Woman born in Siberian prison becomes first woman Marine to graduate from infantry school

Marine Pfc. Maria Daume's life story reads as if she came straight from the pages of a superhero comic.

Born in a Siberian prison. Orphaned at age 2. Adopted by Americans at age 4 and raised in New York.

And now, she's just done what many naysayers believed a woman would never do: She's the first female Marine to join the infantry through the traditional entry-level training process, a process made available to women just a half-year earlier.

“I like to prove people wrong,” Daume told VOA in her first interview since completing her training at the Marine Corps School of Infantry at Camp Lejuene, North Carolina. “No matter what your belief is, you can't argue that I didn't do it, because I did.”

Not only did she graduate from the School of Infantry on Thursday, she completed what Infantry Marines argue is one of the most difficult military operational specialties the school has to offer, at a time when instructors say the standards have become “even harder.”

As a Mortar Marine, she and her peers represent the most rapid response to indirect fire for an infantry unit.

And to pass the training required to become one, she and her peers scaled a 142-cm-high (56 inches) wall in full gear within 30 seconds, lifted a 36-kg (about 80 pounds) MK19 heavy machine gun above their heads, evacuated a 97-kg (214 pounds) casualty within 54 seconds while wearing a fighting load, and passed various knowledge skill tests and gun drills.

She also had to hike 20 km (over 12 miles) while carrying a 60 mm mortar system with four simulated rounds.That cold night was the moment she knew that she had made the cut to be a Mortar Marine.

“I went to sleep that night and I'm lying in my rack, and I'm just like, ‘I did the 20k,' " she said, smiling. “It felt good.”
There is more.

There is also a video of her speaking about her experience at the above link.  She sounds like a Marine when she talks.  She has a right to feel good about here accomplishments.  I think one of the biggest challenges for a mortar team is carrying all that extra weight around.


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