Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center --
What I’ve Learned: Capt. Heidi Covert, 32, Orlando, Fla., aide-de-camp, Combat Center
Covert is currently serving as the Combat Center Commanding General’s Aide and has a true passion for being a Marine. Her father, who also was a Marine Corps officer, inspired her to adopt the values of honor, courage and commitment, and pursue her dream of becoming a Marine.
· My father was a Marine officer, and seeing the way he was able to provide for his family inspired me to want that.
· I spent the majority of my childhood traveling throughout Marine Corps installations in the U.S. I really loved it because I was always meeting new people and having the opportunity for new beginnings every couple of years.
· Even though my father was a Marine, going to Officer Candidate School was a big change for me. It was really neat being able to say I did the same hikes and training my father did more than 25 years ago.
· I didn’t have any job preference when I joined; I was just excited about being a Marine.
· My first duty station was in Okinawa, Japan. It was interesting to me because in the states, everyone, for the most part, understands what a Marine is. Out there, that isn’t always the case.
· It was a great experience because it was the first time I had been out of the country. Once there, I had the opportunity to get out to nine different countries.
· After Okinawa, I came to Twentynine Palms, Calif., and worked as an instructor for lieutenants at the Marine Corps Communication-Electronics School. I had the chance to mold the future of our job field, and I had amazing instructors that I wanted to emulate.
· I really enjoy Twentynine Palms because it is so different from other installations. Everywhere else I have been, you have trees, grass and swamps. You come out here and there is not a lot of any of that.
· While working as an instructor, I applied to be the general’s aide. I wanted the experience of knowing how decisions are made at higher levels. I was also looking forward to that mentorship from a senior leader, especially from an infantry officer. Coming from the wing, I never got to see much besides what happened in the control group.
· My day-to-day consists mostly of keeping track of Maj. Gen. David H. Berger’s schedule. I travel with him everywhere he goes, and do all the things that keep him working.
· On any given day we could be in meetings all day, or out among the base, or meeting with people in the community. There are a lot of different things going on, and every day is a new experience.
· As a general’s aide, you get to see things most Marines never get to see. Having that direct mentorship from a general officer, seeing general officer’s speak more than many other Marines, is a great opportunity to seize. Everywhere we go, I am constantly taking notes and learning as much as I can.
· As of now, I currently have orders to report to the Expeditionary Warfare School in Quantico, Va. It is a nine-month course designed to provide professional military education in combined-arms operations, warfighting skills, tactical decision-making and Marine Air Ground Task Forces in amphibious operations. I am really looking forward to the opportunity to attend the school.
· I had always wanted to be a Marine, so this is like a dream come true for me. I plan to stay in and make this a career.
· Any duty station is what you make of it. While in Twentynine Palms, my husband and I do a lot of outdoors stuff like rock climbing and hiking. I believe you need to adapt to where you are in order to be happy, and that’s exactly what I do.
· I would never pressure anyone to join the Marine Corps. It is a lifestyle and a decision you have to make for yourself. It is a good lifestyle for me, but it is not a job where at the end of the day I hang up my hat and I’m off duty. I’m always on duty. If that’s not something that you are passionate about, if you don’t hold the values of honor, courage and commitment, then this organization is not for you.