First female brig guard promoted to master sergeant

8 Jan 2007 | Cpl. Brandon R. Holgersen

In the history of the Marine Corps Brig guards there has only been one female to reach the rank of master sergeant.

After nearly 19 years of service Pamela Pride, who is charge of the programs section, with Brig Company, Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Base, was promoted to master sergeant at the beginning of the year.

Pride started her career in the Marine Corps as a military policeman in 1988 and after four years made a lateral move to corrections because she wanted to be better rounded. She first joined the Marine Corps because she wanted a change. After being in retail management for a number of years she decided to trade her civilian job for a set of camouflage utilities and a badge.

“I didn’t think it was going to be a career,” said Pride. “Just like everyone else I was planning on doing my four years and get out. I wanted to be a cop”

The 48 year old Morgantown, W.V. native, was one of the first female Marines to come into the corrections field, said Master Gunnery Sgt. Brent Piel, the Brig supervisor, who has known Pride for nearly nine years. She had to prove her mettle in a predominantly male dominated military occupational specialty.

“We would have had to search pretty hard to find a Marine that was more qualified,” said Piel.

As the person in charge of the programs section, Pride is in charge of where prisoners are to be housed, what medical care they might need and also to identify any mental problems a prisoner might have and refer them to the right people when they arrive at the Brig, said Piel. She also acts as a counselor.

Pride has been able to achieve this because she enjoys her job and it gives her an opportunity to help people.

“I like the job, I like what I do and it’s fun,” said Pride. “You do make a difference. They are prisoners and detainees but they are also Marines.”

Pride credits her husband for her achievements. He was a former Marine who has encouraged and supported her in her career.

“My husband got me in the Marine Corps,” said Pride. “He knew I could do it and he has supported me 110 percent. If he had not supported me I probably wouldn’t have made it.”

Pride is married with three children and plans to finish her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Campbell University.