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Lance Corporal Elizabeth Perry demonstrates one way she issues out or receives fuel by a pressure-locking nozzle, hooked to her truck.
This is the third in a series about graduates from Mountain Valley High School who are serving our country in the military.
Lance Corporal Elizabeth Perry is a woman who knows what she wants and goes out and gets it. She is currently on active duty in the U. S. Marine Corp. at Marine Corps Air Station in Cherry Point, NC.
LCpl Perry was a member of Mountain Valley High School Class of 2012, but she graduated in 2011.
“I wanted to get out of Rumford as fast as I could. School wasn’t for me,” she recalled. Her desire to go into to the Marine Corps began much earlier.
LCpl Perry explained, “I always knew since middle school, when a recruiter talked to my older brother, that I wanted to join the Corps. I didn’t want to go to college like all my classmates and get sucked into the area. I liked the idea of traveling and meeting new people.”
With a little more than a year in the Corps, she is a refueler for anything that needs fuel from trucks to aircraft. She drives a wide range of vehicles including a tanker that has a capacity of 5000 gallons.
After boot camp at Parris Island, SC, she took Marine Combat Training at Camp Geiger in North Carolina. Technical training for her job was at Fort Leonardwood, MO.
Along the way, LCpl Perry learned an important lesson about education. She said, “It turns out no matter what you do, you still have to go to school. I go to school in the Marine Corps. I have to do a book report every trimester so I have to read a book that often. We’re constantly reviewing every day the things we’ve learned.”
Two aspects she has enjoyed so far are travel and meeting new people.
LCpl Perry described, “My roommate for a long time was from Georgia. I’ve refueled planes from Italy and Germany and got to talk to the crew. It’s fun living in an area where people are from different areas. They say I’m from southern Canada. They say 'y'all' but no one says ‘wicked.’ My new roommate is from Gardner, Maine. I even ran into someone from Rumford who went to MVHS.”
In terms of travel, she said, “Before I was in the Marine Corps, I traveled the length of I95 – Maine to Florida. I visited Canada. Since the Marine Corps, I’ve traveled to Missouri. There’s talk about deployment to Afghanistan but no dates. By the end of the year, I’m going to California for additional training.”
Despite her desire to get out of Rumford, she is eager to give back to those still in school. She would like to be part of MVHS’s annual visit by students who have completed their first semester in college.
LCpl Perry explained, “I want students to know that there’s an alternative to college. I would also like to talk to female students about the military. It’s often hard to ask male recruiters questions about being female in the service. For example, at boot camp, the only males I saw were the doctors. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable to ask male recruiters about showers at boot camp and that kind of thing.”
She is open to answering questions via her Facebook account.
Asked how the community can support her, she thought for a while and said, “Stay supportive of our troops, particularly those deployed. If the Marine has a husband or wife, support them. Being a Marine is a tough job but being the spouse that stays home is really the toughest job. Let military families know you want to help.”
LCpl Perry is the daughter of John and Caroline Perry from Rumford. Her brother, John, lives in Dixfield and brother, Ian will enter MVHS as a freshman in the fall.
If you know of a MVHS alumnus who is currently serving their country or has recently finished their enlistment, please contact Donna Peare at email@example.com.