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U.S. Marine Corps officers raise their right hand to swear in during a ceremony at Officer Candidate School, Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. on August 13, 2022. Marine judge advocates have the opportunity to serve in a wide variety of positions, which include commanding battalions of Marines, to arguing appellate cases before the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Gustavo Romero)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Gustavo Romero

Four OCS graduates swear in as Judge Advocates

17 Aug 2022 | Lance Cpl. Jennifer Sanchez Marine Corps Recruiting Command

Four women graduated from Officer Candidate School, here on August 13, 2022.

After receiving their final command from the sergeant instructors at the end of graduation, the four women stood in formation to swear-in during an oath of office ceremony to become judge advocates and newly commissioned officers in the Marines.

U.S. Marine Corps 2nd Lts. Kimberly Wilson, Carmen Tate, Emily Satterfield and Emily Kaczmarczyk graduated OCS as candidates and were sworn in by Col. David C. Hyman, commanding officer of OCS. The second lieutenants had their rank pinned on their collars by their family and loved ones following the ceremony.

"These second lieutenants were allowed to come back and finish their training after previously being injured in prior training evolutions," said Capt. Jhonathan Morales, the Deputy Staff Judge Advocate and Law Program Manager for Marine Corps Recruiting Command.

Four women becoming judge advocates in one class is a milestone for the program. As of 2020, women make up 10.3% of the Marine Corps, and women have even less representation within the Platoon Leader Course Law program.

"I know the Marine Corps needs more women judge advocates," said Wilson, a native of Jacksonville, North Carolina. "We will assist with all legal issues, and maybe some of those issues may be more approachable by woman attorneys."

The PLC law program offers applicants the opportunity to start their military career as a judge advocate while attending their prospective law schools to obtain their license to practice law. Candidates participate in a 10-week training evolution at OCS to earn commissions between school years and complete all program requirements.

Wilson, a University of Connecticut graduate, worked as an attorney before aspiring to serve in the Corps, and with the help of her husband, she met with an officer selection officer.

Kaczmarczyk, from Wilton, Connecticut, graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Brooklyn Law School, N.Y. She will be starting a temporary assigned duty at MCRC headquarters in the legal department for the next three months before she attends the six-month training at The Basic School back at Marine Corps Base Quantico.

Tate, a native of Carrizozo, New Mexico, attended the University of Dallas in Irving, Texas. She was introduced to the Marine Corps through a fellow law student while attending Ave Maria School of Law in Vinyards, Florida. Satterfield, a native of Jacksonville, North Carolina, graduated from Georgia Southern University before returning back to Jacksonville to work as an attorney. Wilson, Tate and Satterfield are now pending orders to attend TBS.

After completing TBS, where they will further learn the art of leadership and the technical skills to serve as a provisional rifle platoon commander, these four women will continue their education and receive military-specific legal training at the Naval Justice School in Newport, Rhode Island.

Marine Judge Advocates are specially trained legal professionals that represent individual Marines, upholding the law, codes, and values of the Marine Corps. Marine Judge Advocates serves as federal prosecutors or defense attorneys on misdemeanor and felony-level courts-martial. JAD Marines have the opportunity to expand their practice in areas such as military operational law, international law, cyber law, or criminal justice.

"Diversity is an essential part of our mission, there are only 500 Judge advocates, and a majority of them are male," said Morales. “It’s a step forward to the reflection of our legal practice to our counterparts out on the civilian side, which has a lot of women practitioners.

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