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Miramar Marine And Ex-Drill Instructor Shows Her Strength

Staff Sgt. Monica Paz
Cpl. Mark Garcia
Staff Sgt. Monica Paz

The hardest thing Staff Sgt. Monica Paz ever had to do as a Marine was serve as drill instructor at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island. So when she found out she had a spinal cord injury, Paz believed she was ready for the challenge.

Paz now works as the accounting division chief and squadron support division chief for Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward), in Helmand province, Afghanistan. The 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing is based at MCAS Miramar in San Diego.

Paz tells DVIDS serving as a drill instructor taught her to push herself to the limit. It was this kind of inner strength that served her well when she discovered she injured her spine:

“For a moment I thought I was done with the Marine Corps. I thought that I wouldn’t be able to stay in. I had spinal cord surgery after completing my time in the drill field and finding out I had a serious spinal cord problem. They had to go in there and take out bits of my spine and everything. So it’s been very hard to get back physically to where I am now.”

Paz has been in the Marine Corps for a dozen years, and hopes to stay in until she reaches her 20th year. Then, she wants to pursue a career as a pharmacist.