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Women Making History: Retiree transitions from warrior to warfighter-support comrade

By Verda L. Parker | Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany | April 4, 2016


In wrapping up the Women’s History Month series, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany’s spotlight rotates to a retired Marine officer, who has traded in her mud-soaked camouflage warfighter gear for a civil service job, which allows her to still support her comrades from the sideline.

Madeleine Tringali transitioned not too far from her 22-year active-duty career to her current civilian-Marine role as a management and program analyst, Command Operations Directorate, Marine Corps Logistics Command.

Prior to her time in the Marine Corps, Tringali said she had considered joining the Air National Guard to “gain employment,” but her father, who had been a Marine, told her, "Join the Marine Corps, because it's better." So, with that bit of advice, she went to talk with a recruiter and the rest is history.

“I enlisted in the Marine Corps as a reservist," Tringali said. “My intent was to finish the college where I was attending. At that point, where I was in boot camp, I would have had two years (of college) under my belt and I would have had two years left in school.

“I went to boot camp in July 1983,” she recalled. “I was scheduled to return to college in September, but some crazy things happened when I was there for my physical; my shipping date got delayed two months.”

Tringali planned to return to college after boot camp; however, her plans were deferred when the school notified her she would not be allowed to enroll two weeks late for classes. With that, she decided to go ahead and attend her Military Occupational Specialty school, at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Aberdeen, Maryland, to learn to be a small arms repairman.

It was two years later, following in the footsteps of and on the advice of her father, the Nashua, New Hampshire native, began her own 22-year career as one of “The Few, The Proud.”

Tringali discussed her time serving in one of the nation’s fiercest fighting forces – from beginning to end; her experiences as a young Marine and the opportunities as well as some of the challenges she faced.

“I enjoyed serving in the Marine Corps,” she revealed. “When I was a young Marine, it was clear to know what I needed to accomplish in order to be promoted. Physical Fitness Training, rifle range, Marine Corps Instruction courses, proficiency and conduct marks all figured into the cutting score, which was the determining factor of promotion eligibility.

“I had many opportunities,” Tringali added. “I worked hard and took advantage of those opportunities. I liked meeting the challenges placed before me and achieving the goals I set for myself. Once I met those goals, I made new goals and set out to achieve those.”

Throughout her career, Tringali has held a diversity of ranks and titles; however, when she became a commissioned officer, there is one role as “the first” she is particularly proud to have accomplished.

As the adjutant/personnel officer, Command Element, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, she led six Marines and supervised the direct administrative support to 220 Marines assigned to the Command Element and provided indirect support for 2,000 Marines assigned to the 26th MEU. This was a milestone in Tringali’s active-duty career as she was the first female officer selected to serve on a command element staff for an east coast MEU.

Other notable highlights in her career include her serving as the senior administrator for Exercises Dynamic Response and Dynamic Strike -- multinational exercises conducted in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia, and her serving as the headquarters commandant and assistant headquarters commandant for two major exercises. During the planning phase, she served as the headquarters commandant for Exercise Strong Resolve in 1998.

Tringali was the adjutant/series commander/company commander, 4th Recruit Training Battalion, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina, serving as the officer-in-charge and training program administrator in the execution of the Recruit Training Standard Operating Procedures. She supervised roughly 30 drill instructors (staff noncommissioned officers and noncommissioned officers) during this time.

The retired officer offered advice for Marines, particularly women, transitioning from active duty to a “follow-on career” after the Corps.

“(My chosen career) is civil service,” she noted. “I had a broad range of experience, from leading Marines to supervising the training recruits to serving with the 26th MEU. As I was serving in the Marine Corps, I saw the role of women grow as more opportunities became available.

“I was willing to go outside of my comfort zone in order to gain experience,” Tringali explained. “I wanted the quality of my work to define who I was, not being a woman who was doing something out of the norm.

“My best advice (to young Marines) would be to seek opportunity and seize it,” she concluded. “Strive to do the best you can; be professional; seek out a mentor and, if possible, earn your degree or get as much training as you can.”

The United States has observed Women’s History Month during the entire month of March since 1987; however, it is never too late to celebrate women’s contributions to history, culture and society. Read more on women’s contribution to history on the website: http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/womens-history-month.