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News | Nov. 2, 2023

Meet Your Recruiter - Staff Sgt. Mara Picazo

By Staff Sgt. Eric Johnson USAREC Public Affairs

Staff Sgt. Mara Picazo, a recruiter with the El Cajon Recruiting Station, Southern California Recruiting Battalion, began her Army career as a human intelligence collector because being in law enforcement has always been her end goal. Recently she was recognized by U.S. Army Recruiting Command leadership as a top performing recruiter, and Picazo knew that to accomplish her dream, she needed help.  

“If I’m being honest, trying to achieve my goals on my own wasn’t physically or financially possible,” Picazo said. “If I wanted to advance in my professional career, I would have to intern which equaled to being broke; or work and put my professional career on hold to pay my bills. The Army gave me the opportunity to focus on my goals while they took care of my bills.” 

Her job exposed her to working with other intelligence entities within the Department of Defense and helped her grow as a leader. She is grateful for the hands-on training that is preparing her for a second career after she retires. 

“Sgt. 1st Class Sanchez, my station commander has motivated me to always be the best,” Picazo said. “No matter how trivial the task is, do the best you can, and you will be successful. He also instills, ‘You miss 100% of the shots you didn’t take.’” 

Working within USAREC has been such a unique and amazing experience for her. 

“I love what I do; I change people’s lives, and it’s rewarding to see and follow their journey and transition from civilians to Soldiers,” Picazo said. 

When not recruiting Picazo enjoys spending time with her family and especially coaching her daughter’s soccer team.  She also likes traveling and trying new things such as food and attending concerts and sporting events.  

“The Army gave me the opportunity to follow my dreams in every aspect including financial, personal and professional,” Picazo said. “I’ve learned how to think outside the box and become a better leader, mom and friend.” 

For more information about career opportunities and benefits in the U.S. Army, visit 



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