Female pioneer retires from Marine Corps after decades of service

Female pioneer retires from Marine Corps after decades of service


SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — After making shattering the glass ceiling look easy and helping open the door for the next generation of female Marines, one of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar’s leaders has announced she will be retiring, Master Sergeant Rosalia Cifo said.

Sipho, who ran the 3rd Marine Air Wing at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, retired from active duty on Friday.

Cifo’s office is at the original “Fighter Town USA” airfield, so it’s no wonder he gets emotional as he reflects on his 30 years as a U.S. Marine.

“The people that make up the Marine Corps are the people — the Marine Corps is a people’s organization,” she said.

Sipho retired from the military after attaining the highest rank ever achieved by a non-commissioned officer and the second highest rank ever achieved by a female sergeant major.

“To my female Marines, I want to be a symbol that they can do it. I am an example of, ‘I can do it,’ because you can. I am proof that it is possible,” she said.

Sipho felt that university wasn’t for her so she enlisted in 1994. Her goal was to work in law enforcement.

She made it as a military police officer, a job she said was not open to women.

“It’s been tough because it’s a very male-dominated organisation and if you do get promoted it’s usually to a management position,” she said.

Sipho had intended to enlist and put his skills to use in the civilian world, but instead became a drill instructor and continued to rise through the ranks.

As she rose through the ranks, she was able to learn something new and influence other Marines, which is what she was able to do working for Marine Corps Aviation.

“This was my first time commanding an aviation squadron. This aircraft here is an F-18. It was my first time seeing what aviation has to offer. It was very impressive. It was very humbling and it showed me a whole new side of the Marine Corps,” Sifo said.

She accomplished all this as a wife and mother of two children.

Sipho knows she’s not the only mother serving in the Marines and tells others it’s all about communication.

“Our shift doesn’t end when we leave here, our second shift starts when we get home. We just have to work really hard and make work-life balance a priority, so we’re 100 percent at work and 100 percent when we’re at home,” she said.

Though her journey hasn’t been easy, Sipho never forgets why she became a Marine and encourages current and future Marines to do the same.





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