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Tennessee Marine Continues Family Legacy In Afghanistan
by USMC Cpl. Alfred V. Lopez - March 4, 2012

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U.S. Marine Cpl. Natasha Almeida, an intelligence analyst with 2nd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment currently serving with the Regimental Combat Team 5 civil affairs detachment and 22-year-old native of Piney Flats, Tenn., continues her family’s tradition in the U.S. armed forces. Photo by USMC Cpl. Alfred V. Lopez, Feb. 28, 2012
U.S. Marine Cpl. Natasha Almeida, an intelligence analyst with 2nd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment currently serving with the Regimental Combat Team 5 civil affairs detachment and 22-year-old native of Piney Flats, Tenn., continues her family's tradition in the U.S. armed forces. Photo by USMC Cpl. Alfred V. Lopez, Feb. 28, 2012

 CAMP DWYER, Afghanistan (2/29/2012) – The Marine Corps is rich with tradition. Whenever and wherever Marines are called to arms, they stand fast with their brothers and sisters to continue the tradition of serving their country for the sake of their family and friends.

Corporal Natasha Almeida, an intelligence analyst with 2nd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment currently serving with the Regimental Combat Team 5 civil affairs detachment, honors her own family's tradition of serving in the U.S. military.

Her grandmother, Mildred Morgan, inspired Almeida, a 22-year-old native of Piney Flats, Tenn., to join the Marine Corps. Growing up, Morgan told the young Almeida many stories about women Marines in the 11200's and the “old Corps”.

“When I was little, all my friends wanted to play dress up as princesses or ballerinas,” recalls Almeida, based out of Camp Pendleton, Calif. “I wanted to play dress up in my grandmother's old uniform.”

Her husband is a Marine. Her stepfather and father-in-law are retired U.S. Navy officers. Two of her brothers-in-law and her sister-in-law are Marines... and the list goes on.

As Almeida names the servicemen and servicewomen in her family, it becomes apparent that military service runs in her blood.

“All of my grandparents were Marines,” said Almeida. “Pretty much my entire family was in the service.”

Her passion was fueled even more by a retired gunnery sergeant, her instructor when she joined the Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps.
 

“He took us to field trips to Camp Lejuene and Parris Island,” said Almeida. “I was running obstacle courses and wearing a gas mask at fifteen.”

After graduating from Sullivan East High School in 2007, Almeida shipped off to boot camp in January 2008.

“I couldn't imagine doing anything else after high school,” Almeida said with a smile.

Since joining the Corps, Almeida has been stationed in Okinawa, Japan and Camp Pendleton. She served two consecutive tours on the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit's spring and fall float from August 2009 through April 2010.

While aboard the 31st MEU, Almeida took part in humanitarian assistance, disaster relief efforts in various southeast Asian countries, including aid for two typhoon disasters in the Philippines in 2008 and 2009.

“I've had a great Marine Corps career so far,” said Almeida. “I love being able to experience the culture and also being able to help with humanitarian assistance and aid.”

She currently plays a pivotal role in the development of infrastructure and governance in southern Helmand province. Almeida's work is split between her duties as an intelligence analyst and administrative non commissioned officer for the RCT-5 civil affairs detachment.

“I came out to be a civil affairs analyst for the population,” said Almeida. “I also take care of the administrative side, such as consolidating reports to handling the linguists' pay.”

“Almeida is the ideal Marine to have,” said Gunnery Sgt. James Maxwell, the RCT-5 civil affairs chief. “She makes for a positive environment with her personable attitude, yet is proactive, and gets the job done every time.”

In her spare time, Almeida divides her attention between volunteer work and school. She volunteers with a Girl Scout troop, is currently pursuing an undergraduate certificate in Asian studies, and hopes to get a civilian job involving international affairs.

“I volunteer any time I have free time,” said Almeida. “I've volunteered with UNICEF and I'm a Girl Scout leader. I actually sold Girl Scout cookies out here.”

“I think if she decides to make a career in the Corps, she will do her family and the Corps proud,” said Maxwell. “She will excel and achieve in whatever goals she has.”

During the remainder of her deployment, Almeida will continue her work with the RCT-5 civil affairs detachment to build a better future for the people of southern Helmand. As she continues her Marine Corps career, she hopes that one day, her younger brothers, and even her children, will raise their hands and take the oath to continue their family tradition.

“I never really thought of it as a tradition,” she pondered. “But I have little brothers who already want to join, and I imagine that when I have children, they'll probably want to join too.”

By USMC Cpl. Alfred V. Lopez
Regimental Combat Team-5, 1st Marine Division
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2012

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