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A Chat With Private Mike Ochoa

The 22-year-old Charlestown native lets us in on life in the Army.

Patch: When did you join the military? Where in the world are you now, and what's your current rank?

Ochoa: I enlisted Jan. 11, and left for Fort Benning, Georgia, April 11. I'm currently live at Fort Carson in Colorado. My MOS, a.k.a. job, is 11b and that's infantry.

Patch: What motivated you to join?

Ochoa: I wanted to do something with my life. I wasn't going to school--I tried BHCC and didn't have the discipline to keep with it. Now I think I'm ready for school, but right now I can't.

Patch:  What's an average day in the military like for you?

Ochoa: So far, I love this place. This place is beautiful; I have a view of the mountains right behind my barracks. It's been a huge change from basic training to regular army because at basic we had nothing. We have so much freedom—like, we couldn't drink soda, have fast food or candy. Now we have all that and more.

We've been training for our EIB (expert infantry badge) which is tough because there's so much we need to know, from knowing all our weapons to land navigation to first aid to battle drills.

Patch: What are your goals within the military?

Ochoa: My goals within the military are: trying to rank up as fast as I can to become a Sergeant, go to airborne school, and then try out for ranger school. Maybe try out for sniper school. I also want, I think, to become Level 3 or 4 Combatives certified.

Patch: How does the military fit in with other goals you may have outside the military?

Ochoa: I'm not sure how i'm gonna use my combat training in the civilian world unless i wanna go SWAT or something. The discipline I've learned here I'll apply to my civilian life.

Patch: What part(s) of the world are you hoping to serve in? Do you worry about being deployed to active war zones?

Ochoa: Germany would be an awesome place to be stationed at. I'm not really worrying about being deployed right now.

Patch: Any favorite places in Charlestown or Boston?

Ochoa: My favorite places around Boston are around the Fenway area, because I love going to shows. I like going to Faneuil Hall because I have a couple friends who work at a bar around there.

Patch: What do you miss most about home?

Ochoa: I miss my mom and my friends. I also miss playing lacrosse. I've had cravings to just play, but people either don't know what it is or just don't play.

Patch: Do you know anyone else from Charlestown who joined? If you do, did they affect your decision?

Ochoa: My best friend Shane joined the Navy. There were a lot of things that helped me get the courage to join, and he was one of them. I saw how good he was doing and everything, and I thought to myself that I wasn't getting anywhere here in Boston, so I talked to my recruiter, and here I am now.

Elaine Donovan November 12, 2011 at 03:47 PM
I've known Michael since he was a baby, and he's always been one of the nicest kids in the neighborhood! Michael was the kid who helps you up with the bundles, and holds the door for you. His Mom Maria is so very proud, as she should be! He was a wonderful kid, and he's now a terrific young man! We're so proud of you Mike!!
Tricia November 12, 2011 at 11:25 PM
So true Elaine! Michael lived downstairs from me throughout most of his childhood and grew up with my son. I had the pleasure of a visit from Michael when he was home on leave after boot camp. Always a good kid who made positive choices for his life. Maria did a wonderful job raising this terrific young man! I have no doubt in your ability to reach all of your goals Michael! You deserve the very best that life has to offer! Don't forget to stop by Newhalls' the next time your home!

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