She’s not the first or last. She’s the only one.
For Pfc. Mallary Bryant, a career as an aircraft rescue and firefighting Marine on Marine Corps Air Station New River is something she wouldn’t change, even though she’s the only woman in her platoon, she said.
“When I first got here I was nervous because I felt alone,” said Bryant, 19, of Corpus Christi, Texas. “I was always used to having another female to fall back on. I didn’t know what to do but now that I’ve been here for a while, the guys are like big brothers to me. I’ve learned that the Marine Corps is a big family and the guys are definitely my family.”
Bryant said her chain of command has made sure she is afforded the same opportunities and treated the same as her male comrades.
“Physically, I have to work harder than the other guys,” Bryant said. “I know I won’t be number one when it comes to things. I need to maintain realistic expectations because what comes easy for them, I need to work for. The biggest thing is you can’t use that as an excuse not to do something. I do everything they do and I hope they respect me for that.”
Bryant hopes other woman Marines succeed in specialties within the Marine Corps. As the Marine Corps integrates women into traditionally male jobs, she wants to encourage them that they can make it, she said.
“If you try, work hard ... and have the drive, you can do whatever you want,” Bryant said. “I want to stay in the Marine Corps and be a senior enlisted leader who shows other females they can do more than they think and succeed in this field. I proved it to myself and I want to prove it to them.”
Bryant works to be part of the team, her fellow Marines said.
“Being the only female Marine ... she has her own bathroom, her own quarters and is separated from the males,” said Staff Sgt. Christopher Pickett, the section leader for aircraft rescue and firefighting. “She doesn’t have as much bonding time with the rest of the section, but she goes above to make sure she is part of the team.”
The integration, according to Pickett, was difficult at first because some of the Marines had never officially worked with a woman Marine besides at the schoolhouse.
“I’ve always encouraged female Marines they need to work a little harder in male dominant environments,” Pickett said. “This job is based on the character of the person. There are a lot of males that can’t do this job and I’m sure there are a lot of females who can’t do it either. It’s all in your mindset. If you set your mind to something like she has then you’ll be successful.”