MCRD PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. --
On October 24, 2021, 18-year old Kylie Hathaway shipped out to Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego from North Manchester, Ind. to begin her journey of becoming a United States Marine. After 48 training days, and two weeks shy of becoming a Marine her training was abruptly halted when Hathaway fractured her tibia.
Hathaway was then placed in recovery at MCRD San Diego for two weeks. Female recruits who are injured on the west coast are required to be transported to Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, where the fully-female recovery platoon exists, which became her reality on January 12, 2022.
After spending three months in the Female Recovery Platoon (FRP), Hathaway was cleared to return to training with Echo Company, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion on training day 30 on April 11, 2022. From grass week to the end of the crucible, Hathaway persevered through her changing environments and circumstances to earn her Eagle, Globe, and Anchor on May 14, 2022.
During her tenure in FRP, Hathaway worked hard to make sure she never lost her motivation to heal and re-enter training. She took it upon herself to make sure the recruits around her also didn’t lose their drive.
She credits much of this motivation to the drill instructors in charge of her care throughout her training journey. Sgt. Cheyenna L. Natonabah, from FRP, particularly stood out for Hathaway.
“There are always recruits who want to do better,” Natonabah said. “Hathaway actually did better.”
Hathaway always felt well supported and encouraged during her time in FRP, and even as a Marine now, she still feels the impact Sgt. Natonabah left on her.
“Drill Instructor Sgt. Natonabah never ever treated me like I was broken beyond repair,” Hathaway said. “She still treated me like I was a recruit in training and like I was still able to do what I needed to do, and I loved her for that.”
All of Hathaway’s instructors played a part in getting her recovered and to where she is now, as well as instilling strong Marine Corps values into her from the very beginning. From her San Diego instructors inspiring her to be the best recruit and aspiring Marine she could be, to her FRP instructors not giving up on her recovery, to her last senior drill instructor pushing her hard as she has experienced the same injury; every drill instructor has been a prime example of the high standard Marines are held to for Hathaway.
“My drill instructors in San Diego, and my Drill Instructors here-they’re badass,” Hathaway said. “They’re amazing women. They’re strong and independent and I want to be like them. They all hold themselves to the highest standard and they held me to that standard too. They’ve never let my injury be the thing that holds me back.”
Hathaway graduated on May 27, 2022 as the guide and honor graduate of her platoon.