DOWNEY - The courage it takes for a person to enter the Armed Forces industry is both admirable and inspiring, and for one former Downey High School student, the inspiration it took to join the Marine Corps came easily.For former Downey High School varsity basketball player Alexis Satterwhite, a class of 2009 graduate, joining the Marines was one of the best decisions she's made in her entire life. Hoping to be an inspiration to her three younger brothers and to make her family proud, she chose the Marines knowing it would be a challenge that was both professionally and personally rewarding. "Being a member of the Marine Corps means everything to me, I've never been happier with any other decisions I've made," said Satterwhite. "It's a feeling that no one will ever understand until they earn the title United States Marine. The reason I chose the Marine Corps over any other branch is because they're the best of the best. I needed the challenge. I wanted to prove to myself that I'm capable of anything. Plus, have you seen our uniforms?" Flattering uniforms aside, the Marine Corps, or any Armed Forces career, is not for the faint of heart. Basic training is one of the biggest early challenges new members will encounter and is a true test to their dedication and commitment to the Corps. In addition to the intense training, being one of few females in the Marine isn't always easy, but Satterwhite is determined to prove she's just as good as the boys. "Life as a Marine now is a lot better than it was the first six months," said Satterwhite. "The basic training was three months and that was the hardest thing I've gone in my life. It was a complete culture shock. As a female in the Marine Corps its a little difficult at times because you work with mostly all males and you have to prove that you can do what they can do. But at the end of the day it doesn't matter if you are a male or a female because you're both Marines and that's what matters." Throughout her journey into the Marine Corps, Satterwhite looked to key people in her life that have greatly inspired her to keep moving forward. "Since I was 7, I've always looked up to my cousin Christina, she's such a positive role model," said Satterwhite. "I always wanted to be somewhat like her when I grew up; she motivates me. My aunt Vivian has been my backbone she's been here for me for everything. I She's the most caring and giving person I know and I hope someday I can make a difference in someone's life like she has mine. My high school basketball coach, Coach Harris, has been someone that I go to for support as well. I've learned a lot from that guy. He gave me the motivation I needed to want to do something with my life because he always knew I could do anything even when I didn't know I could myself." Since being in the Marine Corps, Satterwhite as learned a lot about not only what it takes to be a member of the Armed Forces, but also lessons she could adapt to everyday life. With her family by her side and her duty to protect the country, Satterwhite's focus and clear and can never be broken. "I've learned that no matter what situation or type of environment you're in, you have to adapt and overcome," said Satterwhite. "You're gonna get frustrated and go through hard times you just need to know why you're here and remember how much being a Marine means to you. There's a bigger picture and you realize it's not all about yourself anymore. I hope to learn how to become a better leader so I can motivate and teach the new Marines that join the Corps."
********** Published: May 19, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 5