This is my story: Sgt. Avery Luengo MCIPAC NCO of the Year

U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Avery Luengo, the platoon sergeant for G-6 Customer Service Branch, reads his book on Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan, Feb. 12, 2020. Luengo remains proactive with his Marines and his own duties by being a force multiplier and exceeding the standard of a noncommissioned officer by earning several awards and certifications through various demanding billets. Luengo is a native of Reynosa, Mexico, and McAllen, Texas. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Karis Mattingly)
U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Avery Luengo, the platoon sergeant for G-6 Customer Service Branch, reads his book on Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan, Feb. 12, 2020. Luengo remains proactive with his Marines and his own duties by being a force multiplier and exceeding the standard of a noncommissioned officer by earning several awards and certifications through various demanding billets. Luengo is a native of Reynosa, Mexico, and McAllen, Texas. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Karis Mattingly)

This is my story: Sgt. Avery Luengo MCIPAC NCO of the Year

by Cpl. Karis Mattingly
Marine Corps Installations Pacific

CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan – The Marine Corps Installations Pacific Noncommissioned Officer of the Year is described by the Marines that know him best as a role model and mentor. Others describe him as the definition of discipline and Marine Corps values.

He simply describes himself as a sergeant of Marines.

U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Avery Luengo was raised in Reynosa, Mexico, but high school freshman year, moved to McAllen, Texas to finish his diploma. Growing up in Mexico, Luengo lived a focused life dedicating his time and effort to education. His parents were both teachers, so academics were heavily emphasized within his family.

“I remember that there was a gate where parents would pick up their kids,” said Luengo. “On that gate, there was a wall with photos of everyone on the honor roll. My picture was at the top of that list for every single grade. There was one time I placed third during the year, and it was the biggest disappointment to me and my parents. I thought ‘never again.’”

And that was the last time that happened.

Luengo explained that as a child, he was shy and reserved, but held values of obedience and discipline. However, he has developed into an extrovert and people-oriented man that still maintains the values held as a child. His father used to tell him that discipline is the foundation of everything. This childhood mantra outlived his adolescence and still resonates with the 29-year-old today.

“Growing up me and my family were very close, but we were a large family, so I didn’t meet some of my cousins till I was grown,” said Luengo. “When I did meet them, I realized something was different about them. Then I found out that they had just ended their active service within the Marine Corps. Once my cousins showed me all of their Marine Corps stuff, I was like, ‘I want to be a Marine.’”

After interacting with his Marine veteran cousins, Luengo explains that he knew he wanted to be a Marine. However, first he needed to finish an associate’s degree in kinesiology to satisfy his parents’ wishes. Once completed, he met his local recruiter and enlisted into the Marine Corps to follow his older cousin’s footsteps. From the moment he got to his first duty station in Okinawa, he was on the ground running. He was sent on a range of different exercises in other countries with 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. This operation tempo only increased as his career progressed.

A mentee tells his perception of Luengo

“I met Sgt. Luengo when I was in Lance Corporal Leadership and Ethics Seminar,” said Lance Cpl. Zabian Jones, a passenger travel clerk with Distribution Management Office, and a native of Atlanta, Georgia. “He was my squad leader. He is the ideal role model, and I am really thankful to have met him.”

Jones explained that Luengo’s character speaks volumes to his traits as a Marine.

“He is not only a valuable asset to Headquarters and Support Battalion, but to the Marine Corps,” he said. “There are so many things to admire, but one that I would like to point out is his determination, passion and his pinnacle of motivation.”

He recommends for anyone to go to Luengo for knowledge. Jones speaks with confidence that if Luengo does not know an answer he will go find it and even provides additional knowledge.

“He is clearly here to help out, and I am glad the Marine Corps was established so we could find Marines like him,” said Jones. “He is the real definition of a Marine.”

An NCO describes Luengo's character

“I know Sgt. Luengo through the G-6 Customer Service Branch,” said Cpl. Justin Kirschner, an electronics maintenance technician with G-6 Electronics Maintenance Branch, and a native of Tampa, Florida. “However, I got to know him through his service with H&S Battalion and the local community.”

