Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Honoring Veterans and the 243rd Marine Corps Birthday

On November 10, 1775, the Continental Congress adopted a resolution to create a Marine force composed of two battalions and on November 10, 2018, the 243rd Birthday of the Marine Corps was celebrated in Washington, D.C. CMC General Robert Blake Neller, a Marine four-star general who serves as the current and 37th Commandant of the Marine Corps was present. The 31st Commandant General Charles C. Krulak was the Guest of Honor, Master Gunnery Sergeant Carroll W. Braxton was the oldest Marine (94), and Second Lieutenant Austin Brownfield was the youngest (20) present. MGySgt. Braxton served as a marine for 28 years with 2 ½ in World War II.
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Chief Warrant Officer 3
Carmen E. Cole (retired)

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Carmen E. Cole, daughter of the late Claudell Weaver and granddaughter of the late Betsy Ann Eichelberger of Louisville, MS, had the privilege of escorting Montford Point Marine MGySgt. Carroll W. Braxton, a Congressional Gold Medal recipient, to the Commandant of the Marine Corps 243rd Marine Corps Birthday Ball. She stated, “It is always nice to celebrate with my brothers and sisters. Semper Fidelis! I'm escorting the oldest Marine to the Ball. Mr. Carroll W. Braxton (94), he is a                                                                         
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    CMC General Robert Blake Neller, CWO3 Carmen Cole (retired) and MGySgt. Carroll W. Braxton (retired)
Montford Point Marine, one of the first African Americans to integrate the Marine Corps from 1942-1949. I'm proud to be his date.” What an honor for Claudell Weaver’s daughter who has accomplished many firsts in the Marine Corps as a woman with roots in Louisville, MS.

CWO Cole began her military career enlisting in the Marine Corps in November 1980. She completed recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD), Woman Recruit Training Command (WRTC), Parris Island, SC., in June 1981 and was trained as a motor transport maintenance mechanic at Camp Johnson, Jacksonville NC. She reported to 2nd Maintenance Battalion, Camp Lejeune, NC in November of 1981. While there, she was meritoriously promoted to Lance Corporal, Corporal and Sergeant. In 1984 she returned to MCRD, Parris Island SC. as a Drill Instructor and Senior Drill Instructor.

In 1986 she reported to 3rd Maintenance Battalion Okinawa, Japan where she served as the battalion administrative chief and as a mechanic. In 1988 she transferred to 7th Motor Transport Maintenance Battalion, Camp Pendleton, CA serving as a Platoon Sergeant and Marine Corps Integrated Maintenance Management System (MIMMS) clerk. In 1990 she was promoted to Staff Sergeant and became the first female Motor Transport Maintenance Shop Chief in the command.

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MGySgt Carroll W. Braxton
was the oldest Marine (94),
and 2nd Lt Austin Brownfield
was the youngest (20)

In 1993 she was selected as a Warrant Officer becoming the first female in Marine Corps history to be a Motor Transport Maintenance Officer. After completing The Basic School (TBS) for Warrant Officers at Marine Corps Base, Quantico, VA and the Motor Transport Maintenance Officers course at Camp Johnson, Jacksonville NC., she was assigned to Marine Air Control Squadron-2, Marine Air Group–31, Beaufort, SC serving as the Maintenance Management Officer (MMO). She was promoted to CWO-2 during this tour.

In 1996 CWO-2 Cole returned to 3d Maintenance Battalion, Motor Transport Maintenance Company, Okinawa Japan as the Maintenance Officer. During this tour she assisted with the initial restructuring and merger of the command with 3d Supply Battalion to form 3d Material Readiness Battalion.

In 1998 she was assigned as the Inspector-Instructor (I&I) Detachment-2, Augusta Ga., 4th Maintenance Battalion becoming the first female I&I to command the active duty staff in support of the Marine Reserve Unit at Augusta Ga. During this tour she was promoted to CWO-3.

In 2001 CWO-3 Cole retired from the Marine Corps to accept a position as the Senior Marine Instructor of Marine Corps Junior ROTC (MCJROTC), at Butler High School, Augusta GA. becoming the first female instructor in their 30 years of having a MCJROTC program. While at Butler High School the program was recognized as a Naval Honors School for consecutive years. She was also the softball and soccer coach, PTA treasurer and was selected as Teacher of the Year in 2007.

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General Charles C. Krulak,
MSgt Erica L. James,
CWO3 Carmen Cole (retired),
and MGySgt Carroll Braxton (retired)
In 2010 she resigned her position at Butler High and relocated to Marine Corps Junior ROTC Headquarters Marine Corps Base, Quantico Virginia to become the Marine Corps Junior ROTC Instructional Systems Specialist (ISS). In 2011 she was reassigned and became the first female to be the Operations Manager for Marine Corps Junior ROTC programs with ISS as an additional responsibility.

As the Operations Manager, she is responsible for the daily coordination and operations of 6 Regions with 235 MCJROTC programs. She travels throughout the country to promote the MCJROTC program, looking for new locations and potential instructors, she trains new instructors, and ensures that all MCJROTC Instructors have the tools they need to lead and mentor their cadets.

She is also an active member of the Virginia-1 Chapter, Women Marines Association and the Marine Corps League Mickey Finn Detachment #333.

Her community service and volunteer work has resulted in recognition as The Keeper of the Flame from Maranatha Seventh Day Adventist Church in San Diego CA and Lady of the Year at the National Montford Point Marine Association, Inc. 48th Convention, San Diego, CA, July 2013.

Submitted by: Elmetra Patterson