View Full Version : Female Marines takes top honors at K-Bay

11-02-03, 06:33 AM
Female Marines takes top honors at K-Bay
Submitted by: MCB Hawaii
Story Identification Number: 2003103117382
Story by Pfc. Michelle M. Dickson

MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII, KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii(Oct. 24, 2003) -- The graduation of the first Marine Corps University's Corporal's Course of the fiscal year took place Oct. 24 at the base theater aboard MCB Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay. The graduation included something a little different this time - a female captured the prestigious position of "Honor Graduate."

In a class that began with 44 students, and finished with only 37, being the honor graduate did not come easily, or expected for Cpl. Amadonna Garcia, an air traffic controller with Marine Corps Air Facility.

"I didn't come into this course expecting to make the high grade; I just came in to do the best I could."

Garcia welcomed the challenge of the course with open arms, but her first goal in the Marine Corps was to prove herself to her family, which resides in Houston, Texas.

"The reason I even joined the Marines was to prove to everyone back home that I could do it."
The challenging two-and-a-half week course included everything from Marine Corps knowledge to tactical games and leadership skills, along with plenty of physical training.

The class enables Marines to make decisions and to take care of the Marines below them.

"The physical training was pretty demanding. The great part was that the whole atmosphere was so motivating. Everyone would push you to finish anything, even if at first you wanted to give up."
Garcia's squad leader and instructor, Sgt. Frederick Henry, said that the course teaches everything that leaders should know for their Marines.

It was a close race between Garcia and four others for the honor graduate position.

"All the Marines in this course are held to a higher standard. It's just a matter of how badly they want it," said Henry. "After the first test, she had the lead and she kept it."

Henry also said that the course is the first school in a long list of military education. It's a building block to allow a Marine to continue on and strive to become better over time with further courses.

Garcia said that she feels that she has bettered herself by going through this class and feels that anyone picking up corporal should take the course.

"People have a misconception about the course and think that it's just like recruit training; they're wrong. The class is offered to better you. It's rewarding and a great learning experience," she explained.

As for other females striving to do well in an area that is predominantly male, Garcia said to just think of yourself as nothing more than a Marine.

"We're all Marines. You are a Marine first, and a woman second; gender should not have anything to do with it."

Henry said, in the end, it's not about being the honor graduate; it's about being able to apply everything that is learned. A Marine has to be dedicated to see things through and inform other Marines. The course only makes the Marine Corps stronger as better NCOs come out of it.

"This course is one of the best things I ever could have done. It has taught me so much," said Garcia.

Garcia has already put two years into the Marine Corps and earned herself many awards. She won both the Marine of the Quarter for her unit as well as the entire base. She then earned herself the rank of corporal meritoriously.

As she moves up in rank over time, Garcia hopes to come back and hopefully teach the Corporal's Course as a sergeant.

Garcia is earning her degree in Criminal Justice and hopes to become a military lawyer.

She now attends Chaminade University, and she plans on continuing to law school.


Cpl. Amadonna Garcia, honor graduate of a recent Corporal's Course aboard Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, stands to receive her diploma. Garcia graduated with a 93.33 top overall average. Photo by: Pfc. Michelle M. Dickson