Marine Corps is one, big, happy family

28 Jun 2001 | Lance Cpl. Paula M. Fitzgerald

Many Marines refer to the Corps as a "band of brothers" because of the camaraderie Marines share with one another.  But for two computer programmers with Headquarters and Support Battalion, 2nd Force Service Support Group here, the Corps is more like a "band of sisters."

"I actually wanted to join the Army because my sister was in the Marine Corps, but I didn't feel that the Army recruiters represented themselves well," said 18-year-old Lance Cpl. Melissa J. Huss.  "I wanted to do something good with my life, and I thought the Marines was the way to go."

Melissa's older sister, 20-year-old Lance Cpl. Nicole M. Huss, joined the Marine Corps Aug. 2, 1999.  "I've always been interested in computers, so I wanted to work with them while I served in the military," Nicole said.

After attending Marine Corps Communications and Electronics school at Twentynine Palms, Calif., Nicole was ordered to report here for duty.

A year later, Melissa enlisted into the Corps under an open contract, meaning the Marine Corps would select her Military Occupational Specialty.

In many ways, Melissa and Nicole believe they are alike.  The Rockford, Ill., natives both wear the same uniform size and style their hair the same way for work.   However, Melissa admitted that working with computers was not on the top of the list of jobs she was originally interested in when she enlisted.  But, her Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery Test scores showed that Melissa might do well in the computer field.

"I don't mind my job as much as I thought I might.  I like it because I really like the office and the people I work with," said Melissa.

Upon completion of the same MOS school Nicole had attended a year earlier, Melissa was given the opportunity to select from a list of duty stations.  Camp Lejeune was among the choices.

"I picked here because I thought it'd be a great opportunity to work with my sister," Melissa said. "Plus, my two best friends are stationed here."

When Melissa arrived here, she reported for duty in the same office as Nicole.  Not only was Melissa sent to work alongside her sister day-after-day, she was also assigned to the same barracks room as her sister because there were no other rooms available.

Although they work in the same office and have the same MOS, they work on different sides of computer programming, according to Staff Sgt. Gildo D. Cabrera, 2d FSSG G-6 programming chief.

"Both are great Marines and are proficient at their respective jobs.  Nicole is in the application development section, and Melissa is on the web development side," said Cabrera.  "By virtue of the MOS, it is a constantly changing field.  Both have adapted well and learn the 'latest and greatest.'"

Even though the sisters work and live together, they still act professionally while on the job.  "During working hours, the Huss' address each other by their respective ranks.  There isn't a problem with any kind of family bickering or even the seniority question.  If something needs to get done, it gets done - period," said Cabrera.

The sisters both keep busy by volunteering for various community services. 
Nicole donates her time at Berkeley Manor Elementary.  "Whenever the opportunity to volunteer comes up, I try to do it.  I help the teacher out any way I can.  Sometimes I cut up cotton balls for projects, or I listen to the students read.  I do whatever task I can help with."

Every Monday and Saturday, Melissa volunteers with the Young Marines program at Camp Johnson.  She teaches future Marines drill, Marine Corps knowledge, and customs and courtesies.

Currently, Nicole is attending Coastal Carolina Community College, the same college Melissa plans to attend this coming fall.

"I'm really glad Melissa was able to come here because it's nice having someone I can trust to talk to.  Contrary to what many people may believe, we never fight or argue," stated Nicole.