Letters from the Front! By Corporal Isabelle Anaya, USMC
By Corporal Isabelle Anaya, USMC
I am motivated daily by the fact that I am the first woman in my family to join the military and become a United States Marine. I was born in Texas and when my parents divorced, my mom remarried and moved us to Colorado. Being the youngest of three, it was a struggle to gain the support of my family to pursue a career in the Marine Corps because we come from an Army family, and they believed the Marine Corps mistreated women. However, I disregarded their feelings and when I turned 18, I enlisted because I wanted a challenge and to be a part of something bigger than myself.
After three years of service, I have achieved being the highest shooter in boot camp, meritoriously promoted to Lance Corporal and Corporal, I graduated top of my class in the schoolhouse and top 10 in a recent training course, deployed to Bahrain, won a Board as Marine of the Quarter, was recognized as the “Pacesetter of the Month”, and earned my Green Belt in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program.
Like an iceberg, everyone notices all the achievements, but no one realizes the challenges I’ve had overcome to be where I am. During my deployment, my dad was diagnosed with congestive heart failure, and it was also the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak. It was the most stressed I’ve ever been, and because of the overwhelming support from my chain of command, I was able to receive updates on my dad’s condition while still contributing to the mission.
Upon return from deployment, VMFA-251 disbanded and I had to learn and grow with a new command. Soon after checking into 6th District, the Marine I was replacing had separated, leaving me the sole person in charge of the legal section. Extinguishing hidden fires and patching up holes was my main priority to help turn the once critical condition section into a noteworthy section. Although these challenges at times were overwhelming, I feel extremely rewarded at the end of each day knowing that I gave my all.
Although unsupportive in the beginning, my family has been my rock throughout these past three years. Without their love and support, I feel I wouldn’t have accomplished everything I have. My family’s continued support has helped me to always see the bigger picture. During a recent course, I found out that I was pregnant, it scared me. I used that fear to motivate me and use my experience to be open-minded and supportive of any opportunity my child may require of me.
My next step is to re-enlist in May 2022, and in the future, when I get promoted to Sergeant, I will volunteer for recruiting duty. The Marine Corps has provided me with amazing opportunities, blessings, and life lessons. Becoming a Marine has been my greatest achievement and no matter what the future holds, I will always know that I achieved one of my greatest life goals.