EDITOR DANIEL CLIFTON
Just over a year into her enlistment in the U.S. Marine Corps, Faith Academy of Marble Falls graduate Alyssa “Joy” Plunk demonstrated a level of leadership not usually expected from a Marine of her experience and rank.
The USMC took notice. Brig. Gen. K.D. Reventlow awarded Lance Cpl. Plunk the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal on Dec. 20, 2018, for the professional achievement she demonstrated during a training operation at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, California.
“I was very surprised (to get the medal) because I didn’t expect it,” Plunk said.
Plunk is assigned to Combat Logistics Battalion 4, which is stationed in Camp Foster in Okinawa, Japan. The unit was in California from October through November of last year for training exercises.
As part of the multi-day training operation, Plunk and her unit were tasked with transporting a number of people and cargo over 700 miles. According to the commendation, Plunk’s “superior proficiency enabled her to negotiate challenging terrain in both day and night in low-visibility operations without any incidents.”
Plunk said the main reason she earned the achievement medal was her actions during a graded training operation in which the unit sustained a number of mock casualties. As the unit combat lifesaver, Plunk assessed and treated “casualties” before evacuating them.
Her manner and professionalism during this exercise caught the attention of those grading it, who highlighted Plunk’s efforts during debriefings.
One of the graders even told Plunk she needed to teach the corpsman assigned to the unit how to do his job since he wasn’t.
“I got the award for adapting to something that wasn’t my MOS (military occupational specialty),” Plunk said. “The Marine Corps is about adapting and moving forward.”
Plunk graduated from Faith Academy in May 2017 and reported to boot camp at Paris Island, South Carolina, that June. She graduated from boot camp on Sept. 1, 2017, before training for motor transportation.
Plunk’s mother, Michelle Dean McDonald, said it was hard to see her daughter leave home, especially to a place on the other side of the world, but McDonald has seen the positive effects the Marine Corps has had on her daughter.
“(She) has really pushed to succeed. I am very, very, very proud of her. Being a female in the military is never easy and being a Marine even harder,” McDonald said. “Where she will go from here, I don’t know, but I know this journey has been a wild ride with a lot of adjustments. I am so proud she has picked this career and is doing well at it.”