Riley Compton

Marine, Wife, Olympic Hopeful

1st Lt Riley Compton was raised in Carmel, Indiana and after high school received a softball scholarship to play D1 at George Washington University (GWU). Compton played four years there and graduated with a degree in Political Science.

During her freshman year of college she met a Marine Officer Recruiter and fell in love with the Corps. She did the PLC program (summer of 2016 and 2018) as she was so young in 2016. While at GWU, Compton interned for a Congressman working with military policy at Fort Hood. 

“Once I went to Officer Candidates School and was challenged more than I’ve been challenged in my life,” stated Compton. “I knew that this was the place for me, and the place where I knew I could have a lot of impact.”

Riley attended TBS in September 2019 with her husband. She was selected to be an 0402 logistics officer, while her husband became an infantry officer. Both were stationed in Camp Pendleton where she still serves on active duty. Her current assignment is S-4 at MALS-39 filling a Captains Billet for a Squadron of almost 800 Marines.

1st Lt Compton’s

“She is an infectiously enthusiastic officer,” said Maj. Christopher Seemayer, the executive officer for MALS-39. “Anyone who works around her is automatically motivated.”

Even while Compton is gone training with Team USA, she still works from afar using her computer of phone, according to Seemayer, and is always there for her Marines and her command. Compton’s ability to juggle the demands of her job as a Marine and her training as an athlete make it that much easier to let her go train for Olympic events, according to Seemayer.

“I try to be present where I’m at,” said Compton. “I need to make sure my Marines are taken care of and I’ll work all through the evening just to make sure I’ve done everything necessary for everyone to be successful.”

With her sports background she wanted to get involved in more physical activities once hitting the fleet. It was during COVID so it was tough finding the right fit. Then a memory resurfaced when she was in college at GWU. The number one USA Bobsled Pilot had played softball at GWU as well and won silver in the previous Olympics. She was so intrigued and thought the sport was amazing. A balance of speed and power.

She noted they had an online combine so went for it. After talks with that athlete, Elana Meyers Taylor and the coaches. she was invited to a camp in October 2020. 

To be a part of the Team USA bobsled team, athletes must first submit a resume and participate in a virtual combine. The combine is where the coaches test the participants’ strength and speed based off their performance in sprint events, a broad jump and a shot toss. Compton was asked to come back after her performance in the combine.

Her command allowed her to go and try out Bobsled to see if she had a skill set for it. Compton had such a strong showing and natural ability and thus was invited to compete in her first international competition in Park City, Utah in the Monobob and Two-woman Bobsled. Compton took a bronze medal in each.

She entering her second year into Bobsled representing Team USA as a developmental Bobsled driver. her objective is the Olympics in 2026. She plans stay active duty in the Marines for several more years and represent the Marines in my Bobsled career. 

“With the amazing support from my commanding officer and executive officer,
who gave me the thumbs up to go out and try it, I was able to go to Park City, Utah, for a couple of weeks,” said Compton. “While I was there, I was then invited to compete in the North American Cup which was my first competition, so there weren’t high expectations, but I medaled in both of my events.”

Compton’s continued success as a bobsledder is a source of pride and inspiration for her Marines and the rest of MALS-39.

“Something that I personally believe as a commander is that the Marine Corps is all about opportunity,” said Lt. Col. Forest Rees, the commanding officer of MALS-39. “So, her chasing that dream of being an Olympian, I think inspires the Marines to seek out their dreams.”

Compton says her Marines come first, and any success she has in her career is only because of them. She wants to pursue the Olympics, and a big reason is for the Marine Corps. Compton wants to show that females in the Marine Corps can do both – that anyone can be an active duty Marine and still pursue a dream like going to the Olympics.

“Being a Marine,” said Compton. “I’ve learned just how proud I am of my country and the great people that are here trying to do amazing things and uplift the United States.”

Riley hopes her story can inspire and empower women like herself, “that your sports career doesn’t have to be over. If you work hard, you can strive for challenges and opportunities that few take. It is extremely hard balancing Bobsled and being an active duty officer, but that is the fun of it”. 

That is the challenge.

Information provided by Riley Compton and excerpts from an article by  Lance Cpl. Kerstin Roberts DVIDS