Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C. --
Earning the title of U.S. Marine is no easy task. The Marine Corps combat mindset and grueling recruit training sets Marines apart from other branches. Marines are more than their motivation, swagger and uniform, they have their own culture. For Pfc. Rycen Yaban, a Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training (CNATT) student at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Cherry Point, North Carolina, it was the challenge and dedication of earning the title U.S. Marine that inspired her to enlist.
Out of high school, Yaban wanted to travel and see more of the world before going to college. She was raised by parents who worked in the medical field, and knew how stressful college could be. She wanted to follow in her parents footsteps, but a conversation with a recruiter influenced her to choose the Marine Corps.
Intrigued by the challenge and journey to become a Marine, Yaban enlisted despite many saying she wouldn’t make it. She wasn’t interested in any of the jobs her recruiter offered, until he suggested communication navigation cryptographic countermeasures technician. Yaban persisted, finished recruit training and Marine combat training, then made her way to Pensacola, Florida, for her Military Occupation Specialty school.
Yaban never expected to be put in a leadership role while attending her second schoolhouse at CNATT. Her initiative and attention to detail instantly set her apart from her peers. Yaban quickly became the class leader of intermediate level avionics class, much to her surprise.
“She’s a great student,” said Sgt. LeSean Neely, a CNATT Instructor. “When she first got here we did have a hiccup with the entire class but she was the one to kind of lead them and show them, ‘this is what we should be doing.’”
As a class leader, Yaban went above and beyond to set the example and motivate the Marines to her left and right. She asked questions, took notes and encouraged her fellow Marines to do the same.
So far, Yaban has been stationed along the Gulf Coast and East Coast, and is excited to travel and see more as she advances in her career. She’s heading to Camp Pendleton, California, in May to enter the fleet and use what she learned at CNATT to pave her way in the Marine Corps.
“I know it’s a competition to exceed your peers,” Yaban said. “I want to see what I can do in my career, and I know there’s a lot of challenges with it.”