A new TV ad from the U.S. Marine Corps focuses on a woman in combat, the first commercial of its kind for the military branch.
The woman starring in the new spot, Marine Capt. Erin Demchko, has served in Afghanistan and was a logistics officer on a Female Engagement Team, according to the Marine Corps website.
“FETs build trust with local civilians to gather information and improve relations with the community,” says the website. “Capt. Demchko worked side by side with her fellow Marines to complete missions in the region.”
The ad follows a young girl who stands up to bullies at school, plays rugby as a young woman, and ends up becoming a Marine — training in an obstacle course and engaging in a firefight. Demchko says the scene in the obstacle course was no easy task.
“The water was 27 degrees and coated with a layer of thick ice,” she told the Associated Press. “Giving the film production staff what they wanted, while maintaining my bearing as a Marine officer and trying not to look cold, was a challenge.”
The commercial comes just two months after allegations that hundreds of Marines distributed nude images of female colleagues on social media.
“The Marine Corps is deeply concerned about allegations regarding the derogatory online comments and sharing of salacious photographs in a closed website,” reads a document outlining the allegations. “This behavior destroys morale, erodes trust, and degrades the individual.”
For “the few” and “the proud,” there are even fewer female Marines. Of about 183,000 Marines, only about 8 percent are women. But the Corps wants more.
For Demchko, the Marine Corps has helped her better herself, as she pursues a master’s degree in modeling and virtual environment simulation — technical skills that will continue to help her lead.
“The fighting spirit is something that’s inside all of us,” Demchko said. “Everybody’s got a goal, if it’s personal or if it’s something bigger, that you are fighting toward.”