Get Task & Purpose in your inbox

Born In A Russian Prison, She’s Now A Trailblazing Infantry Marine

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Greg Thomas

Maria Daume, one of the first female Marines to enlist into the Corps on an infantry contract, made history March 23 when she graduated from the School of Infantry East at Camp Geiger, North Carolina. Daume is the first female Marine to join the infantry through its traditional training pipeline; she’ll join the Fleet Marine Force as a mortarman, one of the combat arms fields opened to women last year. But her remarkable story began 18 years ago and 6,000 miles away, in Russia.

Daume and her twin brother, Nikolai, were born in a prison in Siberia, where their mother was incarcerated. When the twins were 2 years old, their mother died, and they lived in an orphanage in Moscow until they were adopted by an American family living on New York’s Long Island.

Related: She Was Born In A Russian Prison And Became A US Marine. The Infantry Is Next »

Daume distinguished herself at the School of Infantry, where her training included scaling 56-inch walls in full gear, lifting 80-pound weapons systems overhead, and moving a 200-pound “simulated casualty” dummy to safety, according to VOA News. Not to mention a 12-mile hike while carrying her 60mm mortar system and four rounds.

“She was right at the top of the pack,” Sgt. Matthew Schneider, a mortar instructor at the School of Infantry, told VOA in an interview.

A lifelong athlete, mixed martial artist, and competitive spirit, Daume said her decision to enlist in the infantry came down to one thing: She wanted to personally clobber America’s enemies.

“I want to fight ISIS,” Daume told Task & Purpose in an interview in January. “Even though everybody in the military fights, I want to be a grunt. I think everything about it is for me, and I want to prove that females can do it.”

Now, she’ll have her chance.

Daume’s graduation makes her the fourth female infantry Marine. Three female Marines currently serve with 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment at Camp Lejeune, and Daume will head to Camp Pendleton, where she’s been assigned to 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment.

The battalion’s nickname is “the magnificent bastards.”

A Ranger has died after being wounded by small arms fire during a Jan. 13 battle in northwest Afghanistan, the Pentagon announced on Friday.

Read More Show Less

The Defense Department has identified two U.S. service members and a Defense Department civilian, who were killed by an ISIS suicide bomber Wednesday in Manbij, Syria. A Defense Department contractor was also killed in the blast.

Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jonathan R. Farmer, Navy Chief Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) Shannon M. Kent, and Defense Department civilian Scott A. Wirtz were killed, a Pentagon news release says.

Read More Show Less
President Donald Trump speaks about American missile defense doctrine, Thursday, Jan 17, 2019, at the Pentagon. (Associated Press/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump called Thursday for dramatically broadening U.S. defenses against missile attacks, outlining a costly and scientifically unproven plan for developing lasers and space sensors to defend all of the United States' territory from ballistic missile threats.

Read More Show Less

A recently leaked video sheds light on one of the F-35's possible weapons configurations, previously dubbed as "beast mode" in a Lockheed Martin infographic.

Read More Show Less