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Firefighter Who Loves Challenges Enlists in the Marine Corps

When Alisa Mycka's older brother joined the Army, she said she wanted to do as well or better than him, so she joined the Marine Corps after spending about 18 months as a firefighter. 

A Marine sits in a truck.
Marine Corps Cpl. Alisa Mycka
Marine Corps Cpl. Alisa Mycka sits in her truck during Talisman Sabre in Queensland, Australia, July 26, 2023. Talisman Sabre is the largest military exercise between Australia and the United States. It aims to advance a free and open Indo-Pacific by strengthening relationships and interoperability among key allies and enhancing allies’ collective capabilities to respond to a wide array of potential security concerns.
Photo By: David Vergun, DOD
VIRIN: 230727-D-UB488-800A

The two have a long-running sibling rivalry and she said she always tries to outcompete him in everything. 

Today, Mycka, 22, is a corporal and drives tactical vehicles for the Marine Corps. She's currently deployed to Queensland, Australia as part of Exercise Talisman Sabre 23. 

This year marks the 10th iteration of Talisman Sabre, a biennial exercise designed to advance a free and open Indo-Pacific by strengthening partnerships and interoperability among key allies. The spelling of the name — sabre vs. saber — reflects which country is leading the exercise: Talisman Sabre when Australia leads and Talisman Saber when the U.S. leads. 

Thirteen nations from Japan to Germany are participating in this year's full exercise. 

Mycka, who hails from Baltimore, Maryland, went to boot camp at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina.  

Her boot camp platoon was all female. During her time on the island, the recruit depot integrated women with men in the platoons and she said she wished her platoon had been integrated too, as she likes to compete with men. 

During her spare time aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans, which transported her from Okinawa to Australia, she said she enjoyed working out in the gym, just like she did on Okinawa. 

A convoy pauses on a dirt road.
Talisman Convoy
Marine Corps Cpl. Alisa Mycka drives one of these trucks during Talisman Sabre in Queensland, Australia, July 27, 2023.
Photo By: David Vergun, DOD
VIRIN: 230727-D-UB488-801A

Besides working out, Mycka loves playing soccer with her favorite position being attacker. 

Being a firefighter helped prepare her for the physical training needed in the Marine Corps, where she might one day be in a firefight. She mentioned that she put out a lot of car fires in Baltimore and one memorable one she put out was on a blazing Greyhound bus. 

Mycka's four-year enlistment is coming up soon and she's struggling with the decision whether to stay in the Marine Corps and make it a career or get out and use her GI Bill to learn a trade like electrician or heating and air conditioning. 

However, she didn't struggle with the decision to join the Marine Corps. She said it was the right call for her. 

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