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.
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.”
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
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.
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.
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'
“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
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.
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.”
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.”
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
“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
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