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Face of Defense: Brazil Native Succeeds as Marine

By Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Katesha Washington
2nd Marine Logistics Group

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C., April 19, 2010 – A Brazil native assigned here is moving rapidly up the career ladder.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Soraya Silva, a combat engineer with 8th Engineer Support Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 25, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, stands in the Bridge Company's compound at Camp Lejeune, N.C., April 8, 2010. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Gunnery Sgt. Katesha Washington

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Lance Cpl. Soraya Silva, a combat engineer with Bridge Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, already is on the cusp of becoming a noncommissioned officer only a year after she joined the Marine Corps.

Silva is a few years older than the average lance corporal. Her drive and desire to take charge and lead Marines has garnered the attention of her staff NCOs.

She was selected as the battalion's Marine of the Quarter for the first quarter of fiscal 2010, but she didn’t stop there. She then was chosen for the same honor at the regiment and group levels as well.

Now her leadership is just waiting until she has a little more time and experience under her belt to submit her paperwork for meritorious promotion to corporal. Becoming an NCO, she said, would be a big and a 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 [also] what it is to be a leader of Marines."

One of the major steps Silva took to prove her worth and her 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.

She said she hopes to pass on the language skills she learned to her fellow Marines to help her command better communicate with the local people when they serve in Afghanistan.

"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 to know that I made a difference in the unit."

Silva hopes to build on her associate's degree in civil engineering by earning her bachelor's degree from Broward College in southern Florida.

Her platoon sergeant, Marine Corps 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 her mother’s strength and influence. 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, she said.

"My mother is the most influential person in my life,” Silva said. “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. When I have kids one day that is exactly how I want to raise them."

For now, Silva said, she is ready for her first combat deployment.


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