MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – In the dead of night, a specialized section of the Marine Corps infantry drags themselves through the thick North Carolina brush. U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Moriah Hollander holds her 60mm mortar with one arm and pulls herself forward with the other. The Marines stealthily make their way to their mortar firing position, ready to rain hellfire on the targets of Range Golf 36.
Along with many Americans in August of 2021, Hollander witnessed the devastation caused by the bombing in Kabul during Operation Allies Refuge. She knew then and there that she wanted to serve a higher calling and joined the Marine Corps infantry.
“I saw what happened in Kabul,” said Hollander. “I thought joining the infantry would push me beyond my limits.”
The Rochester, New York, native was raised from a young age with a competitive spirit, always striving to push further than her limits, courtesy of her father. She grew up playing soccer and doing gymnastics, both sports that her father passionately encouraged her to do better in.
“My dad definitely made me a competitive person,” reminisced Hollander. “He always encouraged me to do better, to be better. I wanted to do something that pushed me because he always did, so I decided to join the Marine Corps at 17.”
As a fresh graduate of the School of Infantry, Hollander was assigned to 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, 6th Marine Regiment, 2d Marine Division, now Battalion Landing Team 1/8; the same unit that was in Kabul during the 2021 bombing. Her seniors experienced the chaos that ensued that day and trained her to the same standard as everyone else, regardless of race, creed, or gender.
“The enemy does not care,” emphasized Hollander. “That’s why you set yourself to the same standard as everyone else. At the end of the day, nobody is going to have sympathy for you, especially the enemy.”
Being able to send as many rounds down range as possible can mean the difference between the life and death of a fellow Marine. As such, the mission of the mortar team is a competitive one, something Hollander plays into heavily. Running high stress physical training sessions and perfecting gun drills helps Hollander and her Marines remain calm, cool, and collected for the day they might have to drop rounds on real enemy positions.
“I make sure my Marines aren’t in the black and freaking out,” said Hollander. “One wrong deflection and you’re killing fellow Marines, not the enemy. This is my job, and this is what I trained for.”
Hollander prioritizes leading her gun team and providing indirect fire over everything. The evolution of indirect fire in today’s conflicts is something Hollander does not take lightly.
“Every round that I don’t send down range is a Marine being shot at or killed,” asserted Hollander. “If you’re slow, others pay for it.”
Being a female in the infantry has not hindered Hollander from pushing herself. Breaking that preconceived stigma, she trains the same, if not more than her counterparts.
“A big concern when I hit the fleet was if I could hold weight,” said Hollander. “I learned to do things to balance the weight and make it more comfortable. What I like about the infantry is that there aren’t any excuses. Especially at 1/8. There are no excuses.”
The importance of indirect fire cannot be understated. With Marines like Hollander at the helm of the mortar team, lethality of the Marine Corps remains ever persistent.
“That’s why I stress about training in garrison,” insisted Hollander. “It’s going to be ten times worse in combat, you’re not going to be comfortable in a combat situation. We must be comfortable with the uncomfortable.”
(U.S. Marine Corps story by Lance Cpl. Ryan Ramsammy)
|Date Posted:||11.06.2023 11:34|
|Location:||CAMP LEJEUNE, NC, US|
|Hometown:||ROCHESTER, NY, US|