MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. --
A rough start didn’t mean a rough ending for this Marine, as she quickly set high goals and was determined to reach them.
Sgt. Maj. Laura Brown, a Training and Education Command project manager, and former Marine Corps Base Quantico sergeant major, has accomplished almost 30 years of service.
Brown faced her first challenge as a Marine when she got pregnant at the rank of private first class. She had the opportunity to stay in the Marine Corps due to legislation that had recently been signed giving pregnant women the option to stay on active duty.
"Sgt. Edith Robinson was certainly the one who navigated my path [during this time]," said Brown. “She didn’t kick me to the side. She taught me how to navigate being a woman on active duty.”
Brown has had many accomplishments throughout her career. Through the good and the bad, she can remember the significant Marines that mentored her and inspired her to keep going.
"Just through the years and climbing, at every rank there was always someone that I looked at and said, ‘I don’t know how they got there, but I’m going to do it'," said Brown.
Brown said that her time as a drill instructor was also a rough hurdle, and just like she found a mentor to help her through that chapter in her career, she helped other Marines through that same chapter when she returned to Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island as the battalion sergeant major.
"Sgt. Maj. Brown was my battalion sergeant major at 4th Recruit Training Battalion in Parris Island when I first met her," said Master Sgt. Tonya James, the communications chief for base G-6. "She just brought a fresh insight as far as training recruits, how drill instructors treated each other and leadership."
James also said that Brown dedicated a lot of her time to the junior Marines. She said that the Single Marine Program on MCB Quantico was very near to her heart, and she was very passionate about what she’s working on now, the Lance Corporal Leadership and Ethics Seminar.
For a woman who has had such a powerful impact on the Marines around her, it’s hard to believe that her journey began with her eyes set elsewhere.
"I would love to tell you a wonderful story but the reality is, I was originally supposed to go into the Air Force,” said Brown. “I walked about a mile and a half to go see the recruiters because I didn’t know what a recruiter was. The Air Force recruiter was not there. I looked next door and there was a Marine standing there, and I wanted to go see what that was about."
Whether it was the time she got meritoriously promoted to corporal, the five platoons she graduated at Parris Island, her helping hand during Operation Pitch Black in Australia, her time as a squadron gunnery sergeant at Headquarters and Service Squadron in Miramar, Calif., or her deployment with the Camp Pendleton Military Police Company during Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom, Brown has done countless things for the Marine Corps and her country.
“She’s one of those Marines who will continue to give long after she’s out of the Marine Corps, said James. “She will continue to support the Marine Corps through all of the various organizations she currently supports.”
Brown is currently working as the project manager for the Lance Corporal Leadership and Ethics Seminar and plans to retire in December of 2014.