From Marine to Mom


Kellie Sharpe enlisted in the Marines when she was 17. This required a signed permission slip from her parents. That permission was not given lightly. Her mom objected, “What if there’s a war?”  Kellie laughed, “There won’t be a war.” Kellie’s parents wanted her to go to college, but reluctantly signed the paper knowing their daughter’s stubborn streak.

Kellie was stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina in 2000. Her military occupational specialty was Field Radio Operator. She traveled to Germany, France, Austria, Spain and Kuwait. Life was good. She planned a career in the Marine Corps with retirement at age 38.

In 2003, Kellie drove from Kuwait to Iraq where she was deployed at the start of the Iraq War. She was the first female Marine to serve there. Kellie and her fellow Marines began setting up military bases.

There was little opportunity for communication with family and friends --- no phones or electronics. Food consisted of MRE’s (ready to eat boxed meals). Baby wipes were used in lieu of running water. Kellie went 37 days without a shower.