U.S. Marine Corporal William Pawley was promoted to his present rank in a ceremony at a local recruiting office in Newark, Delaware, August 3, 2015. Pawley’s family, girlfriend, and high school English teacher were in attendance during the ceremony.
“I’m very proud of him,” said Jeanette Lauer, Pawley’s mother. “This is probably one of the best gifts I could receive.”
In the Marine Corps, corporal is the first rank in the non-commissioned officer corps. Being promoted from the junior ranks to corporal is considered the first significant step in taking on a leadership role. Corporals have a responsibility to their subordinates and superiors unlike that of any other rank. They are considered the “working supervisor,” fulfilling their occupational field specialty obligations while leading and mentoring junior Marines.
A native of Wilmington, Delaware, Pawley enlisted in the Marine Corps one month after graduating from Delcastle High School in 2011.
“I wanted to try something new…be able to go to different places,” said Pawley.
Pawley got his wish. He recently returned from a seven-month deployment with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit. The 24th MEU is a sea-based, rapid-response task force that was deployed to the Mediterranean Sea from December 2014 to July 2015. During that time, it supported contingency efforts in Yemen, which included evacuating U.S. citizens at the request of the U.S. State Department.
While aboard the USS Iwo Jima, an aircraft carrier assigned to the 24th MEU, Pawley served as an airframe mechanic, repairing and replacing parts on Marine Corps aircraft such as the AH1Z Super Cobra and the AV8B Harrier. When he wasn’t on ship, Pawley visited many different ports in countries such as Spain, Italy, Israel, and Jordan.
Upon returning to the United States, Pawley returned to his hometown on post-deployment leave to see his friends and family. His leave coincided with his promotion so rather than be promoted at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, where Pawley is currently stationed, he arranged to be promoted close to home so his friends and family could be present.
“My family loves it,” said Pawley. “I’m going to have to deal with a bunch of Facebook notifications when I get home.”