On August 8, 2022, Gillian Savoie boarded a flight out of Portland to Parris Island, SC. Gillian, the daughter of Kevin and Cherade Savoie, had graduated from Sanford High School just a few months before. At that time, she didn’t know what a long journey lay ahead in her quest to become a US Marine.
After just three weeks of basic training, Gillian sustained a pelvic stress fracture and was transferred to a recovery platoon. This type of injury is not uncommon in female recruits, who undergo the same training as their male counterparts. While in recovery, she was on crutches and could only do upper body workouts for the first four weeks. In total, Gillian spent over nine weeks healing and rehabilitating from her injury. During this time, she did everything she could to stay positive and push through this major setback. After rehab, she could have reconsidered her decision to become a Marine and left the military, but she found hope and strength to push on through her family, faith and connecting with fellow recruits.
By November 11, 2022 she had passed her fitness test and was medically cleared to return to training. Gillian was picked up by Echo Co Platoon 2006, and was ready to finish what she started. During Basic Warrior Training week, she earned the highest level during boot camp, Rifle Expert. In the tenth week she began the toughest challenge yet, the Crucible. During this 54-hour event that culminates their training, Marine recruits are put to the ultimate test of teamwork, knowledge and strength. They must complete 45 miles of marching, combat and assault courses and other challenges, all while enduring food and sleep deprivation. Although she was battling an ankle injury during this series, she was determined to keep going. She recalls it as a very emotional, proud time as she finished her final hike back to the Eagle, Globe and Anchor ceremony to became a United States Marine.
Gillian was acknowledged for pushing through her injuries during the Crucible and was a highly contributing factor in earning Honorary Platoon for Echo Co. She became the guide, carrying the flag for her Platoon.
On January 13, her 158th day at Parris Island, Gillian graduated as Private Savoie, surrounded by family and her best friend. In addition to the physical challenges she faced in getting to this goal, perhaps the most difficult obstacle was missing her twin brother Collin, with whom she is very close. Yet her courage and perseverance led her to the path of earning the title Marine. While her time at bootcamp, Savoie made many new friends which she will no doubt keep for life.
Pvt. Savoie is currently completing Marine Combat Training, and will graduate this Wednesday, with her family again in attendance. Following that, she will enter Military Occupational Specialties schooling to become a Distribution Specialist in Logistics.
After her four-year stint with the US Marines, her future plans include college and a career in the medical field. She plans to take college courses during active duty in the Marines and will leave her options open for re-enlistment. Whatever she chooses to do, she will no doubt continue to make her mark on the world. Congratulations Pvt. Savoie and thank you for your service to our country and for making Sanford proud!
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