Archive for Wednesday, September 26, 2001

McLouth woman prepares for entry into U.S. Navy

September 26, 2001

Cammie Marceaux, McLouth, enlisted in the Navy on Aug. 21 and was set to enter the military on Oct. 1.

But plans have changed. She'll be leaving for boot camp in Hawaii tonight or Thursday.

Marceaux said she's not sure whether the earlier start is because of national events after terrorist attacks on two U.S. cities. But the 30-year-old has some concern for her family.

"It hasn't scared me," Marceaux said. "It scares me for my family. I could be deployed to a ship, could be on a base. I have no clue at this point."

Marceaux's family will stay near McLouth while she is in the service. Her husband, Michael, who is a crane operator with Vincent Roofing, will care for Kari, 12, and Kaytlynn, 11.

Many people have questioned Marceaux's decision to enter the service now, but she said she is providing for her family. Michael was injured on the job in February, but is working again.

"People say 'you're abandoning your kids,'" Marceaux said.

Instead, Marceaux said she's providing for her daughters' college educations because of anticipated benefits through the GI Bill.

And she said she's helping her country.

"All those people who say, 'what can we do?'" Marceaux said. "I'm doing what I think I can do."

Marceaux originally planned to join the Army 10 years ago, but said a recruiter wanted her to sign custody of Kari and Kaytlynn to her parents. She refused.

"I had two children and was married then and I'm married now," Marceaux said.

This time, though, Marceaux found an ad in the classifieds for a job that made no mention of the Navy. When she called, it was a Navy recruiter, and no custody arrangements were discussed.

Ironically, Marceaux had a fear of the ocean, but she conquered the phobia on a trip to Florida earlier this year.

Now Marceaux will enter the Navy as an E-3 seaman because of college credits she has accumulated. She has pursued four degrees in four years at Kansas City Kansas Community College. Most people entering the Navy start as an E-1, and that level, along with E-2, usually take nine months each to finish.

Marceaux plans to apply for a seven-week master-at-arms program in San Antonio.

For now, the timeline isn't definite. When the events of Sept. 11 occurred, Marceaux said she was mentally prepared for the possibility of war. Although her entry into the military was accelerated, she never changed her mind about enlisting. She'll be in Hawaii, where her late father fought at Pearl Harbor during World War II in the Army.

"I think everyone should go enlist," Marceaux said. "I'm risking my life to save my kids."

Commenting has been disabled for this item.