Lydia Starr has recently returned home after becoming a marine. While she is waiting to leave for her next assignment, she was able to reflect on her new life in the armed forces.
Being a Marine is something that Starr has always wanted to do. She was attracted to the challenge and honor that comes with it.
The best part about being a marine is “the honor [that comes with] knowing that I was able to do it,” said Starr.
As a woman, Starr has faced challenges that her male peers have not.
“It’s hard being a woman in a men’s environment like that. When you think of Marine Corp you don’t think of women, you think of male marines. I knew it would be different, but I didn’t think of how big the male to female ratio was,” said Starr. For every 10 to 15 male Marines there is one female Marine. Before she leaves for a year Starr has been fitting a year’s worth of holidays into a week.
“I’ve loved seeing family, but it’s been so hard to have to fit seeing everyone into four days.” Altogether the experience has been “bittersweet” recalled Starr. This week has been “rough but [I’m] grateful.”
To prepare for this next chapter in her career Starr is trying to “take each day with a grain of salt” and have a “positive attitude.”
Being in the Marines has given Starr a new perspective on the world.
“Being in a small town, everyone is friendly, (…) but in the Marine Corp there are people from all over the world and not everybody is as friendly as the people in Scottsboro, Alabama,” said Starr. Nepotism does not exist in the military as it can and often does exist in civilian life. Everyone in the military is given the same opportunities. You have to learn to take opportunities for yourself. “Each day’s what you make of it” and “it’s [being in the Marines] about how you work as an individual,” said Starr.
To be a Marine, equality and respect for others is necessary.
“At the end of the day you take your pants off the same way everyone else does. Regardless of rank or stature, we all get dressed the same way and you have to keep that in my mind in a workplace like mine,” said Starr. “Everybody has feelings,” and “Everyone’s a person. That’s one of the huge things I realized after I joined the military.”
Starr encourages those considering a career in the military to “grow up” and “don’t take everything with a chip on your shoulder.”
“If you don’t believe that everyone is not equal then you don’t belong in the service,” said Starr.
For Starr, the Marine Corp provides a bright future. In the Marine Corp, “you can meet endless friends and have endless opportunities. [You can] see the world and come out of it well off,” said Starr.
Starr left for her new post on Aug. 22.