When Angie and I joined the Marine Corps, there were approximately 180,000 Marines on active duty. Only 1,000 of them were women Marine officers. Military service is not a natural choice for many young women, which is probably why when people learn about our backgrounds, they typically remark, “You don’t look like Marines. Why did you join?”

Angie and I had different paths to the Marine Corps. Angie’s started right before her freshman year at the University of Michigan. That summer, she and her friends had fallen into a routine of going to parties and blowing off curfews. They were having fun, but not the kind of fun Angie’s parents, career educators, would’ve approved of. They were quick to catch on ...

Get Leading from the Front: No-Excuse Leadership Tactics for Women now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.