Lady Leatherneck: 9/11 Recruited Her

Photograph by Scott Olson/Getty Images

SSgt. Jennifer Garza, center, disciplines her Marine recruits with some unscheduled physical training in the sand pit outside their barracks during boot camp on February 27, 2013 at MCRD Parris Island, South Carolina.

This is not your Father’s Marine Corps.

With the Pentagon’s decision to deploy women in direct combat — a move that will be implemented over time, force by force — comes a new recognition of an old type:

Lady Leatherneck.

Leatherneck.com, the largest Web-site devoted to the Marines, is adding a section called Lady Leatherneck — appealing to both active duty women in the Marines and female spouses of Marines.

The founder of Lady Leatherneck is a former Marine, “a combat veteran of two tours to Iraq, a Marine wife, mother, entrepreneur, business woman, student and philanthropist,” `Jenna Lee Lombardo, 27, of San Clemente, California. She was living in New York, in high school there, when the World Trade Center was attacked with hijacked airliners on Sept. 11, 2011.

Feeling she had to “do something,” she says, “the pull to join the Marines was so strong that I just couldn’t continue college. Soon after, I was at Parris Island in basic training, and I really enjoyed the physical, emotional and mental challenges of that experience.”

She left the military in 2012, as a sergeant, and is married to a Marine. She explains of the Web-site:“Followers will be able to gain access to helpful government, employment and education sites, non-profit organizations and hotlines.”

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