By Rick Burke, Navy Office of Community Outreach
TAMPA, FL. – A Tampa Bay, Florida, native is serving with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (24th MEU), one of seven Marine Expeditionary Units, in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Victor Rosario is a 2014 Brandon High School graduate. Today, Rosario serves as a Navy religious program specialist.
“In civilian terms, an RP or religious program specialist, would be similar to a pastoral clerk,” said Rosario. “Really, as an RP, you’re a jack of all trades. Not only are you a pastoral clerk but you provide security for the Chaplain. You assist the Chaplain with daily activities, advise the chain of command on ethical decisions as well as provide religious services to the Marines and sailors.”
Rosario joined the Navy five years ago to utilize the military as a stepping stone to achieve life goals.According to Rosario, the values required to succeed in the Navy are similar to those found in Tampa Bay.
“Learning to being resilient and to overcome whatever task or obstacle you have in your way, is just a smaller piece of a bigger puzzle,” said Rosario. “The events that I have gone through in my life, have helped me become a more resilient person in the military. Not everything goes as planned, so you have to be “Semper Gumby” and always be flexible for whatever comes next, especially in the Marine Corps.”
“On the pastoral side, you have to know your flock,” added Rosario. “People are, in my opinion, the greatest asset in the military, so if you treat your people well and respect them then it will pay off tenfold when it comes time to accomplish the mission.”
The 24th MEU is a Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) currently based out of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. With a strength of about 2,200 personnel, 24th MEU provides geographic combatant commanders with a forward-deployed, rapid-response force capable of conducting conventional amphibious and selected maritime special operations at night or under adverse weather conditions from the sea, by surface and/or by air while under communications and electronics restrictions.
“Serving at 24th MEU, I enjoy the Marines and sailors that I work with,” said Rosario. “People are the foundation of the unit, and because of the people, it makes work actually pretty fun.”
Though there are many opportunities for sailors to earn recognition in their command, community and careers, Rosario is most proud of receiving the Fleet Marine Force Warfare insignia, also know as the FMF pin.
“That pin took me about 17 and a half months to get,” said Rosario. “It literally took blood, sweat and tears. What it signifies, is the Navy and Marine Corps integration and just mastering Marine Corps knowledge as a Navy sailor.”
As a member of the U.S. Navy, Rosario, as well as other sailors, know they are a part of a service tradition providing unforgettable experiences through leadership development, world affairs, and humanitarian assistance. Their efforts will have a lasting effect around the globe and for generations of sailors who will follow.
“Serving to me, grants me the opportunity to help not only Marines and sailors, but their families with some of the problems they struggle with,” added Rosario. “Also, it means to have a different perspective, because everyone thinks that the military is all about war but as an RP, we really focus on self-preservation. We make sure Marines and sailors are spiritually and mentally ready to continue the task at hand. It means a lot to me, to have the opportunity to be able to impact people’s lives.”
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