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09-13-09, 09:16 AM #1
Female Marine officer celebrates 5 decades of life and 3 decades of service to Corps
People have the option of serving two to four years in the U.S. military, but some choose to serve many more. It is one of the luxuries of joining an all-volunteer military.
One Marine, who has decided to put in a lifetime of service, recently celebrated her 50th birthday aboard Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, Aug. 29, 2009.
Col. Catherine D. Chase, the assistant chief of staff for the administrative office with II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), has been serving in the United States Marine Corps for 28 years.
“I remember thinking that 20 years was going to be a long time,” said Chase. “But looking back after almost 30, it really has gone by pretty quickly; it’s hard to believe.”
Chase received her commission as an officer in the Marine Corps in 1981.
“While I was in college I had a choice of either joining the Navy or joining the Marine Corps,” said Chase. “Being from a family where my father, my grandfather and my granduncle were all Marines, the decision was already made.”
She served on active duty during her first five years in the Marine Corps, and her first duty station was aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C.
While at Parris Island, she helped rewrite the basic training curriculum, allowing female recruits to train, fire and qualify with standard issue service rifles as males do. She was able to do this while holding the positions of series commander and training company commander, molding young women into United States Marines.
“It was encouraging to watch the maturing of the Marine Corps,” recalled Chase. “To watch as the realization that women could contribute significantly to the Marine Corps was truly an amazing experience.”
Years after her exit from active duty and entrance into the reserves, Chase found herself serving at a mobilization station in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
Not too long after the Gulf War ended, Chase earned her master’s degree in business and pursued her civilian career while remaining in the reserves.
“I love being in the Marine Corps,” she added. “It’s good to know that I’m making a valuable contribution to my country.”
As Chase’s Marine Corps experience winds down and she prepares to retire, she can do so knowing that she’ll not only be taking the valuable lessons she’s learned in the Marine Corps back to her civilian career, but she’ll also be taking the pride of knowing that she has seen and made a difference within the Marine Corps community.
“I personally do not believe I could have gotten as far in my civilian career without the lessons I first learned in the Corps,” concluded Chase. “It has always provided a valuable set of skills for me. But one of the most important things I intend to take away from the Marine Corps is the memories of the stellar Marines that I’ve worked with over the years and all of my accomplishments during that time.”
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