Sgt. Anthony Cruz

Spotlight on You: Sgt. Anthony Cruz

Texas native goes from homeless to hero

by: Cpl. Carl King | .
published: December 12, 2017

“When I was 14 years old, I was homeless living under a bridge.”

Have you ever passed by a homeless person and wondered about their life story? You may have wondered what went wrong in this stranger’s life to get them to this point. Where will this person end up in the near future? Sgt. Anthony Cruz was at one time that stranger on the sidewalk and though he is now a United States Marine, he says many people didn’t see the future man he would become.

“I always felt like things would get better and that’s what motivated me to continue to strive for better,” said Cruz, a section leader for the operations section at the Jungle Warfare Training Center in Okinawa, Japan.

Cruz, a Dallas native, suffered with family problems and found himself homeless for nearly two years at a young age. He went weeks without food and often showered at his teacher’s house.

Through the struggle, he was able to provide for himself until he no longer had to. In 2013, Cruz joined the Marine Corps and never looked back.

“I chose the Marine Corps because I wanted a better life, but I also didn’t want an easy route,” said Cruz. “I joined blindly, only understanding that the Marine Corps was considered to be the best.”

Cruz graduated from Marine Corps Recruiting Depot San Diego in 2013 and followed on the School of Infantry, Infantry Training Battalion where he received the military occupational specialty of 0311 rifleman.

Cruz, now a Marine for nearly five years, is currently stationed in Okinawa, Japan.

“He’s always willing to volunteer and take initiative,” said Staff Sgt. Dustin Howell, the reconnaissance and surveillance chief instructor at JWTC. “He’s very humble and doesn’t take anything for granted.”

Cruz is the go to man at JWTC, according to Howell.

“He helps out his Marines no matter the time or date,” said Cpl. Brandon Quirez, a Marine under Cruz’s charge. “I think he should re-enlist; we need more [non-commissioned officers] like him.”

Photo Caption:
U.S. Marine Sgt. Anthony Cruz is a section leader for the operations section at the Jungle Warfare Training Center in Okinawa, Japan. Before joining the Marine Corps, Cruz was homeless at the age of 14. Cruz is a native of Dallas, Texas.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Carl King)

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