Kirkwood High School student newspaper

Coco LeGrand

Mary McLaughlin hopes to join the infantry for the Marine Corps.

Mary McLaughlin

Going into the Marines

Honor, courage and commitment — three values Mary McLaughlin will uphold once she joins the United States Marine Corp after graduation. 

McLaughlin’s training process began in December 2022, when she started attending workouts at a military training facility. Though she wasn’t given an authoritative role at first, she stepped up when her leader dropped out during drills.

“The rest of my team was tired and didn’t want to do anything anymore, so I had to start yelling at them [to keep going],” McLaughlin said. “I lost my voice that day, but it was fun.”

McLaughlin has to train as a guest because her parents won’t sign a consent form, which prevents her from enlisting. She will be able to swear into the Marines in May when she turns 18.

“My parents are very against me joining the military,” McLaughlin said. “They are trying to get me to join a different branch, but they’re not going to do that.”

Your group is your second family, you mean everything to each other and no man gets left behind,

— Mary McLaughlin

The support given within Marines is something McLaughlin appreciates about the military, and is a reason why she decided to join. She said she looks forward to building new relationships in the Marines. 

“Your group is your second family, you mean everything to each other and no man gets left behind,” McLaughlin said. “You’re always there to support each other and it’s such a different environment [than my life now].”

The job McLaughlin gets is determined by how well she scores on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery Test (ASVAB). She hopes to work in the infantry as a rifleman, fighting on the front lines.

“When you’re in the infantry, being a rifleman is your first job,” McLaughlin said. “Your rifle is like your baby, you have to take care of [it].”

McLaughlin will be in the Marines for at least four years, and may serve a full 20 years. After the military, she wants to move to New York City to be a firefighter so she can remain active and help the same people often. 

“I’ll still want the adrenaline [from being a Marine], so [NYFD] is the best I can do,” McLaughlin said. “I’m really excited [to swear in], it’s all I talk about and I’m super excited for it.”

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