Signs welcomed 18 year old Erica Natalie home to Webster, NY for a sweet reunion with family and friends.
Private Natalie left as a civilian and comes home as a United States Marine, "I always wanted to serve my country growing up but I didn't know exactly what that meant," said Private Natalie, USMC, "and then I saw Marines and the way they carry themselves, and that's what I wanted to be."
Thirteen weeks of boot camp prepared Private Natalie to serve her country. Her service comes at a time when the Ukraine is in crisis and the president of Afghanistan is calling on the United States to pull troops out, "I have to admit I've always been one to watch the news and say oh well, you know," said Erica's grandmother, Catherine Malin, "but now it's a little bit more important." Erica's grandfather, Lou Malin, added, "being a female odds are she's not going to be in a combat situation, but still you never know, and the world has gotten so crazy lately you just hope for the best."
Private Natalie says she has a more intense interest in foreign affairs, studying up on the situation between the Ukraine and Russia as soon as she could, "our senior drill instructor told us a little bit about what was going on but obviously we couldn't find out for ourselves," said Private Natalie, "but I actually Googled it last night to find out what was going on."
Private Natalie won't be home long, she'll leave for more training next week. She'll be in North Carolina for four weeks of Marine Combat Training and then she'll get her permanent assignment.