Waldorf Native Trains to be a U.S. Marine Corps Warfighter

November 8, 2023

Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Patricia Elkins,
Navy Office of Community Outreach

Marines are some of the most highly-trained people on the planet, according to military officials, and this training requires highly-dedicated instructors.

At Marine Aviation Training Support Squadron 1 (MATSS-1), located at Naval Air Station Meridian, Mississippi, instructors teach Marines to be combat-ready warfighters, while providing the tools and opportunities for continuous learning and development.

Pfc. Danae Ward, a native of Waldorf, Maryland, is a student at MATSS-1, learning the necessary skills needed to be an aviation support equipment manager.

“I’ll be responsible for ensuring that my Marine Corps Aviation Squadron has all the required support equipment and specific items needed that are required to perform maintenance on aircraft and ensure they can continue flying and complete their missions,” said Ward.

Ward, a 2022 graduate of Northpoint High School, joined the Marine Corps 11 months ago.

“Although I was thinking of talking to an Air Force recruiter first, I joined the Marine Corps because it looked more tempting,” said Ward “The camaraderie that I saw from Marines acting like a family, even when they just met each other, convinced me to talk to a Marine recruiter instead.”

Ward relies upon skills and values similar to those found in Waldorf to succeed in the military.

“My mother taught me self-reliance and self-discipline,” said Ward. “These values have helped me since I enlisted in the Marines.”

MATSS-1 Meridian is committed to developing dedicated and motivated Marines. Following boot camp, they provide entry-level “A” school training to students in administration and supply occupational specialties.

With 90% of global commerce traveling by sea and access to the internet relying on the security of undersea fiber optic cables, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity of the United States is directly linked to trained sailors and a strong Navy.

Serving in the Marine Corps means Ward is part of a team that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.

“The Marine Corps is important to national defense because we are the first ones to respond in any crisis,” said Ward. “If we weren’t there, no one else would be.”

Ward has many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during military service.

“My proudest accomplishment is graduating boot camp and earning the title of United States Marine,” said Ward.

As Ward and other Marines continue to perform missions, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Marine Corps.

“Serving in the Marines means being wherever I am needed, doing things that others are not willing to do and always giving my best in everything I do,” said Ward.

Ward is grateful to others for helping make a career possible in the Marine Corps.

“I would like to thank my boyfriend,” added Ward. “During the whole journey in boot camp, he provided me with love and support and was my ‘why’ to keep going.”