“Nothing sounded better to me than being a Marine!”
Award-winners say your support makes Marines stronger
Cpl Lauren Kohls, USMC, can’t discuss much of what she did while deployed to Afghanistan, but that’s no surprise. A specialist in Pashto, the language spoken by millions in Central Asia, Kohls was attached to the Operational Command and Analysis Center, where she provided intelligence for Marines on the front lines.
But her work there and at her current posting at the Virtual Signals Intelligence Operations Center at Camp Lejeune has impressed those in a position to know. That’s why Kohls received the LCpl James E. Swain Enlisted Marine of the Year Award at the MCA&F’s second-annual Intelligence Awards Dinner recently.
While in Afghanistan, Kohls and fellow Pashto specialist Sarah Abdella founded Hayla International, to provide audiobooks and other educational tools in areas where schools are closed or where girls cannot attend safely (hayla is Pashto for “hope”).
Kohls has always loved foreign languages and culture, and says she never considered military service until after high school. Then a friend in the Marine Corps Delayed Entry Program (DEP) invited her to attend a workout session for DEP candidates.
“With the challenge and camaraderie I experienced, I was hooked!” she remembers. “Nothing sounded better to me than being a Marine while performing a job I love!” The Corps’ uniqueness appealed to 1stLt Paul Mower, USMC, too.
While studying at Notre Dame and Harvard Law School, Mower investigated Judge Advocate General positions in all the services. “The Marine Corps set itself apart,” he recalls. “The Corps’ standards for excellence are head and shoulders above anyplace else.
“Lawyers receive the same training as all Marine officers,” Mower explains. “That was really important to me. We are Marine officers first, lawyers second.”
Mower reported to The Basic School last June. At graduation in December, the MCA&F presented him with the 1stLt Baldomero Lopez Award as his class’s honor graduate. He now attends Naval Justice School in Rhode Island.
These impressive Marines are living examples of how you recognize and promote professional excellence in the Corps through your support of the Marine Corps Association & Foundation.
“The MCA provides ways for all Marines to grow professionally,” Mower says. “It’s one of the best ways we have to educate ourselves.”
Kohls agrees. “Their programs promote excellence and encourage all Marines to do their very best,” she says. “The MCA is a great organization.”
Your support of the MCA&F helps build a stronger Marine Corps. Thank you for your generosity.