CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Sgt. Tanell Nedd is one of the busiest noncommissioned officers working in the 2nd Marine Logistics Group these days. While she directs and mentors her platoon of young Marines, she is also preparing them for a grueling future deployment to Afghanistan.
Nedd, a tactical switch operator with Combat Logistics Battalion 2, 2nd MLG, is the platoon sergeant for the S-6 Communications shop. On the surface, she looks like the average hotshot platoon sergeant; slim physical appearance, confident and sharply clad in her camouflage uniform.
It is Nedd's tenacity and dependability to take care of her Marines though, that gives her staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge such a good impression of her; he says she is among the cream of the crop in the battalion.
"Sgt Nedd is the best NCO in the platoon. When dealing with the same rank it can be difficult for some leaders to give orders, guidance, and direction to their peers." SNCOIC of S-6 Staff Sgt. Steven Gabrielson, said. "Sgt Nedd does not have this problem. She is looked up to and respected by all ranks under her charge."
The 21-year-old sergeant did not have an easy road on her journey to becoming a standout NCO. During the first four years of her career, she says her morale was very low and she was looking forward to leaving the Corps as soon as her contract was complete.
"I was having a rough time during my first enlistment. I wasn't being challenged and I didn't feel my job was important to the mission." She said.
But the guidance and mentorship of a special leader during Nedd's deployment to Camp Al Taqaddum, Iraq in 2006 completely changed her attitude, and her life.
"Gunnery Sgt. Young was very instrumental in making me the person that I am today," she explained. "His leadership motivated me, strengthened me and changed my life as a Marine.
If he hadn't believed in me and pushed me, I probably would not have re-enlisted." she added.
Jeffrey Young, then a gunnery sergeant, was the Communications chief and Nedd's mentor. Today, he is the first sergeant for Headquarters and Service Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Division. Throughout his career he's dealt with his fair share of Marine NCOs. He saw where Nedd was at one point in her life and is pleased to see the change in her leadership and attitude.
"She was 'a piece of work', foul mouthed, undisciplined, and [had] zero tact. Back then, she was not a Marine worth emulating, or for future service in the Marine Corps.
Now, she is the model Marine. She is very compassionate about her Marines and she demands respect and obedience at all times." Young said.
As a woman, he added, Sgt. Nedd has class, she conducts herself like a lady, and demands others to treat her as such.
Nedd also credits her parents, both of whom served in the U.S. military, and are natives of the South American country Guyana, with influencing her decision to join the Marine Corps. Although she chose a different service, she wanted to follow in her parent's footsteps by making the military a career.
"My father, who was in the Army, had a big impact on my career. I wouldn't really have joined if it weren't for his motivation and dedication to the military. I am fulfilling his dream." she said.
Her mother, a 12-year veteran of the Navy, helped shape Nedd's character into the hardworking, dedicated and extremely loyal woman she is today.
"Watching my mother push herself in the military and take care of her kids at the same time made me see how strong she was and how much I wanted to be like that," Nedd explained. "I think I am."
As she continues on her journey to one day becoming a commissioned officer or sergeant major, Nedd realizes now, just how important her role is as a leader of Marines and as a strong woman. She wants to be a positive role model to all of her Marines, regardless of their gender.
"If they see me striving to be better than everyone around me, they will do the same. I just want what other leaders want from their Marines - for them to do and be the best that they can." she said.
Nedd plans to become a drill instructor possibly after her next deployment, but for now is focused on bringing her Marines back from Afghanistan once they've accomplished their mission there. Her success and transformation is the reason why her former mentor, 1st Sgt. Young, worked so hard to help Nedd.
"If we don't develop and train our replacement, then the future of our Corps is doomed. We have a responsibility to make [model] Marines and citizens." He concluded.