Marine Corps Helps Young Woman Find Her Voice
by U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Bernadette Plouffe
“I was sexually assaulted when I was 8 years old,” said Lance
Cpl. Jacqueline Kliewer.
Kliewer is 19 years old and a
native of San Diego, where she grew up with her brother and parents
in their family home.
Her life changed when she was only 8
years old. Her innocence and confidence were taken from her.
“Throughout my life I would question or doubt , because of what
he did,” said Kliewer. “I was so young and didn’t understand.”
Kliewer said she never really understood what happened or why
and always blamed herself… until now.
(right) met Sgt.
Jennifer Bragg, a recruiter with Recruiting Sub-Station Poway,
during her senior year of high school. Kliewer’s band teacher helped
schedule a meeting and from then on their bond and sisterhood was
“My relationship with her was both inspiring and a blessing,”
said Kliewer. “She taught me both her passion for the Marine Corps
and her passion as a recruiter. She went above and beyond with and
Sgt. Bragg helped her grow and mature into the young
woman she is today stated Kliewer.
Kliewer had a few
obstacles on her way to earning the title United States Marine. She
had to lose 20 pounds, increase her physical fitness scores, and
practice her tuba to earn her spot in the Musician Enlistment Option
“They encouraged me every day and constantly
noticed my progress, physically and mentally,” said Kliewer. “They
always kept me in check with my goals and future.”
getting prepared for the Marine Corps, she was battling a situation
at home, as well. For eleven months Kliewer was living on her own.
“I worked a part time job at a frozen yogurt store,” said
Kliewer. “I relied on tips and paychecks to pay for food and things
Although she was able to stay with a friend, this
was a dark time for Kliewer. She had to dig deep and remember what
she was striving for.
“What kept me going was the finish
line,” said Kliewer. “Going to boot camp, graduating, and starting
my career at such a young age was what I kept in mind. My goal of
becoming a Marine kept me going.”
Kliewer graduated from
Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island in South Carolina on
January 3, 2020, from Platoon 4001, Papa Company, 4th Recruit
Training Battalion. Her family was hand-in-hand watching her walk
across the parade deck, beaming with pride and love for their
January 2, 2020 - Marine Corps Pfc. Jacqueline Kliewer, a Marine musician, with her family at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island. Kliewer had many obstacles on her way to earning the title United States Marine, but now Kliewer has strength and confidence to overcome anything. (Courtesy
photo by Pfc. Jacqueline Kliewer's family)
I gained so much confidence and found inner strength during
recruit training, recalled Kliewer. She found her voice.
Marine Corps has helped me to speak out about the sexual assault
that happened to me when I was younger,” said Kliewer. “If my drill
instructors had not instilled the courage and strength they did in
boot camp, I wouldn’t have found my strength and I wouldn’t have
Now, Kliewer wants to help
other victims find their voices and help be an advocate.
“Many people don’t have the strength to speak up yet,” said Kliewer.
“Some people tell me that I help them to not feel alone, others
thank me for just bringing awareness, and others find me as someone
to look up to and it brings them courage and strength.”
only has she created a support network for victims or those who also
advocate for sexual assault awareness, her relationship with her own
family has strengthened and grown since she has joined the Marine
Kliewer did not let her sexual assault hold her back.
Through the Marine Corps and her mentors she has found strength,
inspiration and motivation to continue to better herself.
am grateful for the process of becoming a Marine and to reach this
point,” said Kliewer. “It helped me understand the depth of being a
Marine, but also has made me exceptionally grateful for being a
musician and being able to play in honor of those who made the
ultimate sacrifice as well as for those who are serving today.”
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