Florida Trend NEXT: A Few Good Marines

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If you’re looking for the opportunity to fight for freedom, get money for college and get training for a great career, the Marines may be for you. Known as the most challenging branch of the military for its high physical and mental standards, the Marine Corps offers its members a choice among more than 100 career fields.

There are more than 180,000 active duty service members in the Marine Corps, and that number will increase to more than 200,000 by 2011. Two Florida high school grads share their experiences and tell why they chose the Marines as their path to a bright future.

Lance Corporal
Roger Heffner, 21
Graduate, Fleming Island High School
Orange Park

Roger Heffner was inspired to join the military by his father, a former Navy corpsman.

“The Marines have a camaraderie among each other that’s outstanding,” Roger says. “I knew that the Marine Corps was the branch that I wanted to join.”

Roger completed the standard 13-week Marine boot camp in October 2006 in Paris Island, S.C.

“I wouldn’t change anything about the experience,” he says. “It made me become a better, stronger man. I learned about teamwork and leadership, which has made me more confident.”

After boot camp, Roger attended military occupational skills school to learn to be a cargo helicopter (CH46) flight line mechanic. “I love my job,” he says. “I get to work on so many different parts of the aircraft, and I’m never bored because I’m always learning something new.” Roger is currently deployed in Iraq.

Joining the Marines has put me on a path of success,” he says. “My friends, family and old teachers are proud of me. The Marine Corps has so much to offer, but you must be part of it to know it, feel it and receive it.”

Private First Class
Jessica Pyfrin, 19
Graduate, Palm Beach Central
High School, Lake Worth

Like Roger, Jessica Pyfrin was inspired by a family member to join the military. Her grandfather was a Marine, and Jessica admired his commitment to his country.

“After I graduated from high school, I wanted to be somebody,” Jessica says. “I knew that joining the Marines could help me start a successful future.”

Jessica graduated from boot camp in February 2008 and describes her graduation as one of her proudest moments. She now works in Camp Pendleton, Calif., as a logistics embarkation specialist. It’s Jessica’s job to help military units prepare for deployment.

“I’m proud to be a Marine,” Jessica says. “Joining has taught me that if you put your mind to something, you can do anything.”


Signing bonus:
$5,000-$15,000 depending on the job you choose

Money for school:
Marine Corps College Fund ($50,000); Montgomery G.I. Bill ($38,400); plus $4,500 of tuition assistance per year when you’re on active duty.

Vacation days:
30 vacation days a year, most weekends and holidays off, depending on job

Basic training:
13 weeks

Length of enlistment:
8-year obligation with
4 years of active and
4 years of inactive service

Ages accepted:

Education requirement:
High school diploma; General Education Diploma (GED) or a home school completion certificate are also acceptable, but require special processing. Exceptions may be made in rare cases.

Vision requirement:
Vision must be correctable to 20/20 through glasses or contact lenses; corrective surgery is available depending on medical history and job.


–Ashley Cisneros
Ashley Cisneros is a co-founder of Chatter Buzz Media, an Orlando Internet marketing firm that helps companies and organizations engage with their target markets through inbound marketing via the Internet. Chatter Buzz Media, which won the Social Madness competition for the Orlando small business market, is a full-service digital marketing firm specializing in website design, search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing and content creation. Prior to founding Chatter Buzz, Ashley worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine editor, technical writer, marketing manager, public relations practitioner and freelance journalist. To see Ashley’s content writing, visit www.ashleycisneros.com. You can also reach Ashley on her Google profile.

By | 2017-04-28T07:32:41+00:00 December 21st, 2008|Categories: Blog, Samples|Tags: , , |0 Comments

About the Author:

Ashley Cisneros Mejia is a journalist, entrepreneur and marketer. She began her career as a newspaper reporter and later as an editor at Florida Trend business magazine. Ashley has worked as a professional freelance writer since 2009, as a technical writer, marketing manager, and public relations practitioner. She also founded two digital marketing agencies in Orlando. Named one of Orlando’s 40 Under 40 and honored by the Women’s Executive Council of Orlando for achievements in media and communications, Ashley earned a B.S. in Journalism and an M.S. in Entrepreneurship at the University of Florida.

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