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Staff Sgt. Lakedra Johnson, (rear), the platoon sergeant for Utilities Platoon, Engineer Maintenance Company, 2nd Maintenance Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, practices Marine Corps Martial Arts skills with one of her Marines aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., March 31, 2010. Johnson, a new mom, strives to balance her career as a Marine with furthering her education and her participation on a local weightlifting team.

Photo by Pfc Bruno Bego

Woman balances motherhood, weightlifting team while leading Marines

12 Apr 2010 | Gunnery Sgt. Katesha Washington

Women serving on active duty in the military have a difficult time balancing family life and their careers as working women. Staff Sgt. Alkedra Johnson is a U.S. Marine who understands the difficulties women face when raising a family and developing a career in the Marines. 

As the platoon sergeant for Utilities Platoon, 2nd Maintenance Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, she is constantly balancing her life as a leader of 30 Marines and as a new mom.   Somehow, she pulls it off without missing a step.

“Time management is difficult… being able to make time for your Marines and family is hard at times. As a leader, you have to be there to guide and mentor your Marines. As a parent, you have to do the same thing daily, 24 hours a day,” she said.

Despite her busy life as a Marine and a mom, Johnson still manages to further her education and participate in off-duty community organizations. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems and a Masters of Business Administration degree in Technology Management.  In addition to reaching her education goals, Johnson also pushes her body to its physical limits as a member of the 100% RAW Weightlifting Federation weightlifting team. Her main events are the bench press and the dead lift.

Being involved in positive organizations outside of the Marine Corps, she said, is important to show the community that Marines are more than just trained killers.

“Being involved in the community shows that we care about what’s going on outside of our box and outside of what we’re trained to do. There is more to the Marine Corps than just the uniform and fighting in a war,” she explained.

Johnson has more goals she plans to accomplish before the end of her 20 years in the Corps. One of her goals is to become a commissioned officer. She’s currently awaiting the results of the Enlisted Commissioning Program she recently applied for. ECP is a unique program that gives enlisted Marines the opportunity to earn a commission as a second lieutenant if they already hold at least a bachelors degree from an accredited college or university.  If accepted, Johnson will attend Officer's Candidate School in Quantico, Va., within the next year.

The new mother says her personal drive and self-motivation are what pushes her to succeed in order to be a positive role model for her son.

“I must be a positive example for my son and my family because your children look for that in their [parents]. They look for motivation and willpower and I have to be that,” she said.

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