MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE --
For the first time in 2nd Tank Battalion, 2nd Marine Division history, a field grade officer billet is being filled by a female.
After her promotion from lieutenant to lieutenant commander, Shannon Stout officially became the first female in 2nd Tanks to complete this feat Sept. 4, 2013, aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.
Navy Lt. Cmdr. Shannon Stout, from Sarasota, Fla., holds the billet of battalion medical officer, better known to some as the battalion surgeon.
“It’s exciting to be the first female medical (field grade) officer with 2nd Tank Battalion, and I am honored to be holding the plank with some other outstanding female Marines and sailors that were also part of the women in combat integration,” Stout said.
Stout began this unique journey more than a decade ago while attending the University of North Carolina Wilmington in 2000. Stout was enrolled in a medical school preparatory class when she met a female Navy corpsman.
“We were on a sailboat during sailing class and she was telling me about the amazing opportunities in traveling and the amazing things she had done in the Navy,” Stout said. “So I decided as a travel-happy person that the Navy would be a great marriage of both wanting to do medicine and also being able to be in a service role.”
Hearing about the opportunities the Navy could provide her was just one of the reasons she decided to join.
While applying to medical school, Stout found her second reason to join the Navy. On Sept. 11, 2001 the World Trade Center was attacked, which solidified her decision to join the Navy.
Stout stayed in school despite the attacks and continued on to graduate from UNCW three months later.
Stout felt a strong desire to help and couldn’t seem to get away from it. She began attending the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, Md. in 2002 after being accepted.
“June of 2003 is when I commissioned as an Ensign. From there I was in medical school in Bethesda for four years. Upon graduation in May of 2007 I was commissioned again as a Lieutenant,” Stout said.
Stout has been with Tanks for more than one year as the battalion surgeon and really enjoys being with the unit.
“It is the most fun, the most rewarding and the most frustrating thing I have ever done,” Stout said as she shook her head and chuckled.
With Stout’s experience from working in 2nd Tank Bn., she hopes to mentor female medical officers as they continue to join the ground combat element.
“They have brought a couple of female medical officers to Division, so I am no longer the only one; being able to help mentor and guide them and help them understand just some of the things I’ve gone through, the growing pains, because I know where they are coming from their first months here being a Navy physician,” Stout said.
Although Stout has not been deployed yet she hopes to ultimately work for disaster relief and humanitarian missions.
“Another reason I joined the Navy was because of the unique capability of the Navy and Marine Corps team to provide necessary and timely support in crisis.”
Stout is proud to be the first female field grade officer with 2nd Tanks, but she still holds true to her belief in serving the Marines and sailors.
“It’s an honor to be the first field grade officer,” Stout added. “But I still very much see my role as being in support of the warfighters and in support of 2nd Tank Battalion.”