I spent 6 years in the United States Marine Corps and have to say it was one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. When I first told my parents about my decision they had mixed feelings, my father seemed happy but my mother had reservations.
I should say, perhaps some of that came from my mother being ex-Navy (Jarheads and Squids traditionally have friendly rivalry). I also think my mother thought the Marine Corps was too tough for a female to deal with.
The thing about my decision was really that I wanted to do something that not many tried to do, something that was more difficult…..something that would challenge me. When people found out that I was heading to boot-camp, I think many had an idea that I would fail and be home soon. I wish I had been told about what to expect, a guide or book telling me about all the things I was soon to discover.
People would say things like, “You won’t get through training,” or “Maybe you should look at the Air Force,” or “What about college?” All in subtle ways to tell me they thought maybe I just couldn’t make it as a Marine.Well this is the truth; I was worried about my fitness. I was worried that I couldn’t run, or couldn’t handle the physical fitness. I was worried that I was simply not strong enough….I was worried that, even I had spent weeks preparing, I was still not in good shape. I went online to look for information before going, but it seemed limited about details of the boot camp, training and more.
These are the facts. You are never fit enough to think you can go to USMC boot-camp and get through training solely on what you have done to that point. So then you think what must you do to get fit enough?
The biggest problem for women is that traditionally we have been told not to extend ourselves to the extreme physical workouts. Not to lift weights. Not to take martial arts. Not go overboard in the gym…..in other words, not to train like men!
Mary Ann Merritt
WMA National PRO