CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Tameka Hill worked as a telemarketer during high school with little room for advancement and no money for college. Little did she know, Uncle Sam was looking to hire someone with those very skills.
One year later, Pfc. Hill, a 19-year-old wireman and telephone troubleshooter for 2d Marine
Division now has her college money and her promotion - she's on her way to her third promotion in less than two year's time.
Hill, a Baltimore, Md. native, is the line of communication for the officers during battle, as her job requires her to set up and maintain "comms" between buildings or tents in a command post. This is ultimately important because the Corps will soon take her to Operation Iraqi Freedom early next year where high-ranking Marines will rely on her work to maintain continuity in their planning process. She anticipates that the experience in Iraq will be something that will take her to a new level of professionalism.
"At Randallstown High School I had a problem with authority and a big mouth," said Hill. "Already, I've learned to control myself and listen to the people around me; because, of course, you'll get into serious trouble in the Marine Corps. But also because listening and being more disciplined has helped me to succeed and it's made me a better person on the whole."
Hill is the oldest of three children. She says she helped to raise her brother and sister and helped gave her an appreciation for nurturing. She plans on using her Montgomery G.I. Bill money to go to college to become a pediatric nurse. But for now, she is looking forward to being part of the action in Iraq and doing her job to the best of her abilities.
Although her mindset is in the 'here and now,' she has plans for the future and has a plan of action to fulfill her destiny. She thinks that even though she's a late bloomer for college, she'll have the upper hand when she finally goes because of her experience in the Corps.
"I didn't want to go to college right after high school, but the longer I stay in the Marines where I'm around professional people, the more I want to learn and strive for advancement," said Hill.
When she went to Parris Island Recruit Depot, S.C. to enter boot camp, she distinctly remembered getting off of the bus and standing on the infamous yellow foot prints where recruits line up in their first formation. It was an experience she will take with her always.
"There was just too much confusion," said Hill. "I thought to myself; 'Oh my God. I don't believe I'm actually doing this.'"
Despite her fears, she made it and has an attitude that will help her conquer almost any obstacle. More importantly though, she'll always be able to have something only a few, proud people can claim.
"Owning the title of Marine is very coveted," said Hill. "And no matter what I do from now on, I'll always have that."