March 13, 2014 --
Sgt. Stephanie Bowens, postal clerk, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, has shown her leadership abilities throughout her military career.
After arriving at her first duty station in Iwakuni, Japan, she was among the most junior Marines in her office.
“I was older than most of the people in my office,” Bowens said. “But as a lance corporal, I was among the lowest ranking persons. I really didn’t like that.”
Bowens immediately went to work to change her status. After proving her work ethic to her senior leaders, Bowens was nominated to compete for a Meritorious Corporal Board.
“It was very hard because I was studying for that and studying for my college classes and trying to maintain my regular duties as a Marine,” she said. “It was very stressful.”
Although it was a demanding time for Bowens, she prepared diligently and won the title.
Just a few months later, Bowens was approached again to compete for Noncommissioned Officer of the Quarter.
“I thought, ok, I can do this, I’ve just got to prepare,” she said.
She explained that being the only female competing for the title, she felt the male Marines discounted her ability.
When the time came for the board, Bowens said she opted to not engage in the idle conversation the other participants were having, but to isolate herself. She said her approach was to mentally prepare and review questions.
“It’s how I get into the zone,” she said. “The others were giving me a hard time about not hanging out with them, but I was on a mission.”
Bowens’ strategy was effective, as she won once again.
Bowens left Iwakuni, Japan, with additional rank and the Noncommissioned Officer of the Quarter title.
When she arrived at MCLB Albany, she wasted no time showing her leadership abilities. Bowens was quickly nominated as president of the Single Marines Program. She has dedicated more than 330 hours of service to the program in addition to volunteering with the local Boys Club and Girls, Inc.
When The Emblem was in need of an additional writer, Col. Don Davis, commanding officer, MCLB Albany, recommended Bowens to fill the position.
“Bowens hit the ground running when she got here,” Davis said. “Because she is so articulate and smart, I thought it was an awesome opportunity for her to come over to public affairs.”
Bowens rendered the knowledge obtained from her Bachelor of Arts English degree she earned from Nazareth College, Rochester, N.Y., to the office. Bowens wrote for the base newspaper approximately five months.
As at her previous duty station, Bowens’ superiors suggested she compete for Noncommissioned Officer of the Quarter for MCLB Albany. She accepted the challenge and immediately went to work to prepare for the board.
“I went to Covella Pond and marched a fellow Marine around in the dark like she was an entire platoon.” Bowens said. “I worked so hard to make sure I was ready. When I didn’t win, I was devastated. I wanted it so badly. I am very competitive, I hate to lose.”
She said she made peace with the loss by telling herself, “next time.”
Bowens’ “next time” came a few months later when she competed for Noncommissioned Officer of the Quarter again.
This time, her determination and hard work earned her the win. She took the title for the second quarter, 2013.
Not letting the dust settle, two weeks later, Bowens competed for and won Marine Corps Installations East Meritorious Sergeant Board in May 2013.
A desire to be the leader among leaders, Bowens competed for the Noncommissioned Officer of the Year title for fiscal year 2013.
“I was really nervous,” she said. “This was the big league.”
After long hours of studying and preparing for the title, she once again emerged victorious.
Bowens concedes competing for board titles is very time consuming and requires a lot of dedication and hard work, but she loves to not just compete but to win them.
“I never want to be a failure,” she said. “I always want to do my best. I want to be a good example for junior Marines who may be watching me.”
Lance Cpl. Shada’ Middleton, postal clerk, MCLB Albany, is one junior Marine watching her. She referred to Bowens as an “awesome leader.”
Middleton revealed Bowens concern and care is not limited to duty hours. She has made it clear I can call her anytime.
“She has proven those are not just words, but something I can depend on,” Middleton said. “Every morning she makes sure I have a ride to and from the barracks; she really looks out for me.
“That means a lot when you are in a new place and you don’t really know anyone,” she added.
From junior Marines to senior leadership, Bowens receives high regard.
Staff Sgt. Daniel Walters, company gunnery sergeant, Headquarters Company, MCLB Albany, said, Bowens, “is the epitome of a Marine noncommissioned officer with all the intelligence and qualities that will continue to lead her to success.”
Walter is also Bowens’ staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge.