Highly impressive. That was the feeling I came away with after meeting Chris Alves. The 2012 Falmouth High School graduate spent four years in service to his country in the US Marine Corps and carries himself with integrity, character and a maturity well beyond his 25 years.
I asked him why he enlisted in the Marines. “I wanted to be the best,” he said proudly and without hesitation.
He went to basic training at Parris Island, South Carolina, and rose through the ranks with unbelievable speed, achieving the rank of sergeant.
Sergeant Alves was an M1A1 Tank crewman and headed a four-man crew. His duties took him to Spain, Israel, Yemen and Mosul. His thoughts on deployment: “It had its ups and downs, but it was good for me, despite the fact that we got shot at.”
Sergeant Alves worked every position on the tank, including driver, loader, gunner and tank commander. The duty was at times excruciating, especially with the intense heat inside the tank. He said of the feeling one gets in battle: “You train so much, the reaction kicks in and it becomes automatic.”
He recalled a moment when his platoon was getting ready to move. Insurgents launched four missiles directly at the platoon. Thankfully, two US Navy ships picked up the missiles on radar and intercepted them. “The missiles looked like big telephone poles,” he remembered. I asked him if he was ever afraid. His automatic response: “A Marine is never afraid.”
Being deployed during the holidays didn’t really bother Sergeant Alves. “You miss one, you miss them all,” he said. “I had my buddies, which was great. We were a very tight-knit group.”
He had several mentors during his time in military service and was adamant that they be mentioned. “I had some really great guys, Darryl Brown, Romny Grimaldi, Matthew Riveira, Kelvin Thomas. Their influence ranged from having my back, keeping me in check, teaching me a variety of skills, to inspiration and motivation. Pedro Delosantos and Christofer Ascenio were best buds, too.”
When asked to sum up his service to his country he said, “It was the best four years of my life. Had its ups and downs, but my friends made it worthwhile..”
Sergeant Alves is currently studying computer science at Cape Cod Community College and hopes to use the GI Bill to get his degree. He has a date for a police academy in July.
His awards include the National Defense Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Combat Action Ribbon. He still has several medals pending.
Sergeant Chris Alves, thank you for your service to our great country.