Many of the stationâ€™s female Marines gathered with a few of their male counterparts for an awareness summit, May 15.
Women make up only six percent of the Corps, but despite their small numbers, make a large difference in the institution.
While there were several presentations from valuable resources on station, the main goal of the gathering was to learn from one another and become better mentors for one another, said Sgt. Maj. Irene Oâ€™Neal, Marine Aircraft Group 13 sergeant major.
The attendees learned a lot from the 27-year veteran.
â€œAll of us in here joined the same institution, so we should all be treated equally,â€ said Oâ€™Neal. â€œAnd believe me; the Corps has come a long way in 27 years.â€
Oâ€™Neal tried joining the Corps at 16. After being told she was too young, the recruiter asked if she had any older siblings. Oâ€™Nealâ€™s older brother was graduating high school that year, so she gave the recruiter her brotherâ€™s information. He enlisted that summer.
After finally becoming old enough, Oâ€™Neal told her brother she still wanted to enlist.
â€œâ€™Donâ€™t do itâ€™ he told me. And can you guess why?â€ Oâ€™Neal asked her audience. â€œIt was because he knew how women in the Corps were treated at that time.â€
Oâ€™Neal enlisted anyway, and has risen to the top of the enlisted ranks, and will soon become the sergeant major for the Inspector General of the Marine Corps.
â€œI want all of you to see what youâ€™re capable of,â€ said Oâ€™Neal, pointing to the several senior enlisted women in the room. â€œYou young Marines, both men and women, are the future of the Corps.â€
After the presentations, there were small group discussions, each led by a female senior enlisted Marine.
â€œThis is what the Corps is,â€ said Oâ€™Neal to her group. â€œA brotherhood, a sisterhood. Without this, the Corps wouldnâ€™t be what it is today. I guarantee that at some point, youâ€™ll need one another, and you have to be there for each other.â€