MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
When many young men and women attend basic training to become Marines, they might take some personal effects with them, such as writing material or a bible. However, there are some things that should just not be taken to boot camp.
“As rumor has it, she brought a bathing suit to boot camp with her,” said Lt. Col. Chris Hughes, deputy director of Marine Corps Public Affairs. “It was even said to be a two-piece.”
The woman Hughes was speaking about was Chief Warrant Officer 3 Lina Wall, deputy director of the Installation Personnel Administration Center aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, and the event he was speaking at was her retirement ceremony at the 2nd Marine Logistics Group amphitheater, April 29.
Wall, who has served on active duty for the past 25 years, has had a military career that has not only taken her across the world but also through a wide variety of assignments. From her first assignment as a commanding officer’s driver to her most recent position as deputy director of IPAC as well as the officer in charge of both the Command Support Branch and the Customer Service Branch, overseeing thousands of Marines and civilians.
“I’ve been coast-to-coast as well as overseas many times - Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Iraq,” said Wall. “But what matters in one’s career is the Marines next to them and their families and friends to support them, and I’ve been lucky enough to have all of that.”
Ruston is a small slice of Louisiana’s northern territory, notable for only a few country singers and a score of minor National Football League players. Wall, like many young men and women fresh out of high school, longed to travel the world and experience new and foreign things - the military would make that happen.
“For anyone who knows Lina, she hates having to wait in line,” said Hughes. “She had originally wanted to join the Air Force, but their line was a little too long for her. The Marine Corps line was shorter.”
From her enlistment in 1986, Wall quickly made a name for herself in many facets of personal achievement, most notably as becoming the Marine Corps Institute Graduate of the Year in 1992 for completing 350 MCI’s in one calendar year. Five years later Wall was selected for Warrant Officer, never relenting in her quest for self-improvement.
“That reflects who she is, her tenacity in constantly bettering herself,” said Hughes. “If you wanted something done, tell Line it couldn’t be done. That’s how I can best describe what sort of Marine and what sort of person she is.”
Twenty-five years after bringing a two-piece bathing suit to Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, Wall found herself before a number of family and friends, receiving a certificate of appreciation from the president of the United States and wearing her desert camouflage utilities for one last time.
“People say I will miss the Marine Corps, but what I will miss most is my fellow Marines and the extended family I got from it,” said Wall. “And although I will no longer wear this uniform, I will continue to carry the title of Marine.”
Although another member of the Marine Corps family steps down from active duty, that member is not stepping down without leaving her mark upon those she has worked with over the years. If there is one thing that can be taken away from Wall, it is that no matter what obstacle is placed before you, it can be overcome. As Sir Thomas Buxton, a 19th century member of the British Parliament, once said, “With ordinary talent and extraordinary perseverance, all things are attainable.”