MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, SC -- For many Marines, selfless service is more of a way of life than an option.
For Lance Cpl. Rachel Hobson, an avionics technician for Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 533, it has become a foundation for planning her future.
Raised in a town of 25,000, the 22-year-old Medina, Ohio, native spends more than 10 hours a day turning wrenches and repairing aircraft wires for her squadron’s F/A-18D Hornet.
For her, a normal day begins well before sunrise and usually ends late into the night. However, she has not let long days stop her from fulfilling a personal obligation of volunteering for community service.
When she’s not troubleshooting navigation equipment, Hobson volunteers as a groomer and office manager for the Beaufort County Animal Shelter and Control Office.
Her duties include working with injured animals, answering phones and filing paperwork for control officers.
In addition to her work with the animal shelter, Hobson donates lengths of her hair periodically to Locks of Love, a charity organization that takes donated hair and creates wigs for children with diseases that cause hair loss, such as cancer.
“At the animal shelter I have a chance to get an animal to trust people after being abused by humans it’s whole life,” Hobson said. “Since before I can remember, becoming an animal control officer or the director of an animal shelter has been a goal of mine. I want to fight against animal abuse and try to solve the overpopulation problem of cats and dogs.”
Since arriving aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in 2004, Hobson has always found ways to be involved in community service, according to Capt. John Bussard, a pilot for VMFA (AW)-533.
“One of the greatest challenges for any volunteer is finding the time to give, and Lance Corporal Hobson is no exception,” Bussard said.
Since childhood, Hobson has had a love for animals, but was shy and self-conscious. She knew that in order to one day complete the dream of owning a pet store or operating a pet sanctuary, she had to become more confident and fearless.
For her, joining the Marine Corps was the best solution.
“I had never met a shy Marine,” Hobson said. “I liked the unity. I liked the thrill of knowing that I would gain experiences that civilians would never have a chance to or understand.”
The skills and values she has acquired while in the Marine Corps have made her more prepared for the future, according to Hobson.
“Without the Marine Corps, I would not have been able to do things like visit Japan or take a helicopter ride around the Hawaiian Islands,” Hobson said.
Hobson’s family is very proud of the changes she has made towards her future and thinks that her current job is ‘cool,’ according to Hobson.
“My family is very supportive of me,” Hobson said. “Sometimes my mother gets scared about me being in the military because of all the risks involved, but overall she remains encouraging.”
The motivation behind Hobson’s charity work and dedication to the military is pretty simple to understand, according to Bussard. To her being able to make a difference is one of the most rewarding things a person can do.
The skills she has obtained as a technician and her vast knowledge of animals have made her an asset in her shop, according to Sgt. Sean Lee, Hobson’s non-commissioned officer in charge.
“She is a good, hard worker,” Lee said
As Hobson approaches the final three years of her Marine Corps career, her future is finally beginning to take form.
Earlier this year, Hobson took the first steps toward owning a business and being independent by purchasing her first home.
“I know that having a house will put me ahead when I EAS (end military service),” Hobson said. “My motto is ‘no excuses.’ We can’t always prevent negative things from happening so the best we can do is plan ahead and see where life takes us from there.”