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4th Marine Corps District

Marine Corps Recruiting Command

Sustaining a legacy of service

By Sgt. J. R. Heins | 4th Marine Corps District | December 22, 2016


The U. S. Marine Corps has a long heritage of customs, principles, and traditions dating back to its founding in 1775. In Wyandotte, Michigan, one long-standing family tradition continues while a new one begins.

Poolee Maelym R. Russo comes from a Marine family. Upon completion of Recruit Training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, she will be a part of the third generation of Marines in her family – eighth overall and the first female.

In high school, Russo contemplated joining the Marines. However, at the time she wanted to follow her passion for the culinary arts.

“I love to cook, and still do,” said Russo, a native of Rockwood, Michigan. “I tried college for two years and just felt like I wasn’t going anywhere. I wanted to do something more.”

It was in May 2016 when Russo, accompanied by her Marine veteran father, walked into the Recruiting Sub-Station Wyandotte office. According to Russo, she walked into the office and was greeted by Sgt. William H. Payton, the local Marine Corps representative for the area.

“He asked me why I wanted to join the Marines,” she said. “I told him about my family and how I wanted to keep the tradition going… to be the first in my family to step on the yellow footprints as a female.”

According to Payton, Russo is a top performer out of the Sub Station’s office.

“She is very competitive and always brings a burst of motivation during all our workouts and pool functions,” said Payton, a native of Niles, Ohio.

Russo says that she has always been competitive. While attending Oscar A. Carlson High School in Gibraltar, Michigan, she spent multiple years on both the varsity girl’s track team and cheerleading squad.

“I’ve always cared about staying physically fit, even after high school,” she said. “But now there is a goal to work for which pushes me so much more.”

Russo is scheduled to attend Marine Corps Recruit Training in April 2017.