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Sergeant Darhonda Rodela

Darhonda Rodela: "The hardest thing about recruit training is not stopping. 'Cause you have so many moments where you just want to quit. And you don't. The best time is when you're getting that eagle, globe and anchor, and they're telling you, 'You're a Marine now,' and you're like, God, so it was all worth it. Growing up, I didn't know how to swim. So going through the swim qualifications, and looking down and jumping, and doing the 10-feet dive, and you just wonder to yourself, am I really gonna do this, or am I gonna have somebody push me? So when I took that step off, I realized I did this myself. No one pushed me. Those lessons stick with you throughout life. And even though it's not about jumping off a diving board, no, it's just about pushing yourself that extra mile when you know you can't go anymore. Before I left for Iraq, my sister, my mother, my whole family was worried. But, they understood the fact that, hey, she's a Marine, too. So that means she's been through way more than what she's about to go through. I knew I was trained, I mentally knew I was trained, but I was still had that fear of the unknown. I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know what training I would be using. I mean, they train you to do an any--just about any situation. So you never knew what you were gonna encounter every turn, every corner that you turned. You just didn't know. So the fear of the unknown is what stayed with you. Um, that I had no doubt that I was properly trained. If and when I do get out of the Marine Corps, um, I'll take the discipline. I'll take the leadership. I'll take just about everything the Marine Corps has given me. When I'm in uniform, do people come and, and thank me for my service? Um, I get it when I'm in uniform, and I get it when I'm not in uniform. There's a certain demeanor that you have about you once you're a Marine, and people just sniff it out like greyhounds. And they know that once they see you, the way you walk, the way you talk, the way that you look at them, they know: That girl's a Marine. And they'll say 'Thank you.'"