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Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force

Integrated Task Force sailor focuses on earning Fleet Marine Force qualification

By | | September 16, 2014

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Petty Officer  3rd Class Heather A. Holcomb is a 20-year-old corpsman from Janesville, Wisconsin. She is among the sailors within the Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force currently training to earn the Fleet Marine Force qualification pin, and with it, sharpened skills that will better support the unit.

Her motivation for a life in the military stemmed from a desire to see new places and meet people.

"I was born and raised in Wisconsin, and never moved out of there,” Holcomb said. “Consistency was a big part of my life with my parents and sisters.”

Holcomb claimed that as she grew older, she sought to embrace life outside of where she lived by leading a life with the Navy.

“Growing up, I felt I needed to change,” Holcomb said. “I wanted a life that wasn’t so consistent, and I knew the military had that life.”

Among her more profound experiences with the Navy since her enlistment in 2012 included visiting Spain, which for her developed an appreciation of international culture.

“Seeing how other cultures live their lives was interesting,” Holcomb said. “In joining, I feel I have become more open-minded. I see that just because our culture does not do something, it does not mean that method does not work.”

Holcomb also claims that her years living in Wisconsin limited her interaction with people with various personalities, and now sees the diversity of the military as source of knowledge and growth.

 “Growing up in a small town, I wasn’t really exposed to interacting with so many different people,” Holcomb said. “I now realize how diverse both our nation and the military are and it is a good thing because there are many things to learn.”

Holcomb has also been able to achieve her professional goals through her duties as a corpsman, and continues to make progress on earning her FMF qualification pin.

“I have learned so much about the medical field,” Holcomb said. “I had always held an interest in it, which was why I chose to become a corpsman.”

She looks forward to fulfilling her goal of earning the coveted FMF pin, and taking on the challenges that the mission of the GCEITF will bring, feeling a sense of preparation from overcoming professional and personal obstacles in the past.

“I feel that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” Holcomb said. “I may have struggled in the past, but my struggles might be minute compared to someone else. I like to think that if the glass is half-empty, how can we fill it?”

From October 2014 to July 2015, the Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force will conduct individual and collective skills training in designated combat arms occupational specialties in order to facilitate the standards based assessment of the physical performance of Marines in a simulated operating environment performing specific ground combat arms tasks.


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