Valley Park native and Missouri National Guardsman, Spc. Marcella MacDermott, of Ballwin, credits her Recruit Sustainment Program training for her success during Army basic combat training, where she was an honor graduate. MacDermott expects to start officer candidate school in December. (Staff Sgt. Jonathan Edmonson photo)
FESTUS, Mo. - After graduating from Valley Park High School in 2004 and earning a degree in exercise science from St. Louis University, Marcella R. MacDermott decided she wanted yet another advantage in life.
"I decided to enter the military and chose the Missouri National Guard," she said. "Whenever I thought of Soldiers I thought of them as physically and mentally strong and I wanted to accelerate to another level in life."
After joining the Guard in December MacDermott, 26, was enrolled in the Recruit Sustainment Program and assigned to Company G at the Festus armory. The RSP provides Soldiers with a taste of military life, drilling them in tactics and protocol before they attend Army basic combat training.
Now an officer cadet awaiting Army Officer Candidate School, Spc. MacDermott, of Ballwin, said Recruit Sustainment lived up to its billing.
"RSP was my first taste of military life," MacDermott said. "I got yelled at, but it was fun. The program teaches you how fast you need to move, how much attention you need to be paying to your instructors and it just really helped with the overall flow of what to expect at basic training."
One unique feature of the Festus armory, a rappel tower, proved especially valuable to MacDermott.
"We did rappelling during RSP drill and when I got to basic training that really came in handy having already done it," she said. "It really made the rappel course at basic much easier."
So helpful was her RSP experience that MacDermott was named an Honor Graduate at Army basic training.
MacDermott credited her National Guard recruiter, Sgt. 1st Class Zach Mayberry, of Wentzville, for not sugar-coating military service and for portraying the National Guard "fairly and realistically."
MacDermott expects to begin officers' candidate school in December and has high hopes for her future.
"I feel like the military is going to help accelerate my life upward and open many doors for me," she said. "I feel like it will make me a better person, a better woman."
Spc. MacDermott is the daughter of Teresa Pellerito, of Valley Park, and Gregory MacDermott, of Lee's Summit.
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