Sgt. Maj. Bonnie L. Skinner, the sergeant major of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar and a Quincy, Mass., native, plays with Cpl. Molly, her dog, in her office aboard MCAS Miramar, Calif., March 15, 2013. Skinner adopted Molly while she was stationed in Hawaii. Photo by USMC Lance Cpl. Raquel Barraza
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. – An eight-year-old girl looks at her father and knows she wants to be just like him, a United States Marine. Now, that same girl is the sergeant major of an installation, in charge of more than 15,000 Marines and sailors.
Sgt. Maj. Bonnie L. Skinner, the sergeant major of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar and a Quincy, Mass., native, worked hard to reach where she is now.
With her father being a former Marine and police officer, she grew up learning about the Corps.
“The group I was around was nothing but Marines and police officers who were former Marines,” said Skinner. “Every time that I was at a function or around them of course the 'Marines' Hymn' played. They would stand at attention so I would stand at attention.”
Anxious to join, she began to make contact with a recruiter when she was only 16 years old. Back then, there was no delayed entry program but the recruiters kept in contact with her and her family over the next two years, explained Skinner.
In 1985, Skinner left for recruit training and her family knew she was going to have a hard time with the drill instructors.
“As a teenager she was a little bit of a handful,” said Ginni Skinner, mother of Bonnie Skinner and a Carver, Mass., native. “She never liked being told what to do.”
Skinner always looks for the opportunity to lead and that is why every time she moves up she is looking for added responsibilities, explained Ginni Skinner.