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“I don’t approve of female Marines,” Captain Boller said at the Newark, Delaware Marine Officer Selection Office. His thick arms nearly burst of out of his blue dress “D” uniform that day in June. A bulldog named Pappy circled the desk and chair where the Boller sat. Tymeeka Timmons leaned back in her chair.
“Are you supposed to be saying things like that? I mean at this point and time?” Tymeeka asked. Her oval brown face showed deep concern.
“It’s a known fact. Women Marines are slower, weaker, and less adept at leadership skills. I said that I don’t approve of them not that I don’t approve them.”
“So what you’re saying is that a woman can become a Marine but no matter how swift, thoughtful, and battle ready she is, she can only be seen as less than?”
Pappy circled Boller’s feet. “I’m saying that yes, you have qualifications. You spent four years at New Sweden studying avionics and aerial maneuvers. That’s great. We don’t have to worry about any tattoo waivers. You check out. But I’m just preparing you for the harsh reality that the woman Marine officer faces in the Corps. You’re going to be leading enlisted Marines and taking on the role of potentially piloting multi-million dollar aircraft.”
“I intend to fly in a White Top for the President of the United States,” Tymeeka said, her head slightly canted upward.
“Look, I’m not trying to discourage you. My boss is a female Marine. She’s a major. Major Lana Dell. She’s out now involved in delivering advanced training for enlisted recruits. I just don’t see the purpose of women Marines, even if I have to answer to them,” Boller said.
“I can go to write my hundred word essay and submit my photo just like my male counterparts. I can handle the mental and physical rigors that go along with life in OCS. I’m more than prepared to meet those challenges.”
“But you’re still a woman. Major Dell is one of a handful of officers based in Delaware. Certainly this Marine outpost. Look, you’re better off just flying for a commercial airline or as a private jet pilot.”
“But I don't want that. I want to be a Marine.”
“And I’m fighting for world peace. That’s kind of the reason we need a Corps in the first place," Boller said.
Tymeeka never backed down from this onslaught. “I received my degree. I have studied the literature and history of the United States Marine Corps. I have invested time in physical training, I’ve gone to the range…”
“The range? So you can shoot?”
“I’ve gotten three possibles in just a few weeks of firing.”
Boller looked genuinely impressed for a half of a second. He then leveled into Tymeeka.
“What about your ability to guide Marines fresh out of boot camp? Will you be able to take on nearly a hundred Marines as a second lieutenant? Will you be able to motivate and fortify the Marines under your charge?”
“Why else would I come to this office?”
Captain Boller smirked and nodded. “I see that you’ve got tenacity, that’s a good quality. But I’m just preparing you for the double fight.”
“The double fight?”
“The fight that goes with the life of a Marine and that of being a woman. You will be scrutinized, criticized, and held to a higher standard as a Marine. As a woman, it may be twice as hard for you to raise through the ranks, find leadership roles, and outpace men Marines on the range, in PFT, and other qualifications.”
“And I’m telling you, sir, that I am more than capable of entering into the world of honor and pride. I am more than able to recognize the facts of life in the greatest fighting force in the world.”
“You’ve convinced me of the fact that you can do this. I don’t like signing up females, but if you’re anything like Major Dell, which you’ve indicated only a slice of what she is, you might have a chance.”
“Thank you,” Tymeeka said. Pappy wrapped himself around Tymeeka’s leg and rested. “Great dog,” she said.