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Haitian Teen Learns English, Then Joins Marine Corps

Marine Corps Sgt. Ricardo Fleuridor, 22, learned to speak English eight years ago. 

When he was 14, Fleuridor left St. Marc, Haiti, for the United States, settling down in Pompano Beach, Florida. 

A Marine poses for a photo.
Marine Corps Sgt. Ricardo Fleurido
Marine Corps Sgt. Ricardo Fleuridor is participating in Exercise Talisman Sabre in Queensland, Australia, July 23, 2023. Talisman Sabre is the largest military exercise between Australia and the United States. It aims to advance a free and open Indo-Pacific by strengthening relationships and interoperability among key allies and enhancing allies’ collective capabilities to respond to a wide array of potential security concerns.
Photo By: David Vergun, DOD
VIRIN: 230726-D-UB488-300A

Arriving in Florida and not speaking a word of English, Fleuridor buckled down to learn the language. Today his English is excellent and it's hard to hear an accent. 

Besides English, Fleuridor is fluent in French, Creole, Spanish and Portuguese. He's now stationed on Okinawa, where he's also trying his hand at learning Japanese. 

Fleuridor is currently deployed to Queensland, Australia, where he's a truck driver for the Battallion Landing 2/1, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit. He's now one of the thousands of troops participating in Exercise Talisman Sabre 23. 

This year marks the 10th iteration of Talisman Sabre, a biennial exercise designed to advance a free and open Indo-Pacific by strengthening partnerships and interoperability among key allies. The spelling of the name — sabre vs. saber — reflects which country is leading the exercise: Talisman Sabre when Australia leads and Talisman Saber when the U.S. leads. 

Thirteen nations from Japan to Germany are participating in this year's full exercise. 

Fleuridor said that when he told his parents he was going to enlist in the Marine Corps, they were not exactly thrilled. But they are now, he added. 

While Fleuridor likes driving trucks, he said he plans to reenlist to become a drill instructor — one of the hardest jobs in the Marine Corps. 

A military convoy moves out.
Neighborhood Convoy
Marine Corps Sgt. Ricardo Fleuridor drives a truck in a convoy in Queensland, Australia, during Talisman Sabre 23, July 26, 2023.
Photo By: David Vergun, DOD
VIRIN: 230726-D-UB488-301A

But for Fleuridor, he said it's just another exciting challenge for him — like learning English and becoming a Marine. 

During his spare time on Okinawa, Fleuridor and his buddies watch videos of jujitsu, and they practice their moves. 

Two other hobbies are playing soccer and taking photographs of people, animals and anything else that catches his fancy. 

Fleuridor also loves the Marine Corps and plans to make it a career. 

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