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Marines' empowering ad spotlights a woman in combat for 1st time

The U.S. Marine Corps aims to show it's looking for the best warriors, regardless of gender, in a new commercial starring Capt. Erin Demchko.
/ Source: TODAY

In its latest recruiting commercial, the U.S. Marine Corps is putting the spotlight on a female Marine for the first time in its history.

The ad, which debuted online Friday and will soon air on television, showcases Capt. Erin Demchko, an active duty Marine stationed in Okinawa, Japan, who saw combat during a tour in Afghanistan.

“I am extremely humbled to be a part of such a big production," Demchko told the Associated Press. “Professional actors can keep their jobs, though. I’d rather be a Marine.”

Titled "Battle Up," the commercial shows the transformation of a young girl as she becomes a Marine: standing up to bullies, eluding rugby opponents in a rainstorm, slogging through a muddy obstacle course, firing her weapon in combat and helping the homeless.

The ad is the latest attempt by the Marine Corps to recruit more women to serve. The Marines have the lowest percentage of women (8.3 percent) among military services, but they're aiming to reach at least 10 percent female among the force of 183,000 by 2019, according to the AP.

The new commercial comes two months after a scandal came to light involving Marines posting nude photos of female service members on a hidden Facebook page.

Portraying Demchko in the narrative arc from young girl to Marine aims to send the message to "not think that we are only looking for a few good men, that we're actually using all of our recurring efforts to find good women as well," Maj. Gen. Paul Kennedy, head of Marine Corps Recruiting Command, told the AP.


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Follow writer Scott Stump on Twitter.