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thedrifter
03-09-06, 06:29 AM
Brooklyn, N.Y., native uses motivation to lead Marines, save lives
2nd Marine Logistics Group
Story by Cpl. Matthew K. Hacker

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (March 8, 2006) -- “At first it was rough, because they didn’t look at me as a Marine,” said Cpl. Christine DeCaprio, an administrative clerk, of fitting in with an all male military police squad in Iraq. “But, once I got up on the [.50 caliber heavy machinegun] they changed their minds.”

This event set the tone for DeCaprio’s next ten months in the desert with Company B, 2nd Military Police Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group.

Being the only woman in a platoon full of men proved difficult in the early stages of the deployment, but DeCaprio’s determination soon earned her the respect she deserved when her squad elected her team leader and put her in charge of 20 Marines as a lance corporal.

Being team leader meant she was a role model. Someone the team looked up to and went to for direction. Someone her Marines needed to have confidence in during both humanitarian and combat operations.

One situation that proved to be a test of both DeCaprio’s abilities and her Marines’ obedience was an improvised explosive device attack on a convoy outside Camp Taqaddum, Iraq.

“I was riding in the second scout vehicle with a driver and a gunner in the turret, when suddenly the vehicle in front of us exploded,” said DeCaprio. “I immediately told my driver to make his way up to their position. Once we arrived, I ordered my gunner to provide security and my driver to monitor the radio, while I ran out to see if the Marines were alright.”

Two of the Marines seemed to be fine, only sustaining minor cuts and abrasions, but DeCaprio noticed the other Marine acting very disoriented, according to DeCaprio. She rushed over and provided first aid to the Marines, but soon realized the disoriented Marine needed a medical evacuation.

“I rushed back to my vehicle and grabbed the radio,” she continued. “I called for a MEDEVAC and they were there pretty quickly. I helped them get the Marine safely in the helicopter, while the other two got in our vehicle. Once the helo left we sped through the kill zone and lead the rest of the convoy out of the danger area.”

Her actions during the attack would soon gain the attention of several members of her platoon, including her commanding officer, Capt. Lisa M. Souders.

“DeCaprio possesses a quiet drive and is incredibly mild-mannered, but she goes after what she wants,” said Souders. “Some may mistake her mild demeanor for passivity, but they would be mistaken.”

She also demonstrated adaptability, a willingness to learn and overall professionalism, according to Souders. Due to the unit’s high operational tempo they were in constant need of augmentation.

"DeCaprio filled one of our many gaps and did so very well,” Souders added. “And although she was only with us for several months, she was an integral member of our company.”

In addition to volunteering to deploy, she also raised her hand when asked to take on several additional duties in Iraq. One example was when her company needed a female to guard and care for a female detainee.

“I went to Camp Al Asad to attend to this female detainee, because she wasn’t responding to the male Marines,” said DeCaprio. “I had to setup a private area for her, bring food to her and prevent her from hurting herself for three to four weeks. It was definitely an experience.”

In September 2005, DeCaprio was presented a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for her actions in Iraq. She was also meritoriously promoted to her current rank.

Overall, DeCaprio displayed moral and physical dedication to her platoon and her company. She was not a field military policeman by trade, but she quickly learned the ropes and became a leader, which was apparent by her meritorious promotion. She utilized her leadership abilities and her core values to help her rise to several difficult occasions.

The New York native is planning on re-enlisting and remaining in the military police field. She always wanted to pursue a career in criminology or law enforcement and hopes to use what she learns in the Marine Corps later in the civilian sector.

She is currently trying to transfer to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit in order to return to Iraq and serve in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom once again.

Ellie

cgkades
03-10-06, 01:04 AM
nice story, show's once again why females are Marines not WM's