CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
A female Marine who hails from the South American country of Brazil is shattering all myths about what it means to be a female Marine.
Lance Cpl. Soraya Silva, a combat engineer with Bridge Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, earned the title, U.S. Marine, just one year ago and is already on the cusp of becoming a noncommissioned officer. Her outstanding performance can partly be attributed to her level of maturity. She is a few years older than the average lance corporal, but it is her drive to take charge and lead Marines that has garnered the attention of her staff noncommissioned officers.
She has impressed the command leadership so much that when she was nominated as the battalion's Marine of the Quarter for the first quarter of fiscal year 2010, she won. When she was nominated as the regiment's Marine of the Quarter, she won and when she was nominated as the Marine of the Quarter for the 2nd MLG, she won that too.
Now her leadership is just waiting until she has a little more time and experience under her belt to submit her package for a meritorious corporal promotion. Becoming an NCO, she said, would be a big and very welcome step for her.
"I am very ready to step up to the plate and lead Marines," she said. "I want to be a positive example of not only what it means to be a female Marine, but what it is to be a leader of Marines."
One of the major steps Silva took to prove her worthiness and willingness to lead was the help she provided her command in preparing for their upcoming deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. She volunteered to attend the Southwest Asian Language Aptitude Course to learn to speak Pashtu, the official language of the Afghan people.
She hopes to pass on the language skills she learned to her fellow Marines in order to help her command better communicate with the local people when they need an interpreter.
"I am so excited to do what I can to help out in any way when we get to Afghanistan," she said. "I want to be a part of history and know that I made a difference in the unit."
Although Silva specifically requested to attend SLAC to provide her command with language assistance, her true goal in life is to build upon her Associate's Degree in Civil Engineering by earning her bachelor's degree from Broward College in southern Florida.
Her platoon sergeant, Sgt. Christopher Ivester, noticed Silva's drive and determination from the time she joined the platoon.
"She supersedes everyone else in the platoon," he said. "She is first in everything she does and even inspires NCOs in the platoon to be better Marines. She is truly an outstanding Marine."
Silva attributes her strong character to the strength and influence of her mother. She says her mother taught her and Silva's brother, who is also a Marine, to always be honest and to maintain a strong faith in God.
"My mother is the most influential person in my life. It is because of her that I am the person that I am today. She taught me to always work hard and to be honest, above all," she noted. "When I have kids one day that is exactly how I want to raise them."
For now Silva is preparing for a combat deployment that will be her first and hopefully, she says, not her last.