SAN FRANCISCO -- After more than four years Gunnery Sgt. Arturo Belmonte, a military policemen with Alpha Company, 1st Law Enforcement Battalion, and a native of Oakland, Calif., has returned home to the San Francisco Bay Area.
Belmonte said he is excited to be in San Francisco for Fleet Week 2014 and close to home, which gives him the opportunity to visit many of his many family members who live in the city.
“It’s good to see the people of San Francisco and see family again,” Belmonte said. “When people in the city see Marines, they’re very appreciative of us. They’re hospitality is fantastic. San Francisco, Oakland and the whole Bay Area is very pro-military. The community is amazing.”
Belmonte has served 20 successful years in the Marine Corps and during that time, he visited numerous countries in Europe, the Asia-Pacific and Africa. He also deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“I think my one of my biggest accomplishments in the Marine Corps was in Iraq,” Belmonte said. “I promised my Marines that each and every one of them would come back, and they did.”
But that’s not the only thing he’s proud of. What he believes to be his greatest personal accomplishment is his family. His oldest son graduated college and is attending law school and his middle son will be joining the Marine Corps in November.
“That’s something I’m extremely proud of as a father,” Belmonte said. “There’s nothing better than knowing my children are successful and on the right path.”
What Belmonte looks forward to the most, is a successful mission for the Navy-Marine Corps team during Fleet Week.
“I think it’s going to be a great time both for the military and for the city,” Belmonte said. “It’s a good opportunity to show off our assets and what we can provide for the people of San Francisco.”
Over the next week, Marine units will demonstrate assets available for the Bay Area in response to a sudden crisis. The intent is to showcase amphibious nature, readiness and the ability to respond to disasters and highlight the role the Navy-Marine Corps team can play in assisting disaster victims.
“To have the opportunity to have citizens offer thanks and appreciation to our Marines and Sailors as they make their way through San Francisco is personally rewarding as a Marine but also as a citizen,” said Belmonte. “To see the positive interaction between our military and our citizens, I’m not sure we can understand how unique that may be around the world.”