MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. -- A former Albany-based humanitarian aid worker recently traded in her coveralls for a new set of work clothes - digital camouflage. Kelly Chase, a Davis, Calif., native graduated as a private first class from 4th Battalion, Platoon 4023 aboard Parris Island, S.C., Aug. 5.
Chase, who is currently continuing her basic military training at Marine Combat Training in Camp Lejeune, N.C., built houses in low-income areas of Albany with Americorps’ Habitat for Humanity program between 2003 and 2004 before enlisting. During her stay in Albany Chase met Marines stationed aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, and credits them with helping steer her toward a career in the military.
“While I was in Albany building houses with Habitat (for Humanity) I made friends with some of the Marines who came out in town on the weekends. The first thing I noticed was their camaraderie and I wanted to be a part of that,” said Chase.
After finishing her Americorps contract in 2004 Chase moved back to California with plans to continue her college education. However, a lack of finances and a growing interest in world exploration led Chase to seek a different path.
“I signed up for Americorps because I wanted to travel and see the world,” said Chase. “I chose the Habitat for Humanity program, which gave me the opportunity to work in Albany, but when I finished my contract I ended up right back at home where I started. I realized that if I wanted to really make a difference, I was going to have to continue to challenge myself, and from the Marines I had met in Albany, joining the Corps seemed like the perfect way to do that.”
According to Chase, the only obstacle standing in the way of her decision to enlist was finding a military occupational specialty that she would enjoy.
“Writing has always been something I wanted to pursue in school, so when I heard that there was a job in the Marine Corps where I could get journalism training and put my writing ability to use, I made my decision,” said Chase.
Chase will certainly have something to “write” home about in the upcoming years. As part of her military training she will attend the Basic Journalist Course at the Defense Information School aboard Fort George G. Meade, Md. Upon successful completion of the course, Chase hopes to join the ranks of Ernie Pyle and other combat correspondents who have told the Marine Corps story from the island hopping campaigns of World War II to the sands of Iraq today.
“I know I still have a lot to learn, but I’m ready for the challenge. I’m looking forward to finishing my training so I can get out into the fleet as a combat correspondent and do my job,” said Chase.