MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, NC --
“I’m just trying to be the best leader I can be and pass off everything I know and everything that got me to this point in my career,” said Sgt. Alona Radchenko.
Sgt. Alona Radchenko, a Ukrainian native from Kyiv who moved to the Louisville, Kentucky with her mother and stepfather when she was 14 years old, now a distribution management specialist with 2nd Supply Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group (MLG), made her life changing decision to join the Marine Corps in 2019 right after she graduated from Eastern High School.
“I was talking to an Army recruiter and a Marine recruiter at the same time,” Radchenko said. “I got a chance to go to a poolee function and I saw a drill instructor there, right then I instantly knew that's what I wanted to do.”
Not long after, Radchenko stepped on the yellow footprints at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, and was immediately faced with her first challenge. A language barrier.
“When I joined straight out of high school it was something I definitely had to overcome,” said Radchenko, “I focused on being more extroverted and talking to more people, which helped a lot.”
Radchenko surpassed her language barrier but quickly found another hill to conquer halfway into phase one of bootcamp, where she would have to stop training and go back home due to an administrative issue.
“I realized that this is something I wanted, so bad,” said Radchenko, “so I tried hard, fixed everything, and went back to bootcamp to become the best Marine I can be.”
After finally graduating from Lima Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion on Parris Island, Private Radchenko started working harder than ever.
“I have been setting myself up for success ever since I was a little Pfc., I dedicated my entire free time to doing professional military education, book reports, and going to the gym,” said Radchenko, “I didn't do anything else; the Marine Corps was like my life 24/7.”
Radchenko graduated from her military occupational specialty (MOS)school on Camp Johnson, North Carolina, as an honor graduate and received a meritorious promotion to the rank of private first class. As soon as she stepped into her new role as a distribution management specialist for 2nd Supply Battalion, Radchenko got to work, was promoted to lance corporal, won 2nd MLG Marine of the Quarter, and meritoriously earned the rank of corporal.
“Being a Marine of the Quarter set me up for success,” said Radchenko, “and my meritorious promotion to corporal was a huge steppingstone in my career.”
After becoming a Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO), Radchenko did not slow down, and would soon deploy and serve as the distribution liaison Marine with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit and had the opportunity to put her arsenal of languages to use.
“It was a great experience, I was one of one with my skill set,” said Radchenko, “it gave me an opportunity to take charge of my own section and become a [noncommissioned officer in charge] for the first time.”
Upon returning from deployment Radchenko continued pushing through the ranks and became the 2nd MLG NCO of the Quarter. With just three years’ time in service, she received a meritorious promotion to the rank of sergeant. Her hard work would be further recognized as she would be named “Military Person of the Quarter” by the Swansboro Chamber of Commerce.
Radchenko has recently reenlisted and is in the process of lateral moving to an intelligence-based MOS. She hopes to return to the 22nd MEU after completing her training and continuing to mentor and lead Marines.