Raiders Profile – Gunnery Sergeant Cruz


1st Sergeant Washington

The Raiders after finishing a 10 mile hike on April 29th of 2022.

  • How long have you been a part of the raiders?

“We’ve had raiders since about 2008. We started it off with a good group of cadets, very minimal stuff because we didn’t have much gear. Then covid happened so we lost a lot of cadets from that since they graduated. Then little by little, we started growing and it’s gotten pretty big with 40 cadets constantly.”

  • What do you want participating raiders cadets to take away from their experience?

“Well, it’s something new. I think that the cadets are learning health and fitness and CrossFit which are things that are very popular out there and that it’s not just about working one part of the body but the entire body.”

  • What is something you yourself have taken away from raiders? A lesson or mentality you’ve gained from your experience with the team.

“Every cadet operates at their own level, so I’m not looking for a perfect cadet because there is none but they have to be willing to accept the challenges physically and mentally and overcome that so they can be better. I don’t require you to excel in physical fitness or to be excellent just that you are willing to put in the effort and the work.

  • What is your proudest moment of raiders?

I think every time they improve individually. For example, if they say “‘Gunny last week I was doing 25 push-ups and this week I’m starting to do 30.’” Those are my proudest moments since they’re proud of themselves then I’m proud of them. Because they’re learning how to maintain themselves and be physically fit.

  • What was the first hike with the raiders like for you and the cadets?

“The first time was a learning experience. I think a lot of cadets also learned it’s not easy to say “‘Let’s go for a walk.’”. A lot of people encountered challenges they’d never encountered, for example, blisters on their feet. We had something for them by making them pack sneakers. They learned that “‘Oh I thought it was just a hike but this really is a challenge for me”, then they feel proud of themselves when they accomplished a 5-mile, a 10, a 20-mile.”