News: 13th MEU Marine serves to protect others
Story by Seaman Veronica Mammina
USS Boxer (LHD 4), At Sea – On any given night in any city in America, police are likely to arrest suspects and bring them back to the police station.
The next thing they know, the suspects are standing in front of a booking agent, or booker, in a sheriff’s department ready to sign up for a one-night stay in jail.
One of these bookers is a blonde haired, blue-eyed, athletic female who greets them and shows sympathy and kindness as they enter the building. She politely asks them questions upon their arrival and conducts searches for any contraband. She continues to remain professional and use her calmness as a tool to have the suspect keep composure and cooperate.
The booker goes by the name of Catherine “Cat” Everard, currently a Marine embarked aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), and what most people don’t know is that she’s an advocate of many forms of martial arts, self-defense and helping others any way she can.
“It all started when I was just a kid. I used to get picked on,” said Everard. “Since then, I wanted to learn how to defend myself.”
Everard said she was put in a situation where she was forced to defend herself.
One day, when she was a young girl, she got into fight and tried to escape it by going home. Her father denied her entry to the house because he wanted her to find a way to defend herself and solve her own problems.
As a teenager, athletics played a significant part of her high school career as she played a number of sports including basketball, wrestling, volleyball, swimming and track and field.
Everard’s drive to succeed granted her an opportunity to graduate a year early from high school. She then attended Metropolitan State University later that year in Denver where she continued to work out and practice martial arts more often.
Everard trained in many martial arts styles such as Muay Thai, traditional Brazilian jiu-jitsu and other forms of jiu-jitsu.
“After college, I met the Gracie Barra Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighter, Fabio Costa and ended up attending some of his seminars in his gym in Atlanta where I practiced more jiu-jitsu with him,” explained Everard. “I learned a lot of awesome stuff.”
With Costa’s support, Everard ultimately started her own jiu-jitsu class targeting women’s self-defense in her hometown, Grand Junction, Colo. using some of her newly learned skills.
“To me, women are normally perceived as passive. But, times have changed and it would break my heart if someone I knew was taken advantage of and I didn’t help them,” said Everard. “I try to affect as many people as I possibly can in a positive way.”
Everard worked for a number of security companies, a sheriff’s department, as an executive protective specialist and a personal fitness trainer.
Needless to say, she has worn many hats in her 27 years of life all with one commonality: to protect and serve others.
Today she wears the utility cover and serves as a corporal in the Marine Corps attached to the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).
“All of my previous job assignments were security-based and aimed at protecting others. I love to protect people,” said Everard. “And joining the military was always something I wanted to do.”
Everard said humanitarian missions that she saw Marines participating in appealed to her most.
“A few years ago, I remember watching TV and seeing Marines directly helping all of the suffering people of Haiti during the disaster,” said Everard. “I thought it would be amazing to be a part of the relief efforts.”
In addition to dedicating her life to helping others, Everard maintains her spiritual life, which helps guide her in the right direction.
“I live my life through God,” revealed Everard. “I can only control from my head to my toes. From there, I can only hope to influence those around me.”
Everard is also a certified Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) instructor and often trains Marines.
Everard’s career goal is to become a 1st Sgt. in the Marines because she wants to deal with more of the welfare and development of Marines.
Another goal of Everard’s is to teach women self defense skills that could one day mean the difference between life and death.
Every Tuesday evening, a group of women gather at the rear end of the ships hangar bay where Everard teaches a women’s self-defense class offering various fighting techniques.
“The class is mainly for females who seek to learn how to defend,” said Everard. “And, it’s important to those who don’t because if they don’t at least try to learn, they’ll never know.”