SIMPSONVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Marine veteran Osvaldo ‘Os’ Perez said it was always in him to serve.

“Every military male and my family that I know have served in, in one of the branches,” Perez told 7 NEWS. “Mainly the Army and the Air Force.”

Originally Perez said he didn’t know which branch to pursue, so he shopped around.

“And then I visited the Marine Corps and just the first conversation with a recruiter I was like, ‘yeah, man, I want to be like you,’ said Perez.

He joined a program designed for aviation maintenance.

“So I’m like, yeah, that sounds interesting. I can pick up a skill,” Perez said. “Maybe when I get out, I can, you know, potentially work for an airline or work in the aviation field.”

During his five-year contract, Perez was assigned to Marine One.

“I was assigned to the Marines Presidential helicopter squadron and we did maintenance directly on Marine One and other assets that supports the White House and the Oval Office,” said Perez.

After five years, Perez said he wanted to stay but his re-enlistment options weren’t what he wanted.

“I made peace with it and got out,” he shared. “I went through a very stressful transition period, it was very stressful. I even lost hair.”

Perez said it’s an area that should be improved.

“The military is a big machine. Right? And it does an incredible job recruiting, training and equipping,” Perez said. “You know? But it lacks poorly on on the transition phase out.”

Perez said his experience in the Marines set him up to work as a Department of Defense contractor.

“We would go and train E.O.D. teams, Explosive and Ordnance Disposal teams for the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air force,” he shared. “So they will take these training aids, to give to the E.O.D. teams and train them on how to defuse those.”

Then he became a police officer for eight years.

“I was missing the camaraderie,” he explained. “I was missing the purpose, the brotherhood, and I found it on law enforcement.”

He now works as a corporate investigator living here in Simpsonville.

Perez said he had a great time in the Marine Corps.

He shared one suggestion for those who are fortunate enough to have veterans in their life.

“Keep in touch with your veterans, with your fellow your fellow buddies,” Perez said. “It’s very important.”

He added for many, it’s what keeps them moving forward.

Osvaldo Perez, Thank You for Your Service.

To nominate a veteran to be featured in our Thank You for Your Service series, click here.