The Lady Marine

By Phil La Borie

I was gassing up my car not too long ago when I happened to notice another car in the station with a plate on the front that read: LADY MARINE.

The car’s occupant, a tall, stately and very business-like young lady, was busily filling up her vehicle as well. I got her attention and asked, “Excuse me Ma’am, are you in the Corps?”

She seemed a little taken aback by my question, as in; had I noticed her license plate, but then with a good deal of forgiveness and pride, she said, “Yessir.”

“Thank you for your service,” I replied.

I can’t say that she blushed, but I will say that she was clearly pleased to have been recognized.

I never served in the Marines, but I did serve for six years in the Army Reserve during the height of the Viet Nam war. Our unit was never called up to serve on full-time active duty in the war zone, but we were next in line to move out. Fortunately, my time in the Reserve came to an end before that could take place.

In those days (the 1960s), No one would have even thought it possible to have females command troops, let alone serve in forward combat positions.

But, male relatives, friends and neighbors from my hometown did serve in Viet Nam. Some with fervor and distinction, some just putting their time in and hoping to come home in one piece.

Sad to say, some never did come back and a number of others that did return were terribly changed both physically and mentally.

I still get teary when I visit the Viet Nam Memorial Wall in Washington and run my hand over the names of the fallen that I knew. Some never got into combat and were killed in training accidents, others saw and heard things that they never wanted to talk about. Whoever said war is no joke was sadly right. The Wall says it all.

These days, I hear about the many accomplishments by women who are serving in our armed forces right now. They, as well as their male counterparts are to be commended for their service and more importantly, to be thanked for the grueling regimen they endure, the dangers they are exposed to, and the sacrifices they are willing to make.

I think the Lady Marine that I met would be happy to know that those of us who depend on them to keep us safe and secure here at home are thankful for their service.

So, might I ask you for a favor?

The next time you see a member of any of our armed services who is currently on active duty, whether male or female, please thank them for their service. That goes for those who have retired from active duty as well.

It doesn’t take much, just a simple “Thank you.”

I’m betting that it will mean a lot to them, and I know that you’ll feel better for your effort.

At least I do.

About this writer

  • Phil La Borie

    Phil La Borie

    Phil La Borie is an award-winning writer/artist based in Garden City, South Carolina. His work has been published in AdWeek, The Kaiser-Permanente Journal, Westworld Magazine and online at Phil is the 2015 winner of the Alice Conger Patterson Award offered through the Emrys Foundation. He can be reached at

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3 Responses to “The Lady Marine”

  1. Rose Ann says:

    An important message–well said.

  2. Linda O'Connell says:

    Recognition for service is certainly appreciated.

  3. Anna Riley says:

    Great reminder to say thank you! We give a military discount at the kiosk I work for at the airport. I always say ” we thank you for your service”. And they really do seem to appreciate those simple words!

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