I was living in Smithville Flats, N.Y., when I enlisted in the Marines. I joined because my then-fiancé was joining the Marine Corps, and I wanted to prove I could do anything he could do.
I chose food service at the time because my husband was already a brig [military prison] guard. I wanted a job that would be available no matter where he was stationed. That left me with food service, administration and supply. Food service was my top choice, and it’s what I got.
In 2005, I did what we call a lateral move, and I changed my job from food service to administration, which is normally not something that’s done as a staff noncommissioned officer. In 2010, I was promoted to the rank of master sergeant with fewer than 16 years of service.
Currently, I serve as the senior enlisted Marine on the third floor of the IPAC. IPAC stands for Installation Personnel Administration Center. It handles the administration for all the Marines on the island of Oahu. We specifically handle people that are going on deployments. We also help process any legal issues and promotions, again for the entire island of Oahu. So I’m supervising approximately 30 Marines, making sure that each section is doing what they need to and making sure they are getting their required training.
Right now, we have a very large unit of several hundred people who are getting ready to leave on deployment. It’s my job to make sure that these Marines are taken care of — that the paperwork is ready, that they’re getting all the money they deserve, that if their wife or their children have any problems they can come to us and we can help them.
The 32 Marines who are on my floor — I’m also responsible for them and making sure they’re getting everything out of the Marine Corps that they can, from physical fitness to opportunities to volunteering to required training. They’re learning how to become good leaders so they can help the new Marines who are coming in behind them.
As a matter of fact, this morning one of my Marines is in a competition to try and earn meritorious corporal, which is E-4. So we were working with her last night on all the stuff that she’s going to have to go through today to win that competition.
Because of my upbringing, because of my attitudes and my work ethic and personality, I put a lot into work. I always give 120 percent, and I get it done.