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Face of Defense: Marine Sets Example for Other Women

By Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Katesha Washington
2nd Marine Logistics Group

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C., March 22, 2010 – When women were first allowed to enlist in the Marine Corps in the 1940s, they did not qualify with weapons and they were not required to learn hand-to-hand combat, but they received instruction on etiquette and how to wear makeup.

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Marine Corps Cpl. Amy Gentry stands in her company's vehicle compound at Camp Lejeune, N.C., March 11, 2010. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Gunnery Sgt. Katesha Washington

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Marine Corps Cpl. Amy Gentry is a prime example of how much life for women serving in the Marine Corps has changed. A fire team leader with 2nd Platoon, Military Police Company, Combat Logistics Regiment 27, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, Gentry has deployed twice to Iraq’s Anbar province.

She served solely as a heavy machine gunner from August 2007 to March 2008, and as a mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle driver and heavy machine gunner from February to September in 2009.

Though the 23-year-old Marine is a combat veteran who loves to fire weapons and lead Marines, her quiet demeanor can fool people into thinking she is just a soft-spoken young lady.

Marine Corps Sgt. Brenden Colley, Gentry’s platoon sergeant, said that although she is not like the mostly rambunctious Marines in his platoon, he sees a lot of potential for her to develop into a strong leader.

"She has a very quiet confidence about her," he noted. "Because she is [so] competitive on paper, in competitions, and during deployments and field operations, we utilize her to guide new Marines when they check in."

Gentry volunteered to be a part of the regiment's team during the Camp Lejeune 2010 Intramural Small-Arms Competition early this month. She earned second place in the individual pistol competition and contributed to the team's overall second-place finish in the rifle competition and fourth-place pistol title. It was her first time participating in the competition.

Her passion for firing weapons was clear from the time she decided to forego college life and enlist in the Marine Corps.

"I've always loved the Marines, so when I did my research, I went to my recruiter and asked, 'What's going to let me shoot the most guns and deploy the most?'” she explained.

Gentry said she’ll pass on her deep affection for the Corps to her young Marines by continuing to lead by example.

"I want to make sure I take care of my Marines at all times and to teach them to stick to the basics,” she said. “Things like customs and courtesies, staying focused on completing the job and learning everything you can to be a better leader are things that I know will make them better leaders and, in turn, better Marines."

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