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    Pride Over Prejudice

    Pride Over Prejudice

    Photo By Petty Officer 2nd Class Jessica Tukes | 190528-N-HA101-0020 BREMERTON, WASH. (May 28, 2019) OS2 Maybury poses for a photo on...... read more read more



    Story by Seaman Jessica Tukes 

    USS Nimitz (CVN 68)   

    At first glance, she may look like a young, first-term Sailor, but her life experience, discipline and character tell a different story. Operations Specialist 2nd Class Amber Marbury is no stranger to the military. Inspired by her father, Marbury knew she wanted to pursue a life of military service at a young age. What Marbury didn’t know, however, were the obstacles that she would have to overcome in order to make her dream of a successful military career a reality.

    Born in Bedford, Texas, Marbury is the daughter of a U.S. Army Soldier. His career afforded them the opportunity to travel to different places around the world from Fort Carson, Colorado to Mannheim, Germany. Marbury’s upbringing helped shape her world view and laid the structural foundation of values that has steadily guided her.

    These values and a positive mindset played a key factor in Marbury successfully earning the opportunity to go through Officer Candidate School.

    “I grew up in a pretty strict household,” said Marbury. “You know, old school military. So I feel like we had good morals, values and work ethic instilled in us at an early age,” she said.

    That work ethic bloomed into an opportunity for life in college in Killeen, Texas, where she played soccer on a scholarship in addition to attending school and working full-time. Despite her love for soccer and busy schedule, Marbury felt like she needed something more.

    “As much as I loved soccer, I wasn’t going to make a career out of it,” said Marbury. “I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to major in, but I decided I wanted life experience over college experience.”

    In August 2008, Marbury joined the United States Air Force as a security force member. She graduated boot camp in September 2008 and went on to attend a 13-week technical training school on Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.

    At school she proved herself to be motivated, earning achievements such as the “Airman of the Month” award and the position of Airman leader. Marbury graduated and thought she had a promising Air Force career ahead of her, except there was one problem: her personal life.

    Marbury said that after her school graduation, her personal life and integrity came into question. During this time, Marbury was serving in the Air Force under the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, which meant that because of her sexual orientation, Marbury would have to say goodbye to the military.

    DADT was the official U.S. policy created in 1993 regarding the service of homosexuals and bisexuals in the military. The policy directed that military personnel could not openly disclose their sexual orientation. DADT was officially repealed on Sept. 20, 2011.

    Marbury was faced with a situation that tested her moral integrity, but the solution was simple, tell the truth. She admitted she was gay.

    “I have integrity and I have to be able to live with myself at the end of the day,” said Marbury. “I’m not going to lie about who I am. If I hide that part of my life, how do I go home and look myself in the mirror?”

    As a result, Marbury was honorably discharged from the USAF in April 2009. Although she felt she did the right thing, she also left feeling disappointed.

    “It was rough,” she said. “I was really disappointed because I felt that the military was where I wanted my life to go because I wanted to make it a career. I loved the military. I loved every bit, but I felt as if I wasn’t good enough despite all the accomplishments.”

    Despite the setback, Marbury didn’t let her separation from the Air Force hinder her determination to succeed. She moved back home to Killeen where she applied to the local police department.

    “I didn’t allow myself to wallow or dwell much on the matter,” Marbury said. “I knew I had to just push forward.”

    In January 2010, Marbury got hired by the Killeen Police Department, where she became a field training officer and honor guard member. She explored various career paths in law enforcement where she thought she would serve 20 years.

    After several years on the force, she felt like something was missing.

    Years after the repeal of DADT, Marbury decided to try her hand at the military again, this time speaking to recruiters from the Army, Marine Corps, Air Force and Navy. At this time, The Marine Corps didn’t accept prior service members and Marbury did not meet the age cutoff to re-enter the Air Force. “That left the Army and the Navy, and of course with my dad being in the Army, I chose the Navy,” she said with a chuckle.

    Marbury originally expressed interest in OCS to a recruiter prior to enlisting, but she decided to enlist because she wanted to re-enlist as soon as possible.

    “I took my first chance to go enlisted because I knew I wanted to be in the military,” said Marbury. “I would be just as proud to do 20 years as an enlisted Sailor as I would if I did 20 years as an officer. I knew I just had to get my foot in the door.”

    Marbury graduated basic training at Recruit Training Command Great Lakes, Illinois, in May 2017. She went on to complete her “A” school to become a rated Operations Specialist.

    “I picked the rate because I had a friend who was an OS who said I would like it. He was right,” said Marbury. “I love being an OS.”

    Marbury said that her favorite part about her rate is being able to work together with her shipmates no matter who they are or where they are from to accomplish a single mission.

    Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month was first proclaimed in June 2012 by President Barack Obama. “I call upon the people of the United States to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists, and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people,” Obama said.

    Since then, the Navy has honored Obama’s proclamation by celebrating LGBT Pride Month across the fleet. For Marbury, it’s a sigh of relief.

    “For me, it’s personal,” she said. “I joined the military in 2008 when Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was in effect, so to see LGBT Pride Month being supported and displayed now is such a relief for me. Knowing you have the support of your country, your department and your division definitely boosts morale.”

    Marbury believes that Sailors who feel supported by their chain of command will be able to better function within their work centers.

    “A Sailor’s welfare and personal life should be taken into account because if they can’t openly be themselves and talk about their needs, what kind of job will they be able to perform?” she asked. “When Sailors are validated and have the support they need, it will show in the quality of their work,” she explained.

    She also believes that LGBT Pride Month also represents the importance of individual expression, even in the military.

    “The military operates as one, but amongst the uniforms, are individuals,” said Marbury. “At some point, you have to allow some type of individuality to show we are all fighting for what we believe in – our rights, our freedom, our way of life.”

    Marbury was victorious in her fight to serve once again, this time, making a name for herself as an outstanding Sailor on the Nimitz. Her accomplishments include Junior Sailor of the Quarter and a term as president of the Junior Enlisted Association – a peer-elected position.

    The road to success in the military wasn’t always smooth for Marbury, but through dedication and diligence she found her way after the DADT policy change.

    “For a while, I had a hard time sharing my story because I felt like I failed to finish what I started, and that’s a big deal for me because once I start something, I have to see it through,” Marbury said. “I used to feel like I was never good enough, but the truth is that I was always good enough. Unfortunately, I was just never given the chance to show that when I first joined the military.”

    Marbury has seen her dream through and has been selected for Officer Candidate School. Upon graduation, she will go on to commission as a surface warfare officer. She said she wanted to honor one of her father’s wishes for her.

    “He’s like, ‘before I leave this earth, I want to salute you,’ and that meant the world to me,” said Marbury. “So, when I called him and told him I got selected for OCS, the sound of his voice was just one of the best feelings ever.”

    Marbury said the feeling of accomplishment she has experienced in the Navy is a stark contrast from her experience in the Air Force.

    “It almost seems surreal,” she said. “I can’t believe at one point I thought I was never going to be able to join the military again, and here I am.” Marbury credits the support of her shipmates and superiors who helped make her dreams come true.

    Now, with a newfound sense of pride, Marbury hopes to be a voice for others who are still struggling to live their truth.

    “I hope that sharing this story will help anyone feeling repressed, no matter what they are going through,” she said. “Once I commission, I hope to motivate my junior Sailors. I want them to know they can be whatever they want to be.”



    Date Taken: 06.27.2019
    Date Posted: 06.28.2019 01:51
    Story ID: 329516
    Location: BREMERTON, WA, US 

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