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"Rosie would have loved to have gone home, but Rosie wasn’t in Iraq. Gunny Noël was." (Audio interview, 21:14)

   Rose Marie Grosshans Noël
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Rose Marie Noël
War: Iraq War, 2003-2011
Branch: Marine Corps
Unit: MALS-31 (Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron); VMFA-112 (Marine Fighter Attack Squadron ); AMS-2 (Air Maintenance Squadron); VMFA-251; MALS-26, MAG-26 (Marine Aircraft Group)
Service Location: Parris Island, South Carolina; Beaufort, South Carolina; Memphis, Tennessee; Millington, Tennessee; Lemoore, California; Iwakuni, Japan; Pensacola, Florida; New River, North Carolina; Iraq
Rank: Gunnery Sergeant
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Rose Marie Noël enlisted in the military in 1988, choosing the Marine Corps because, she said, “they’re the toughest.” Following completion of Avionics School, she served as an Aviation Electrician and Instructor around the United States and in Japan, and served as a Drill Instructor at Parris Island for two years. In late 2004, she volunteered to fill an open billet in a unit deploying to Al Asad Airbase in Iraq. On August 27, 2005, an indirect fire rocket impacted the base, and she suffered a shrapnel wound to the cheek. She would later learn that the shrapnel was just millimeters away from her maxillary artery, the main artery in the face. Though her doctor wanted to send her home, she insisted on returning to her unit. As a result of her shrapnel wound, she became the first female Gunnery Sergeant to be awarded the Purple Heart.

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (5 clips)
»Complete Interview 
Download: audio (31 min.)
»Photo Album  (13 photos)
 Official Documents
»Invitation to the retirement ceremony for Gunnery Sgt. Rose Marie Noel [10/29/2008]
 Personal Correspondence
»Emails between Rose Marie Noel and Capt. Jeffery S. Clemons [8/2005]
 Other Materials
»Biographical information
More like this
»Current Conflicts: Afghanistan and Iraq
 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (5 items)
Suffered a shrapnel wound; difficulty reaching the hospital; told she would be sent home; learning of the seriousness of her wound. (05:33) Talking to her mother; wishing family hadn’t been notified of her injury. (00:56) Promising to eat soft food for 6 weeks; traveling back to Al Asad; people thought she should go home to her family; finishing out her tour. (02:53)
Returning home; making current generation of veterans feel appreciated. (01:00) Having PTSD and a traumatic brain injury; maintaining a positive attitude. (01:11) 

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  October 26, 2011
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