After four years as a sergeant, the CNMI’s own Jeremy B. Lizama was promoted to staff sergeant last Nov. 16, with U.S. Indo-Pacific Command liaison officer for the CNMI Maj. Joshua Kettenton officiating the promotion and Lizama’s family and friends witnessing the special occasion.
Lizama currently works as a recruiter at the U.S. Marines recruiting office along Beach Road, Saipan.
In an interview yesterday, Lizama said he enlisted in the Marines in May 2013. At that time, he was in Guam for school but then he changed his mind and decided to enlist. “The plan was to go to school, and I guess [school] wasn’t my calling. I went to the Marines instead,” he said.
For most of his eight years as a Marine, Lizama was off-island, spending the longest of time in San Diego, California with brief one or six-month stints in Korea and Japan. Lizama came back to Saipan in August 2020 and began working as a recruiter in October 2020.
Speaking of his rank progression, Lizama said he was first promoted from private to private first class in 2014. He was a PFC for 10 months, and soon after was promoted to lance corporal. He was a lance corporal for two and a half years before being promoted to corporal in 2016. In 2017, he was promoted to sergeant. After four years, he was promoted to staff sergeant last week.
When asked about the promotion process, Lizama said his records went up for review by a board composed of higher-ranking Marines. It was a competitive process, Lizama said, with many other sergeants being considered for promotion.
When asked what might have stuck out about him that earned him a promotion, Lizama said he has already received two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals: one for his achievements in his work during his time in Japan, and another for his work as a recruiter.
Lizama credits his achievements to family. “It’s always family; you can’t do it without their support, and they’re what keeps me going. Yes, I’m doing [this] for myself, but I’m also doing it because of them,” said Lizama.
Lizama in particular thanked his wife, who he said has been there for him even before he joined the Marines. He said “she keeps me in check” and has stuck with him through the good and bad days.
“She’s been there since way before I joined the military. She keeps me in check. … Whenever I feel like ‘Oh, this is it, I’m done’, she’s [always] there to support me. Without her and my family, I don’t think I will be here right now,” he added.
Lizama was born and raised on Saipan. He grew up in Koblerville and graduated from Saipan Southern High School in 2012.