WARRENTON, Ore. – Youth member of the Young Marines, Young Marines Sgt. Maj. Anna Saucedo, 16, was selected as the Honor Graduate of the Young Marines’ National Leadership Academy held in early July at Camp Rilea Armed Forces Training Center in Warrenton, Oregon.
Saucedo trained for two weeks to become a better leader alongside more than 250 other Young Marines from across the country. After physical and written tests, obstacle courses, leadership classes and close order drill, she was selected as the top Young Marine at the Advanced Leadership School.
In addition, she earned the Iron Molly award for the highest score on the physical fitness test, a perfect 500. Saucedo won the Iron Molly at all three schools in three consecutive years – Junior Leadership School, Senior Leadership School and Advanced Leadership School.
She also won the Inspire Award, which is a peer-voted award presented by the Young Marines Alumni Association at the Advanced Leadership School.
A national youth organization, the Young Marines is a leadership program for boys and girls age eight through high school graduation. The program emphasizes the core values of teamwork, leadership and discipline. It focuses on American history, physical fitness, public speaking, citizenship, community service and living a healthy, drug-free lifestyle.
Saucedo is a member of the Temecula Valley Young Marines under the command of Gary Reed, located in Temecula. Saucedo will be a senior at Temecula Valley High School.
A shining star of the program, Saucedo can add the recent honors to her growing list of awards. Named Division Young Marine of the Year in January, she was the Honor Graduate of her recruit class. She completed nine perfect physical fitness tests, earning the personal achievement ribbon.
Her proficiency in American Sign Language earned a communications ribbon, and other ribbons that mean a great deal to Saucedo were earned merits in veteran’s appreciation and community service.
Saucedo joined the Young Marines at age 12, and currently, she is in her fifth year in the program.
“I wanted to stay healthy, fit and be outdoors,” she said. “I wanted to learn to be part of a team, and I was in search of community involvement. The Young Marines offered everything I was looking for and so much more. The organization has taught me that with discipline and commitment, I can overcome any challenge or obstacle I encounter. And I have experienced camaraderie unlike that of any other program.”
After she completes high school, she plans to earn a degree in the mathematics field at a military service academy or a four-year university with an NROTC program. Saucedo aspires to become an officer in the United States Marine Corps or Navy.
“The Young Marines has given me the discipline necessary to set and reach any goals I set,” she said. “I am now proud to say I know how to be a leader and more important, how to be a team member. After meeting the Navajo Code Talkers, Pearl Harbor survivors and countless other retired and active service members, I have developed a profound sense of patriotism and gratitude.”
Saucedo is the daughter of Angela and Abel Saucedo, who are both supportive of their daughter’s choices and involvement. She has three brothers and one sister.