Female Marine Makes Progress Where Men Cannot

Regimental Combat Team-7, 1st Marine Division Public Affairs

Story by Cpl. Megan Sindelar

Date: 07.08.2010
Posted: 07.15.2010 10:30

Female Marine makes progress where men cannot

COMBAT OUTPOST COUTOU, Afghanistan – Originally from the Philadelphia suburb of Coatesville, Pa., Lance Cpl. Kathryn L. Mannion finds herself in the hot deserts of Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Mannion, assigned to the female engagement team with 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, spends her time in Afghanistan interacting with Afghan women on a daily basis.

She first heard about the FET program from a Marine with her parent command, Military Police Company, I Marine Headquarters Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force. Mannion was interested in this program, intended to interact and engage with Afghan women.

“My company was being sent out with different infantry battalions and they couldn’t take me because I was a female,” said Mannion. “I really wanted to deploy, so I saw it as a good opportunity.”

She trained for three months before she deployed. Most of her time was spent in language and culture courses, but she also participated in field training, such as patrolling and hikes.

Mannion and other members of the FET are able to interact and influence the local population that the male Marines cannot because of cultural sensitivities.

“We are just getting our faces out there,” said Mannion, 24, who joined the Marine Corps as a college senior. “When they see the females, they know we are not here to fight; we aren’t here to hurt anybody. We are kind of seen as the third sex. We can talk to the men, the children and the women, where the men can only talk to men. Female Marines tend to give a sort of comfort to the local populace.”

Mannion said at first…read more here