They may be the few and the proud, but in the case of women Marines, they are the very few. With the release of its newest TV commercial, the U.S. Marine Corps is making a concerted effort to recruit women into their ranks.
Set to release Friday, the ad features Marine Capt. Erin Demchko, a deputy commander based at Camp Courtney in Okinawa, Japan, is part of the Corps campaign to change the Corps’ traditionally male-dominated image. Entitled “Battle Up,” the commercial features a young girl interceding on behalf of another girl who is being bullied. The audience follows the same girl as she grows up, plays on a rugby team and eventually trains as a Marine. Meant to demonstrate how the fighting spirit is something women carry with them from youth to the Corps, the ad is described as being, “targeted at young women who are seeking a way to challenge themselves.”
Women make up only 8.3 percent of Marine Corps service members. While the Corps is the smallest military service with only 183,000 members, the Corps is hoping that by 2019, women will represent at least 10 percent of their numbers.
Amid recent scandals surrounding the release of nude photos coupled with competition from other branches of the military and low unemployment rates, the Marines Corps leaders understand that they aren’t going to be able to change the military branch’s image overnight. “We’re facing headwinds now that we didn’t have even a year ago,” said Maj. Gen. Paul Kennedy, head of the Marine Corps Recruiting Command. “Here’s a train wreck coming for some folks. They’re not getting tail winds that they used to have — the high unemployment, the money that was associated with enlistment bonuses.”
For Capt. Erin Demchko, filming the commercial was an entirely new experience. The crew, which followed her as she went through the Quigley obstacle course at Quantico and waded through icy water at the school for Marine Corps candidates in Virginia, surprised her with their dedication to creating an accurate portrayal of the challenges female Marines face. “I am extremely humbled to be a part of such a big production,” she said. “Professional actors can keep their jobs, though. I’d rather be a Marine.”
Watch the commercial here and see Capt. Demchko in action:
Read the full story at The Associated Press.