|04-07-2006, 07:05 AM||#1 (permalink)|
MSgt USMC Ret
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: San Diego
The real McKoy: Recruiting’s leading lady wasn’t always so successful
MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO (April 7, 2006) -- Female Marines have progressed extensively throughout their military history. For 63 years they have continually served their Corps and helped “free a man to fight” during both world wars.
During World War I, although women were unable to vote, they served the Marine Corps at recruiting stations across the country and at clerical jobs at Headquarters Marine Corps.
With 23 years of service under her belt, Master Gunnery Sgt. Yolanda J. McKoy, Western Recruiting Region operations chief, has outmatched the accomplishments of many previous female Marines. As a career recruiter, she has exceeded the general expectations of her fellow Marine population.
At her first recruiting duty station, McKoy was faced with disheartening challenges because female Marine recruiters were stereotypically unsuccessful in the recruiting field. As McKoy put it, females weren’t expected to last long at any one duty station, so the males generally considered them not worth training.
When McKoy was handed her letter of probation after failing to fulfill enlistment quotas for the first three months of her tour as a recruiter, she gave herself an ultimatum.
“It’s either me or these kids,” she told herself. “It’s either open up or you fail.”
Failure in front of her peers and in front of so many male Marines was unacceptable for McKoy. She originally enlisted in the Marine Corps because she needed to follow her own path. This was her opportunity to prove she made the right choice.
McKoy is one of only five active-duty female career recruiters and the only female master gunnery sergeant in her field. Meritoriously promoted to staff sergeant while on recruiting duty, McKoy has been awarded three Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals and is a single mother to her 12-year-old daughter Kayla.
McKoy has had to triumph over pre-existing stereotypes throughout her career. McKoy’s struggles didn’t falter when she came to the depot as one of the first female instructors at Recruiters School.
“They had to build a bathroom for me. They built me a changing room with a shower and a bathroom,” said McKoy.
As the highest ranking female Marine in the career recruiting field, McKoy has had the opportunity to experience the traditional trials of nearly every enlisted rank the Marine Corps has to offer.
“I think one of the challenging things as a female Marine is that even though you’ve obtained a rank, you have to prove it when you get to a new unit,” said McKoy.
McKoy explained that as she progressed in rank and billet in the career recruiting field, she still had to earn the respect of the male Marines under her command.
“I think she is an excellent example for female Marines that not only aspire to be master gunnery sergeants, but also for those who may consider being a recruiter or a career recruiter,” said Master Sgt. Isaac Ford, Western Recruiting Region assistant for officer procurement chief. “I think she’s an inspiration for female Marines, not only in the Western Recruiting Region, but throughout the entire recruiting command.”
McKoy prides herself in setting an example for younger Marines and making her mark on the Marine Corps through the applicants she enlisted.
“I feel I am obligated to go out there and talk to female Marines about recruiting, just to be an example that if you hang in there and push, you can be successful as a guy or female. I didn’t have anyone to ‘be like.’ I had to develop myself, although there were people along the way who assisted in training,” said McKoy.
She has put in enough time to retire, but McKoy said she still feels like a kid in the Corps.
“I don’t feel like I’ve been in even 20 years,” she said. “It feels like only 10.”
McKoy has progressed, through the Marine Corps, into a self-proclaimed lioness of strength and confidence. She has overcome outdated perceptions of the typical female Marine and proved her strength as a Marine and recruiter. She said she enjoys her job as a career recruiter and Marine as well as the opportunities the Corps has afforded her.
When asked when she plans to retire, the answer is simply “in a few years.”
|lady, leading, mckoy, real, recruiting’s, successful, wasn’t|
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