CLARK AIR BASE, Philippines -- “It's a nostalgic feeling to be in the country in which I was brought up in,” said Viktor Cadiente, a native of the Philippines and Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps. “It makes me realize how much I've grown, how far I've come, and it gives me that humbling feeling to be reminded where I came from.”
While in support of Amphibious Landing Exercise 2015, Cadiente was able to return to the Philippines and see his family for the first time in almost four years.
“This is the first time that my dad is seeing me in uniform,” said Cadiente, a joint fires observer currently assigned to 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade. “It is a good feeling to physically see my dad and see how proud he is of me.”
Cadiente grew up in the Philippines until the age of 16, and had always dreamed about serving in the military.
“Viktor has always been independent-minded and held a fascination with military life since he was a kid,” said Arnulfo D. de Vera, Cadiente’s father. “He nurtured that fascination by himself and I wasn't the least surprised when he finally decided to pursue his dream.”
Both Cadiente and his father believe serving in the Marine Corps has given him opportunities that might not have been available to him if he had stayed in the Philippines.
“The Marine Corps has given my son the maturity and outlook that he wouldn't have gotten as fast as he did from living a civilian life,” said de Vera, a Manila native. “I am very proud with the fact that he joined the Marines.”
During his sophomore year of high school, Cadiente moved to Hawaii where he stayed with his mother, who worked as a hospital janitor to support him and his little sister.
“The person who truly made things possible for me to have better education was my mother,” said Cadiente.
For Cadiente’s family, education has always been the key to success that will set him up for the future.
“The one thing I appreciate the most is the opportunity (he has) to obtain higher education while serving his country,” said de Vera.
Driven by the support of his wife, mother and family here in the Philippines, Cadiente says he will continue to pursue his dreams. He plans on continuing his education while pursuing the path of a Marine officer by applying for the Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program, which allows an enlisted Marine the opportunity to attend college, earn a degree and be commissioned as an officer.
“He has grown to be a smart and responsible grandson,” said Virginia Cadiente, his grandmother. “He is a man who strives really hard to achieve his dreams.”