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Marine Corps Recruiting Command

Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.

3280 Russell Road, 2nd Floor Quantico, Va. 22134
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Female drill instructor nominated for award - Depot's first female drill instructor to receive achievement award

By Sgt. Claudia Garcia | | June 13, 2003

MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- A female drill instructor aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, will be honored with a Military Women Achievement Award at a ceremony to be held at the Depot Commanding General's home June 17.

SSgt. Denise M. Ruiz, swim instructor, Instructional Training Company, will receive this award along with other local outstanding female military women.

"The Military Women Achievement Award is an annual ceremony the San Diego

Women's Council of the Navy League put together and has been around since 1975," said Suzette Brunner, co-chairman of the Military Women of Achievement of 2003, San Diego Women Council of the Navy League.

There are six prerequisites for this award: professional performance, contribution to community, service beyond billet requirements, civilian community services and military bearing, according to Brunner.

Ruiz is the first female drill instructor to work aboard the Depot and was nominated for this award by Capt. Arturo Hernandez, Instructional Training Company, Company Commanding Officer.  She hopes to represent the Marine Corps and the Depot in a proud manner.

"I am very excited and honored to be receiving such an award," said Ruiz.

Ruiz has many outstanding accomplishments throughout her Marine Corps career. She spent four years on MCRD, Parris Island, S.C., completing 10, three-month cycles of drill instructor duty. Of those cycles, she spent four as a junior drill instructor, two as a senior drill instructor and four as a series gunnery sergeant.

During her tour on the drill field, she was also awarded the Drill Instructor of the Year Award and the Senior Drill Instructor of the Year award. She scored 299 on her last physical fitness test; she is brown belt qualified and is also a helicopter rope suspension-training master.

Ruiz now resides in San Diego.  Before she began her tour here, she had to attend the Prior Drill Instructor course here. After completing the course she was assigned to work for the Recruit Training Regiment as a swim instructor.

Before working at the swim tank, Ruiz had to take the Marine Corps Instructor Water Survival Course at Naval Base Coronado, where she graduated second in her class.

"I have been aboard the Depot for a year and a half now and I plan to be here for as long as the Marine Corps needs me," said Ruiz.

Before 2003, only two military women received the award each year, according to Brunner.  One officer and one noncommissioned officer were honored. 

However, the Women's Council of the Navy League changed the policy this year and 54 women were nominated to receive this award. 

Brunner said about 1,000 military women of different branches have earned the Military Women Achievement Award.

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