He continued to explain that Luengo puts others before himself by sacrificing his time to bettering those around him. His proactive steps within in the community, his job and junior Marines, is a further demonstration of how he meets and exceeds the standard.

“By taking the initiative to do those things and put forth an effort, it shows other Marines they can do it as well,” he said. “Seeing Sgt. Luengo trying his best and exceeding his limits, that within itself, is motivation. He is the example of hard work.”

Kirschner explained that in almost every promotion ceremony within G-6, he hears a Marine choose Luengo to pin them to the next rank. To Kirschner, that is the pinnacle of someone to aspire to be like.

“He brings high quality to whatever he does,” he said. “I think that the way in which he tries his best to implement corps values in everything he does makes a difference.”

Who Luengo is today

This sergeant of Marines has exceeded the standards set of a noncommissioned officer by holding a multitude of billets, awards and certifications.

“I continue to try and take my past life experiences and what I am doing currently to inspire others,” said Luengo. “By achieving these different billets, goals and awards, I’ve placed pressure on others. I want to make sure people feel uncomfortable that they aren’t doing enough. We should continuously be training, perfecting and developing our craft. We should also aspire to be as ready and valuable as an asset to the Marine Corps as we can be.”

Luengo is currently a martial arts instructor and slated to attend the inaugural combined MAI Trainer and Force Fitness Instructors Course in Quantico, Virginia. He has instructed Marine Corps Martial Arts Programs for over 100 Marines within and outside of his unit. Additionally, he was sent to Ie Shima Island to instruct a course for Marines whose units aren’t equipped with MAIs readily available to teach MCMAP.

“While I am running a course, I typically wake up at 4:20 a.m. and chug a black coffee,” he said. “I start my first MCMAP session for about an hour. Then come back to my room, change over and do a little reading before I leave. The book contains daily reading that just gives me a little insight and reflection for the day. After that, I head to work.”

His achievements extend beyond his military occupational specialty and as a martial arts instructor. He has also attended and completed the High Intensity Tactical Training Small Unit Leader Course. Additionally, he placed seventh out of 27 contestants for the HITT Installations Pacific competition.

Luengo is the platoon sergeant for G-6, customer service. His role is to regularly lead, guide and mentor the nine Marines under his charge. He supervises work tickets and orders, creation and modification of accounts, transferring and installation of software, hardware and assets.

“My day at work consists of meetings, computer and ticket jobs and working with the Marines,” he said. “Then during chow is my physical training time. I will either train with the running program I use or prepare for the MAI and FFI course in April. Then I come back to my room, change over, eat and go back to work and finish the day.”

After work hours, Luengo remains proactive with his Marines and duties as a Marine. Continuing to be a force multiplier, he runs a second training session for his MCMAP course.

“After the evening MCMAP course, I again, come back to my room, change over and work on anything else I need to get done," he said. "Once finished, I try and decompress and prepare for the next day.”

To unwind, Luengo explains that typically he will message his friends and play Call of Duty with them. He said his favorite days are when he can get a cheat meal, drink a little wine and watch some TV before bed. Luengo is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology, and is only a semester away from finishing. On the weekends, is his time to finish assignments and prepare for the following week to come.

Luengo expresses that he can feel his time at MCIPAC running out of his hands. Every day he conquers his demanding lifestyle with hopes his legacy remain long after he leaves.

“I was inspired by my cousin, who was in the Marine Corps, to be someone I look up to as a figure to follow,” said Luengo. “To me, seeing the epitome of success while looking towards my older cousins is what I’ve been striving for ever since. By adopting the mindset of becoming the best sergeant I can be, it means I may have that same effect on the next lance corporal. As NCOs we plant that seed in Marines in hopes that they do great things.”

“You never know how your job and work ethic impacts others who want to be better,” he said. “The potential is there, and the possibilities are endless. So, are you going to be disciplined enough? Are you going to develop that work ethic to push yourself and reach those goals you have set out for yourself? Continue to inspire other people to be as hungry as they can for success.”

Luengo plans to serve 20 years in the Marine Corps. Through that time he aspires to transition to an officer or warrant officer with the degree he acquires. No matter the course of his career, Luengo explains that he will maintain the same mental fortitude and disciple that has kept him going since childhood.

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