Laura DeLucia joined the Marines partly because she didn’t want to be a fraud.
A former Barack Obama campaign volunteer and then, logistics coordinator, she’d been offered a position in the fledgling administration’s defense department. A college athlete in cross country and crew, Laura had become fascinated with the United States’ defense since she was a college student in Washington DC during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Working in the defense department was a dream come true.
But something held her back.
Laura had never been in the military. ‘How can I work for the defense department without knowing exactly what it means to defend?’ she thought. “I hadn’t earned it,” she says.
The age cut off for the Marines, 29 years old, was fast approaching for Laura. She knew it was now or never.
Laura left her office job and enlisted in Marine Corp Officer Candidate School. The first part is a year-long process involving countless physical and mental tests. I tell her I picture the actual school training like a movie - running through tires, climbing a wooden wall, clamoring up a crisp white rope. Laura says I’m not far off. Plus, with only 24 women to the company’s 200 men, there was no room for Laura to slack off. She remembers one girl in her group keeping up with the men on a run despite being 5 ft. tall and carrying a 60 lb. pack. The fastest runner in the group was often a female.
“They have a lot of respect for you because you’ve earned it,” she says, smirking. “I’m a jock though. I love competing with guys. I love that movie ‘G.I. Jane.’”
Out of 100 interviews, this one has been one of my favorites thus far. Kudos, Gaby!