By 1stLt Catherine Carty, USMC
I was born and raised in North Canton, Ohio, which is about an hour south of Cleveland. I am one of seven kids. My dad’s generation was drafted in Vietnam. However, I am the only one from my generation (20 total) in the military.
Like many, I decided to join the military after the attacks on 9/11/01. I felt called to defend and serve my country. I chose the Marine Corps for the challenge and pride. I saw how Marines carried themselves. They appeared to walk a little taller than everyone else. I wanted to do the same.
After finishing my Bachelor’s degree, I enlisted in the Corps. Although I had the option to pursue the commissioning route, again I realized I needed to learn to follow before I could lead. I reported for training in September 2005. Little did I know my life would change forever.
My Senior Drill Instructor selected me on “Forming Day 3” to be her Scribe. As you may or may not know, the Scribe is responsible for administrative duties. If a recruit did not go to chow with us, I was responsible for ensuring she got a hot chow tray. Likewise, if a recruit had medical issues, I would record them in the book and fill out the paperwork for her to go to medical the next morning, if she chose to do so. I always carried a roster with pertinent information, i.e. full name, social security number, blood type, allergies, etc. for easy access in case we had an emergency. Interestingly enough, I was the only recruit to hold a job from the very beginning and was relieved only once — on Graduation Day.
I was very humbled when I received the Molly Marine award. First and foremost, I was humbled because my peers voted to give me the award. Until then, I didn’t know their true feelings. Secondly, I felt I hadn’t done anything to warrant receiving the award. Did I have extra duties as the Scribe? Yes. However, I was just doing what any good Marine would do. I took care of my fellow recruits.
I can honestly say Graduation Day (December 9, 2005) was the best day of my life. All my hard work finally paid off! I finally succeeded! I was the one walking a little taller now! After a short stint on Recruiter’s Assistance, I completed MCT and Financial Management School, where I earned a meritorious promotion to Lance Corporal. I returned to MCRD/ERR Parris Island, SC for my first duty station. I reported to Headquarters and Service Battalion, where I served as a Budget Technician and the Police Sergeant for the General’s Building. I was meritoriously promoted to Corporal while stationed there. After fulfilling my commitment, I chose to leave the Corps in September 2007.
While in pursuit of a flight career, I realized my heart belonged to the Marine Corps. I could not bear the thought of flying for another branch. I completed the entrance process once again and reported to OCS in Quantico, VA in October 2008. I graduated and was commissioned on December 12, 2008, the second best day of my life. I immediately reported for follow-on training at TBS. Unfortunately, I broke my foot and was dropped from training at the end of week 15 (of 26). I found myself gainfully employed at MCRC while I spent six months rehabbing my injury. I worked with the Officer Programs, processing applications for OCS, which allowed me to help others pursue their dream of leading Marines. I eventually healed and returned to training. I graduated from TBS on April 1, 2010.
I checked in to Marine Aviation Training Support Group (MATSG)- 21 in Pensacola, FL on April 8, 2010. I served as a Platoon Commander for enlisted Marines who were waiting for their MOS training to begin. This proved to be a great way for me to mentor junior enlisted Marines for almost three months. In July 2010, I received TAD orders to Okinawa, Japan. I spent a total of five months overseas and deployed with the 31st MEU for Fall Patrol. I served as the Senior Watch Officer, maintaining situation awareness for the Commanding Officer and the Operations Officer. My Commanding Officer promoted me to First Lieutenant before I left. I returned from Japan in time to spend Christmas with my family. I have since started flight school and hope to be in a plane within the next couple of months. Although my heart is not set on one airframe, I hope to fly the C-130 or CH-53.