MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT, San Diego --
Ambition is the desire that drives one to achieve the goals they have set. It makes every step toward completing that goal worthwhile, no matter how long it takes.
Pfc. Steven Sieker, Platoon 1031, Company B, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, had no problem achieving his goal to become a police officer for the Los Angeles Police Department, but Sieker’s life-long goal was to be a Marine.
“I always wanted to be a Marine,” said Sieker. “I not only saw it as an opportunity to start my career in law enforcement, but a way to develop myself personally and professionally.”
Although the 30-year-old Inglewood, Calif. native always wanted to enlist in the Marine Corps, his desire grew stronger after 9/11.
“I had really strong feelings about it,” said Sieker. “I wanted to serve my country.”
After a heart-to-heart talk with his family, Sieker decided not to enlist, but the idea still lingered in the back of his mind.
He attended El Camino Community College, Torrance, Calif. and left with an associate’s degree in criminal administrative justice. From there, he went to California State University, Long Beach, Calif. where he continued his education pursuing his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.
During that time, Sieker applied to be a police officer for the LAPD and got the job. He left the university, attended the academy and was a full-time police officer by 2002.
From shift to shift and call to call, Sieker patrolled the streets and served his community as a police officer for 10 years.
“As an officer, you establish ties with the community,” said Sieker. “I go home everyday feeling fulfilled; it’s the best job in the world.”
Over the years, Sieker had the opportunity to work with former Marines. He saw how they carried themselves, holding themselves to a higher standard even as civilians. He saw the Marines as being tactically different, witnessing how they would apply their experiences to the job and the overall outcome. What he admired most about them was their leadership skills.
“I wanted to be a good leader,” said Sieker. “I knew if I became a Marine it would make me a better person and a better police officer.”
Those traits were the determining factor of Sieker’s decision to join. He enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserves and began his journey aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego Feb. 13.
Sieker held the billet of guide, a title given to the recruit who shows the most leadership traits and takes care of the platoon. He was given the billet the day he arrived at the depot.
“He’s been our guide since receiving,” said Pvt. Tyler Krahulee, Plt. 1031, Co. B, 1st RTBn. “The whole platoon respects him because of the experiences he’s had.”
As guide, Sieker was able to learn about small-unit leadership. He organized the platoon, took care of each recruit and treated them equally. He would rise above situations in a calm manner and get the job done, said Krahulee.
Sieker kept his cool and continued to lead the platoon through the vigorous training days. His drill instructors also noticed the mature way Sieker went about recruit training.
“He leads by example,” said Sgt. Chris Flores, senior drill instructor, Plt. 1031, Co. B, 1st RTBn. “Sieker’s has a lot of experience; he knows what he’s talking about and the other recruits respect him for that.”
Although Sieker applied his experiences from being a police officer to recruit training, he was also able to learn how he can be a better leader throughout his career.
“He learned to see the other recruits as his peers as opposed to people below him,” explained Flores. “As a leader, you want to be able to understand the people you are leading and treat them fair.”
Being almost 10 years older than most of his peers, Sieker saw the age difference as a chance to use his experiences to provide knowledge and also as an opportunity to learn from the younger recruits.
“It was one of my biggest challenges,” said Sieker. “It was hard being away from people my own age; there were a lot of lessons learned.”
With the leadership traits that were instilled in him throughout training, Sieker plans on continuing his career with the LAPD and to finish his degree at CSU, Long Beach.
“The training I received here is above and beyond what I expected,” said Sieker. “I learned about being a leader and I plan on applying it to help develop me in my career.”