That Feliciano determination got Adeliz through the rigors of boot camp and beyond. Through all of the training and hard work, Adeliz became a strong, confident Marine, ready for any obstacle in her way. What Adeliz was not prepared for was the prejudice she experienced from her fellow Marines.
When Alfonso inquired of the challenges she faced while serving, Adeliz responded that “the biggest challenge, simple fact, was just being female. I don’t want to make the Marine Corps look bad because I love them, but there were times I was singled out because I was a female. I’d hear sexist jokes, sometimes even from leadership.”
To provide some context, the Marine Corps makes up 13.9% of the Active Duty Force (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard). Within that 13.9%, just 6.2% of the enlisted are females. What that means is Marines that are female make up .8% – under 1% – of the entire Active Duty Force.
“You work extra hard to earn respect; you feel like you’re being watched and you don’t want to look weak so you’re pushing yourself even further” she described. Adeliz isn’t one to lash out or complain; no matter how much unwanted attention she got or what was muttered behind her back when she briefed or did her physical fitness test, she would try to ignore it and keep moving forward.
“My brother was one of the people that kept me motivated. He always told me he was proud of me and to keep going and my whole family was always there to build me up and say, ‘keep going, girl!’”
And “go” she did. From 2006-2015, Adeliz served two tours, including serving in Iraq, Kosovo, Costa Rica, and various parts of Africa. Aware that her fellow Marines’ lives depended on her thorough work as an Intelligence Analyst, Adeliz pushed herself as hard as she could, ignoring the distractions and her own insecurities.
Fueled up on coffee, we all had walked to 3S Artspace and climbed up their stairs to their attic workspace with bright orange tables. We all noticed the orange trend of the day. As we all got situated, Alfonso inquired as to whether it had gotten easier at the end of her career in the Marine Corps and Adeliz responded that it did, thanks to God. “When I started working on my relationship with God, how he used me, how he loves me, how he has plans for me and my future, the things people said about me didn’t matter anymore,” she explained to Alfonso.