From “Latch-Key Kid” to Motivated Marine

Mia Moffett is with her mother Antoinnia Wallace, father Roy Wallace, and wife SSgt Shavonda Moffett. Moffett introduced her wife to her family for the first time. (Photo courtesy of Leroy Williams)

On Sat. Oct. 14 2017, I interviewed my senior drill instructor Gunnery Sergeant (GySgt) Mia Moffett, whom has inspired me since the moment I met her in recruit training in Parris Island, SC four years ago. While I was in Platoon 4020 November Company, GySgt Moffett was the motivational leader I wanted to become throughout my military service.

GySgt Mia Moffett: I grew up as an only child. I think I was pretty much a tomboy and on my own. I was the kid that everyone came to when they had problems. I had a blessed childhood, even though at times I wished it could be different. I had a very religious family, which helped me grow as a woman and as a Marine. I had a lot of cousins and uncles who I played outside with.

But my parents worked a lot so I was one of those “latch key kids,” where I had a key hidden around my neck. I would come home from school, go inside, lock the door, and do my homework. When I was done, I was able to watch TV, but I wouldn’t answer the door for anybody while my parents were away. I think they felt like they had to work a lot so that they could give me more opportunities, but I kind of wished they were at home with me.

In the summertime, I would stay with my grandmother. I loved staying with her because she was pretty much like my second mother.

Moffett’s grandmother Eleanor Thomas is pictured here. (Photo courtesy of Zondria Moore)

Later on in life, I went to high school and college. I played a lot of sports for my parents. I was involved with sports such as track, basketball, softball, and wrestling- you name it, I played it. My parents wanted to keep me physically active and out of trouble.

Moffett attended her high school’s junior prom with her friend Aubrey Paschal, whom she still keeps in touch with. (Photo courtesy of Mia Moffett)

I actually received a college softball scholarship, which I used for four out of the five years given. There was a point where I said to myself, “I don’t want to be here anymore. I need to do something for ME.” I started not going to class and I ended up on academic probation. I was stressing about paying the bills on time. I was going through a slow slope of depression. I felt like I was living two different lives because I had to be one way for my family and friends. Then when I was alone, I could be my true self.

So I went to the recruiter’s office and I went there originally to look for an Air Force recruiter. THEY WERE NEVER THERE. Holy crap, how am I supposed to get into the Air Force when nobody is freakin’ here? Every time I went there, there was this jacked Staff Sergeant who would yell at me so I would pass the Marine Corps office for a month.

One day, a young lady in her service charlie uniform was there instead. She had red hair and freckles. She looked like Billie Young.

I stopped and said to her, “Who are you and what happened to that crazy Staff Sergeant?”

The Marine said, “Oh he’s not here today. I’m filling in for him.

I said, “Oh so you’re a Marine?”

She said, “Yeah!”

Then I replied back, “But you’re a female.”

She said, “Yeah! They have women in the Marine Corps. There aren’t that many of them, but they do.”

She was telling me how she just graduated from boot camp and I asked her about her experience. She painted this perfect picture on how boot camp was with shooting guns, obstacle courses, and had the best time of her life.

The Marine told me, “The fact that I am a female, people underestimate me because some people feel that women can’t do the same thing as men. So that’s empowering.”

That was definately what I wanted to do because I am all about proving people wrong.

GySgt Moffett’s first deployment was in Iraq in 2009. She was a Sergeant at the time and was about to refuel the CH-53 helicopter pictured here. (Photo courtesy of Mia Moffett)
GySgt Moffett(right), who graduated from Drill Instructor school as a Sergeant, holds her platoon flag with two drill instructors at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, SC. (Photo courtesy of Mia Moffett)
Mia Moffett was recently promoted from Staff Sergeant to Gunnery Sergeant. Marine spouse Staff Sergeant Shavonda Moffett helped place her chevrons on her woodland camis. (Photo courtesy of Mia Moffett)