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    Local Marines promoted meritoriously, recognized by Corps’ top leader

    Local Marines promoted meritoriously, recognized by Corps’ top leader

    Courtesy Photo | Cpl. Tahira Lawrence (left) and Cpl. Arlene Cordova, both assigned to Headquarters and...... read more read more



    Story by James Goodwin 

    Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall

    JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. - Cpl. Tahira Lawrence thought she was simply doing “my job” when she won Henderson Hall’s Marine of the Quarter competition earlier this year.

    When the 19-year-old Chicago native was meritoriously promoted to her current rank in a surprise promotion ceremony last month, she was shocked.

    “I thought what I was doing, everybody was doing,” said Lawrence, who serves as an administration clerk at the Adjutant’s Office, Headquarters and Service Battalion on the Henderson Hall portion of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall.

    Even more surprising was when she received a hand-written note signed by none other than the Corps’ top leader, Gen. James F. Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps.

    Both Lawrence and fellow Marine Cpl. Arlene Cordova, the customer service noncommissioned officer-in-charge at the battalion’s Consolidated Administration Office (CONAD), were promoted during a formal ceremony May 2. Both were presented personal letters signed by Amos congratulating them on their success and service and advising them to “wear these chevrons well, Marine.”

    “I had tears in my eyes,” said Cordova, a Victorville, California, native. The 21-year-old, three-year Marine was recovering from a broken ankle when she took the physical fitness and combat fitness test as part of the quarterly board.

    Cordova took second place at the board, while Lawrence took first place.

    Promotions in the military are common, but in the Marine Corps, meritorious promotions are coveted achievements earned through competitive selection boards, top-notch performance and proven leadership potential, according to guidance listed in volume two of the Marine Corps Promotion Manual. Even rarer are meritorious promotions directly from a general officer: commanders and commanding generals cannot promote more than one percent of all lance corporals to the rank of corporal — the first noncommissioned officer rank in the Marine Corps — per Marine Corps Order P1400.32D. Further, the commandant of the Marine Corps may promote “…exceptionally well-qualified Marines in recognition of outstanding leadership and performance,” according to the order.

    In other words, only the best of the best are selected for such a promotion: Cordova’s officer-in-charge, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Michael A. Barclay, characterized Cordova as having “professionalism…of a more senior and seasoned Marine. She quickly became my go-to Marine within her section and my CONAD as a whole.”

    Likewise, Lawrence’s and Cordova’s success is indicative of the service and support Henderson Hall provides to the some 2,000 Marines who work throughout the National Capital Region, according to Barclay.

    “We pride ourselves on providing any support needed to all active duty, reserve or retired Marines and their families,” said Barclay in an email.

    For Cordova and Lawrence, the promotion is unique and memorable, not just because of the commandant’s congratulatory letters, but also because both have a family history of military service: each of their fathers served in the Corps.

    Still, Lawrence and Cordova consider themselves “average” Marines. Regardless, they both advise other Marines to never settle for the bare minimum standards, and more importantly, never sell themselves short in their abilities to reach their full potential.

    “I wasn’t the best Marine; I didn’t stand out,” said Cordova. “I was the complete underdog at the [meritorious] board. But I went in there with confidence. All my hard work paid off.”

    “You have to find opportunities, nothing’s just going to fall in your lap,” said Lawrence. “If you actually want something, you have to work; nobody’s going to remind you or ask you to do it. No one can help you get towards your goals if they don’t know what you’re trying to work for.”

    Cordova plans on reenlisting for another four years of service in order to complete a tour of duty as a Marine Security Guard. After that, she plans on leaving the Corps in order to study medicine, she said. Meanwhile, Lawrence would like to serve as a drill instructor—a duty that would allow her to train Marine recruits at Parris Island, S.C. She plans on making the Marine Corps a career.



    Date Taken: 06.06.2014
    Date Posted: 06.06.2014 14:20
    Story ID: 132323
    Hometown: CHICAGO, IL, US
    Hometown: VICTORVILLE, CA, US

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