CAMP GARMSER, Afghanistan --
At six months old, Petty Officer 1st Class Otto Giron was left with his older sister and grandmother in his home country of Guatemala while his mother went to America to build a better life for her family.
After four years, she was finally able to send for her children, and Giron spent the rest of his childhood growing up in America. The years flew by, and as high school graduation approached, Giron knew he needed to figure out what to do with his life.
“I was looking for direction,” said Giron, the medical advisor with the Combat Logistics Battalion 5 Embedded Partnering Team. “I knew I didn’t want to go to college. I wanted to be led, so I signed up.”
Although the original plan was to just serve four years, the Navy lifestyle Giron experienced had him hooked.
“Once I joined it just consumed me,” said Giron, 33, a native of Colton, Calif. “The Navy has become a part of who I am.”
As an advanced X-ray technician, Giron has helped with multiple complex surgeries for wounded Marines and sailors throughout his career. After serving two deployments in Iraq, he saw many service members who had been hit with improvised explosive devices. These experiences showed him how important his job was.
“I’m a high school graduate, and I’m providing these doctors who have had 12 years of college with the images they look at to see how they are going to [operate] and significantly impact their life,” Giron said.
Fifteen years after first enlisting, Giron is currently serving in Afghanistan on his third combat tour. As part of the EPT, Giron works with soldiers of the 5th Kandak, 1st Brigade, Afghan National Army at Camp Garmser.
“I feel fortunate that I have the opportunity to pass on the knowledge that I have learned throughout my career and can now teach it to members of a partnering nation,” said Giron. “’I hope in turn it helps me grow and improve as a sailor myself.”
Giron works daily with the medical team of the 5th Kandak increasing the soldiers’ medical knowledge and supporting combat life saving courses.
“In the end I guess I became part of something greater than myself and that’s really the reward for me.”