Chapter 18: Integrity. Not everyone has it

Over the months, it was hit and miss on being accepted as a woman Marine. I always felt as though I was scrutinized more than a male equal to me, yet I did believe that I was respected to an extent. I know, huge contradiction, but it was just one of those feelings that I could never quite figure out.
One afternoon, a Captain, Staff Sergeant and a Lance Corporal came upstairs to talk to the Sergeant in charge of us. The Lance Corporal was finally able to move into base housing, however, he was still under a lease out in town. The only way to break it was to have a set of orders. They discussed this with our fearless Sergeant and he yells at me, "Cox, this Lance Corporal needs a set of dummy orders." I told our Sergeant that I no longer do orders, that another Marine did them, which he knew. I then told the Lance Corporal that since he does orders, to do them. So, the Lance Corporal jumps right on it, and does a set of orders for him to use to break his lease.
A couple weeks passed and a group of us were leaving to go to chow. All of sudden, the Sergeant Major stopped me before I left and told me that I was to stay behind. He was livid. I had never seen him look this mad before. He came around the counter and escorted me and the Lance Corporal into our Personnel Officer's office. He shut the door, look down and read me my Miranda Rights. Are you kidding me? What in the hell did I do?  After he read us our rights, he told us what happened and why our rights were being read to us.
He told us that the Commanding Officer was notified about a set of dummy orders that were distributed from our office. After explaining everything in detail, he asked, "Who did the orders?" Since I was the senior person in the room, I told him, " I told the Lance Corporal to do them...."I was immediately cut off. He told the Lance Corporal to leave and said, "I was hoping it was you."
I have no idea what I ever did to this man. Not sure if it was because I laughed at him when he fell down the stairs, or because he weighed me in every week because he said I could be thinner, I have no clue. But I sat there in total amazement.
He never gave me the chance to state my side of the story. I wanted to tell him that the Sergeant was the one who told me to them, etc., but the Sergeant Major told me he didn't want to hear about it.  After getting reamed for about 30 minutes and completely degraded, he threatened me with Office Hours or even a Court Martial. When he was done, he left the office. My PersO, who was like my father, just sat there in total shock. He said that he would be right back that he was going to talk to the Commanding Officer. I left his office and my Sergeant, who was freaking out, wanted to know the play by play. In other words, he wanted to know if he was in trouble. Not once did he tell anyone that he was the one that gave the order in the first place. I was the one who went down for the whole office.
He came back and told me that he tried explaining the situation to the Commanding Officer, and the CO said that he wanted to make an example out of me. Excellent.
I was told that I had to stay in the barracks the whole weekend. I was basically on restriction, although there was no order for me to stay in my room. The whole weekend, I lamented over the whole situation. I wasn't sure if I was mad, upset, hurt, fearful or what about the situation. I didn't know what my future held for me until Monday.
When I went in on Monday, my PersO was still in with the CO. About two hours later, the PersO came in to tell me the outcome - Non-recommendation for promotion and a page 11. I was somewhat relieved but still upset that not one other person in the office was touched. Just me. My PersO told me that for some reason, I had a target on my back. He knew it was unfair, but he said he tried, and I knew he did.
What made it worse was that after my MOS was closed for promotion for almost 8 months, it opened up that month and I was selected for Corporal. I was about 200 points over the cutting score. The pit in my stomach made the day unbearable.  I was not recommended for promotion and had to run my own "Will Not Promote" into the system. I had to sign my Page 11 for the orders situation and for not being recommended for promotion. And ever month, I made a statement rebutting this. And every month, it went ignored. No one wanted to hear that I believed to have been discriminated against.
This went on for three months and every month, it hurt more and more. I gave all that I had to the Marine Corps and this was how I was repaid. Since I had breasts and non-deep voice, I was punished more than anyone. When the fourth month rolled in, I was told again that I would not be recommended for promotion. I could no longer handle it, so I requested Mast.
I chose to bypass everyone in my Chain of Command at the squadron level. When I got to the Commanding Officer, I told him that I wish to bypass him. That didn't go over so well. The words this man told me echoed through the whole floor. He degraded me and told me how worthless I am. After talking to me in this manner, he signed off on the Request Mast paperwork and I headed on to the MAG Commanding Officer.
What my CO didn't know was that the MAG CO loved me. Every time I was at Headquarters, he would call me to his office to show him something about the Diary system or just to see how life was treating me. When I spoke to the adjutant prior to going to see the CO, I told him the story and he told me, "I have your back 110%. I know how good of a Marine you are." With that, I went in to see the CO with full confidence.
The discussion with him went well. He told me about all the complaints that my CO had, but since the command was redesignating soon to the V-22 program, that not much could be done. But with a big smile on his face, he told me, "You will be promoted this month". And I was. He told me that the moment he met me, he knew I was a great Marine. When he came in for the Refresher's course, he stated that he had never met a Marine who took the time to explain things to him and was not afraid to be blunt. He had a great admiration for me, which felt good.
Not only did I get my promotion, but I was given a choice of orders. He said that how corrupt that squadron was, he didn't see me growing there. So, I asked for orders for I&I Duty to come back home. I had become exhausted of all the politics and decided it was best for me.
Now the killer. Try going to your career planner who hates you because, again, you are a woman, and telling him that you need a contract extension. That went over well. He failed to do the paperwork that my monitor was waiting for. Next thing I know, BAM. Orders to Okinawa. I was shocked at first, but then I called the monitor, who of course, I personally knew since he was one of the instructors at my school. I asked him what was going on and he said that he was waiting for my paperwork and wanted to grab my attention. I told him I filled it out two weeks prior...then he became irate. He told me to get my career planner on the phone, and I did. With a big smile on my face too. I knew a major ass chewin' was about to commence in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Ha! My paperwork was submitted that day.
I was sad to learn that I was leaving New River in a matter of months. It was my home for a few years and I couldn't imagine leaving my wonderful friends behind. This was my family, my Marine Corps family. This chapter of my life will soon be over.


  1. You would think the military would be the LAST place for politics and based on merit and fairness...but alas, not so. Apparently, it's the home of teeny brains.

    1. You've got that right Doug! I was stationed with Diana on new River and there was so much belittling of women and so much politics. It was crazy. I hate to say it though, I would not be as good at my job today if it weren't for the attitude that women weren't worth shit. I worked my tail off to be better than them all the time. I couldn't give them any reason to think I was a shit bag. So I never was a shitbag. They were tough on me, but they also took good care of me when I needed them.


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