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Female trailblazer retires from Marine Corps after decades of service

Posted at 8:11 AM, Jun 07, 2024

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- One leader at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar has made shattering the glass ceiling look easy, and after helping open the door for the next generation of female Marines, Sgt. Maj. Rosalia Scifo is calling it a career.

Scifo, who helped run the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at MCAS Miramar, retired from active duty on Friday.

Scifo’s office is the flight line of the original “Fightertown USA,” so it’s no wonder she gets choked up reflecting on three decades as a U.S. Marine.

“It’s the people; it’s the people that make the Marine Corps. I mean, it's a people’s organization," she said.

Scifo retires after reaching the highest enlisted rank and as the second highest billet as a female Sergeant Major.

“To my female Marines, I hope that I’m that symbol of they can do it. I’m that example of ‘I can do it,’ because you can. I’m that proof that the ability is there," she said.

Scifo enlisted in 1994 after finding college wasn’t for her. Her goal was to serve as law enforcement.

She accomplished that as a military police officer. She said it was a job not many women had.

“It was challenging because it’s a very male-dominant organization, and most of the time if we did make it, it was usually behind an administrative position," she said.

Scifo thought she would complete one enlistment and use her skills in the civilian world, but instead, she became a drill instructor and continued to climb the ranks.

As she climbed up the ranks, she was able to learn something new and impact other Marines. That’s show she was able to work in Marine aviation.

“My first stint in command of aviation was with this squadron. This aircraft right here is the F-18. That was my first time seeing what aviation brings to the table. It’s pretty impressive. It’s pretty humbling, and it gave me a whole other taste of the Marine Corps," Scifo said.

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

Scifo knows she isn't the only working mom in the Marine Corps and tells the others it's all about communication.

“Our shift doesn't end when we leave here; our second shift starts when we get home. You just really, really have to work and prioritize that work-life balance. So, when you're at work, it's 100 percent, and when you're at home, it's 100 percent," she said.

While her journey wasn't always easy, Scifo never forgot why she became a Marine and encouraged current and future Marines to do the same.