Martina Cajero’s Christmas present came early, in the form of her son, U.S. Marines Sgt. Jose G. Cajero, MSG.
The strapping young Marine, in his dress blues, walked into the Wal-Mart bakery department on Wednesday afternoon, surprising his mother as she was preparing to leave work for the day.
“So much emotion,” Martina Cajero said, through her son’s translation. “I had no idea he was coming. One minute I was making bread, and the next minute he was standing there. I didn’t think he was really coming.”
Jose Cajero planned the surprise visit, aided by his close friends Eli and Ethan Weathers, and their parents Guy and Nancy Weathers.
“I would do anything for those folks,” Cajero said. “They went above and beyond. To pick me up from the airport, give me a place to stay overnight to bringing me down here to do this. Without them I couldn’t have done this. Words cannot describe how grateful I am for everything they have done.”
His biggest worry was keeping his visit home a surprise.
“She had no clue,” he said. “Keeping it from her was the hardest part.”
Cajero graduated Mineral Wells High School in 2010, having played football for the Rams as guard and center under former head coaches David Bourquin and Chuck Lawrence. He was the team’s top offensive lineman his junior and senior years.
“We didn’t win much, but we had a good time,” he said. “David Bourquin, a man after my own heart. A man who taught me more life lessons than I can count in two hands.”
He has a younger brother, Juan, and a sister, Vanessa. His father, Oscar, is employed at Cantex.
Cajero enlisted with the Marines after his high school graduation.
“I wanted something that was a little more difficult,” he said. “I never settled for just enough. I always push a little further. I respect all branches equally, but the really appealed to me because of the smaller size, the intensity, and how hard they said boot camp is — and it was every ounce as hard as they said it was. Every bit of it. Everyone meets their Huckleberry in the Marines boot camp.”
He said he went into the Corps as a radar technician and did one tour of Afghanistan. He learned of the Marine Security Guard program, involving assignments as a diplomatic guard at three embassies in three countries, and decided that was for him. He extended his original commitment.
He ended up on security details in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Juba, South Sudan; and Hanoi, Vietnam.
He said he went from meeting President Obama to being “hunkered down on a rooftop in Juba, waiting for a coup.”
“I have had every experience you can imagine,” he said. “I have had so many experiences all throughout the world. I have seen so many things. Nothing compares to being back home with mama in Mineral Wells, Texas. There is no place like home, as they say.”
He was even able to work with orphaned children in Juba, a place he said is one of the toughest places on Earth to grow up and live. Still, he said the people there remain optimistic.
“The only one I wouldn’t go back to is Juba,” he said. “A lot of carnage. They need every bit of aid they can get.”
He is now out of the Corps and is preparing to begin college in San Diego, Calif. He said after graduation he hopes to go back into diplomacy work, “protecting America’s interests.”
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