In another first for the Marine Corps, 2nd Lt. Lillian Polatchek graduated at the top of her class from the Army's Armor Basic Officer Leaders Course, making her the Corps' first female tank officer.
"I'm just sort of looking at it as another Marine graduating from this course," Polatchek described her accomplishment in a Defense Department video. She will now serve with the 2nd Tank Battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
Polatchek's graduating class contained 67 students, five of whom were Marines, a Defense Department news story says.She graduated as a candidate for distinguished honors on April 12 at Fort Benning, Georgia. The five-month long course teaches prospective tank officers fundamentals, tactics, and any basic armor knowledge that they will need to safely and efficiently operate a tank.
First and only female tank officer in the @USMC graduates at the top of the class https://t.co/A6x1ILGr8U #womenmakinghistory #Marines pic.twitter.com/htcRURcOrz
— DVIDSHub (@DVIDSHub) April 13, 2017
"Learning the importance of planning, maintenance, and understanding your platform as best as you can is what I took away the most from the course," Polatchek said in the news story. "A tank platoon has 16 Marines, and that small leadership-size really gives you, as a platoon commander, the ability to directly work with the Marines you're leading. I'm excited to take everything we've learned here and to get a chance to go out to the fleet and apply it."
During the tank training, Polatchek learned to appreciate the roles that each member of the tank crew plays, such as the gunner, she said.
"We're going to be in the tank commander seat, as a platoon commander, so we got a better feel for all the skill that goes into the other positions," Polatchek said in the story. "You shouldn't really ask your Marines to do anything that you couldn't do yourself."
Rachael Kalinyak is an editorial intern with Network Solutions.