Platoon Leader leads on and off the field

by Sgt. 1st Class Matthew L. Veasley, 19th ESC Public Affairs
USAG Daegu

DAEGU, SOUTH KOREA —  For nearly a decade, Armed Forces Sports has been trying to set up a women’s rugby program. Through trial and error it seems that it is no longer a dream, but a reality. In July 2015, the first official women’s rugby team was finally assembled and 2nd Lt. Jacqueline Marks, a platoon leader with the 557th Military Police Company, 94th Military Police Battalion assigned to the 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, took to the challenge with open arms.

After a much anticipated wait, the applicants were sent to trial camp where they endured several tests in which 16 women were chosen from nearly 80 applicants.

During the trial camp, Marks had to outperform five of the 16 women who were at the camp in order to move on in the selection process. Marks and 11 other women made the final cut and were selected to attend and compete in the first military training camp for Women’s Armed Forces Sevens Rugby in Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa., in August.

“The lifestyle and culture of rugby is something that I’ve never experienced with any other sport,” said Marks. “You have to trust that your teammate is going to be there to protect you when are getting tackled. They need to be able to trust that you will be there for them. It’s a beautiful sport that forces a strong bond between you and your teammates.”

From a young age Marks was always involved in athletics in one way or another, whether it be soccer, basketball, softball or track. Soccer was her main sport; she played soccer in high school and was the senior varsity co-captain.  She continued to play soccer her freshman year at Norwich University for the women’s varsity Division III college team, during this time she became interested in rugby through her college roommate. After several months of deliberations she decided to try out for the Norwich University’s women’s rugby team in the spring and has never looked back.

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