AL ASAD, Iraq -- From sinking jumpers to running triathlons, many Marines have had some kind of athletic background before joining the Corps, but one Marine wasn’t just an athlete - she was a champion.
Sgt. Andrea Doty, a communications, navigation and weapons technician for the Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 121 “Green Knights”, was part of the three-time National Champion University of Arizona women’s softball team.
“I got a scholarship to play softball at the University of Arizona in 1993, played there for three seasons and got three national championship rings in ‘94, ‘95 and ’96,” said the Tucson, Ariz., native. “It was a good time. I enjoyed myself and met a lot of good people, some I still talk to.”
In addition to meeting life-long friends, Doty was able to travel and visit many places.
“I got to visit a lot of states; I visited Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Georgia, Florida and Texas,” said Doty. “It was a good experience. I got to travel a lot and it was free. So I got to see some pretty nice places for free.”
For Doty, her athletic ability was a product of growing up with two older brothers.
“I actually started playing baseball and then when I was 13, I got into playing softball,” said Doty. “From the time I was 14 to the time I went to college, I played softball year-round. I was a three-sport athlete in high school. I played softball, basketball and volleyball. But softball was my main sport.”
Although the right-fielder relished playing softball and attending college, she felt a calling that she needed to answer and enlisted in February 2002.
“I joined the Marine Corps because of Sept.11, that stuck in my mind” explained Doty. “It was something that I wanted to do, that I had to do.”
Doty, who could have joined any other service, choose the Marine Corps because of her family ties.
“The reason that I picked the Marine Corps was because my father was in the Corps in Vietnam and also two of my uncles,” said Doty. “They support me in every decision that I have made, they always have.”
So far Doty has been stationed in Japan and California, and extended her tour of duty to deploy to Iraq.
“I feel that Sgt. Doty’s decision to extend to deploy with the Green Knights says a lot about her character,” said Staff Sgt. Lewis Harris, the com/nav staff noncommissioned officer in charge for VMFA(AW)-121. “Her experience and expertise are a vital part of VMFA(AW)-121 achieving its mission and reaching its goals.”
Doty attributes some of her success in the Marine Corps to some of the values she learned while playing softball.
“It was a great experience, it taught me a lot about teamwork, being as it is a team sport, obviously,” said Doty. “It teaches you to work with people that you may not like. You still have to work with them; you have to respect their contribution to the job or team. The Marine Corps is the same thing. You may find that you are working with people that you don’t necessarily care for and it happens all over the place, not just the Marine Corps. It taught me how to deal with that aspect of it.”
Doty stands out because of the amount of effort that she puts into taking care of her Marines, according to Harris.
“Sgt. Doty is not only an outstanding Marine, but also a good person,” Harris said. “She never hesitates to lend a helping hand or an open ear. She is a SNCO’s dream. A Marine who you know will always be doing the right thing for the right reasons. Not only has she never given me any problems, but she also finds a way to keep the Marines around her on the straight and narrow, and out of trouble.”
For Doty, helping her fellow Marines comes second hand and she feels that a deployment tightens the bond between Marines.
“Being deployed is not too bad, I am actually enjoying myself,” said Doty. “Because we are in such a small area you get to hang out with the people you work with more often, where back in the states you have your own friends and people that you hang out with. You get to know people that you work with a lot better.”
In addition to enjoying her deployment, Doty feels that she is spending her time doing something that she likes.
“I enjoy my job, I don’t know who wouldn’t,” said Doty. “I get to work on a 30-million-dollar plane, basically keep it flying. I like to troubleshoot to figure out what is wrong with it. That’s actually my favorite part, to actually get a gripe that we can’t figure out and have to work on it.”
Although Doty is uncertain about her career in the Corps, she is sure that she still wants to involve softball in her life.
“Right now I am undecided about making it a career,” said Doty. “I’m thinking about reenlisting for another four. I would also like to continue playing softball. If I can’t play softball, I would at least try to coach.”