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Marine veteran, Kalyn Schwartz, wrestled for Southern Oregon University in the 123-pound weight class, Feb. 10-11, at the Women’s Collegiate Wrestling Association National Championships in Oklahoma City. While in the Marine Corps, Schwartz’s military specialty occupation was aircraft rescue and firefighting. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Jennifer Webster/Released)

Photo by Cpl. Jennifer Webster

Marines, Wrestlers Go Hand in Hand

16 Feb 2017 | Marine Corps Cpl. Jennifer Webster, 9th Marine Corps District 9th Marine Corps District

OKLAHOMA CITY – “The investment you’ve put in yourself to fight for family, to fight for an organization, to fight for your community, to fight for legacy is an example for all to emulate and all to follow. Your ethos exemplifies what our Marines represent in battle: honor, courage, commitment,” said Maj. Ryan Cohen, the Recruiting Station Oklahoma City commanding officer, as he addressed female wrestlers from across the nation at Oklahoma City University.

Cohen spoke to these wrestlers at the Women’s Collegiate Wrestling Association National Championships Feb. 10-11, where Marines also worked a pull-up bar and information booth.


 “The Marine Corps Recruiting Command recently started a marketing relationship with USA Wrestling in an attempt to take advantage of the very similar cultures that both organizations share,” said Capt. Matthew Ervine, an officer with Marine Corps Recruiting Command.


“Female wrestlers have a unique understanding of discipline through intense physical training and mental challenges on the mat,” said Capt. Wynton Smith, a comptroller for MCRC and former wrestler for the All-Marine Wrestling team. “They can easily take the skills they’ve learned from the mat into the Marine Corps and be successful.”

Marine veteran and wrestler for Southern Oregon University, Kalyn Schwartz, echoed Smith’s words, stating the values learned on the mat go hand in hand with the Marine Corps.

“The biggest resemblance is the mental toughness and discipline,” said Schwartz. “The Marines taught me discipline and intensity. I use that in wrestling every day.”

Marines believe in the phrase, “Once a Marine, always a Marine,” and for one Marine officer, seeing one of their own competing in at the national championships was a pleasant and welcome surprise.

“[Schwartz] looked very determined, dedicated and strong,” said Maj. Jill McQuistan, the 9th Marine Corps District comptroller and former wrestler.  “It’s nice seeing young women like her as role models in the community and potentially for other women considering joining the Marine Corps.”

Before taking the mat and fighting for that revered national title, Cohen left the wrestlers with some motivating words.

“I would tell my Marines, before we crossed the line of departure, go chin to chin and chest to chest with our nation’s opponent, take the hill and breathe fire,” Cohen said. “So to you young ladies, go head to head, ethically, honorably and morally, with great sportsmanship and pride for where you came from and how you were raised, take the hill and breathe fire.”

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