive different military vehicles and receive licenses for each one. She enjoys the hands-on aspects of her job, getting outdoors, and supporting Marine Corps operations.
“My favorite thing is driving, and we get to go off-roading, mudding, and get dirty,” said Riviere. “We take people places because without us no one could go anywhere to do their job since we support everybody, and I love receiving their gratitude.”
In addition to her job as a Marine, she has also returned to college and is working on a bachelor's degree in criminal justice.
When Riviere became a non-commissioned officer, her goal was to be a mentor and leader for her junior Marines. As a leader, she strives to be patient and kind, and drive them to be successful in their careers.
“I teach them everything I know, and they teach me things and I’m glad to take it in,” said Riviere. “I would rather be out there with my junior Marines than sitting in the office because I love being hands on.”
More than 3 1/2 years since joining the Marine Corps, Riviere has learned leadership skills and taken on more and more responsibilities. She has had the opportunity to receive a variety of training and worked with other military forces abroad. Riviere feels that joining the Marine Corps was the best decision she’s ever made and has recently made the decision to reenlist.
“I’m very grateful for the Marine Corps because there are so many opportunities and the chance to learn different military occupational specialties,” said Riviere. “I’ve learned so much and it’s not even the end of it, there’s so much more out there that I’m eager to learn more. It’s the reason why I reenlisted.”