Local resident Helen Shor joins Marines to learn to take care of herself, see the world


Helen Shor spoke to Girl Scout Troop 1664 about her experiences as a Marine.

PELHAM — Helen Shor served in the Marines for five and a half years. She started a three-month boot camp in Parris Island, South Carolina, when she was 17 years old. Her goal when she enlisted was to be able to take care of herself and learn about the rest of the world.

“In boot camp, I was tired and scared, but after awhile, it felt good to be doing this,” she said.

Every day she would wake up early (4:00 am) in order to look presentable. She needed to dress in a green shirt, green shorts, and on top of that, camouflage pants, shirt and boots. She put her hair up in a neat bun, and on her head was an eight-point hat.

In the morning, she had to eat her breakfast in one minute, and if she spoke with the other women, she would get punished. The women had to eat special diet meals, but the men had choices. The men and women had separate bases, so it was Ms Shor’s and a bunch of other women there.

The girls learned to work together throughout those 3 months. At the very end of training, there was a 48-hour hike with no sleeping!

“I actually picked the Marine Corps because it was the hardest, and had the longest boot camp,” she said.

Ms Shor’s job in the Marines was to translate Arabic, making sure she found enemies.

Now Ms Shor is a graduate student at Columbia University still studying Arabic and Middle Eastern studies. She liked history a lot in school; many of the classes that she goes to now are still history-based.

Friends who worked with Ms Shor in the Marines are still very close. One of them is in New York now; he goes to Pace University.

We honor Ms Shor and many other veterans for their hard work and loyalty and are thankful that they never gave up.