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Mosul, Iraq, native earns title Marine on Parris Island

By Lance Cpl. Aaron Bolser Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island

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Pfc. Amanda H. Issa prepares for a graduation ceremony Sept. 30, 2016, on Parris Island, S.C. Issa, 21, from Madison Heights, Mich., grew up in Mosul, Iraq, and moved to the U.S. in May 2011. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Carlin Warren)
Pfc. Amanda H. Issa prepares for a graduation ceremony Sept. 30, 2016, on Parris Island, S.C. Issa, 21, from Madison Heights, Mich., grew up in Mosul, Iraq, and moved to the U.S. in May 2011. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Carlin Warren)
Pfc. Amanda H. Issa prepares for a graduation ceremony Sept. 30, 2016, on Parris Island, S.C. Issa, 21, from Madison Heights, Mich., grew up in Mosul, Iraq, and moved to the U.S. in May 2011. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Carlin Warren)
Mosul, Iraq, native ships to Marine boot camp on Parris Island
Pfc. Amanda H. Issa prepares for a graduation ceremony Sept. 30, 2016, on Parris Island, S.C. Issa, 21, from Madison Heights, Mich., grew up in Mosul, Iraq, and moved to the U.S. in May 2011. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Carlin Warren)
Photo By: Lance Cpl. Carlin Warren
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As 600 more U.S. troops are headed to help retake Mosul, Iraq, from the Islamic State group, the Issa family knows all too well the dangers of the area.


The Issa family escaped Mosul because of the rising threat of the Islamic State group. They stayed in a refugee camp in Turkey for almost a year before moving to Michigan in 2011, a move made for the hope of better education and more opportunities for the three children. 

Amanda Issa, a teenager when she moved to the U.S., referred to the Marines she saw in Mosul as heroes. Now, a Marine private first class herself, she wears the same Eagle, Globe, and Anchor and has the potential to be a hero for another little girl. She graduated in the top 10 in her high school and went on to earn an associates degree in global studies from Oakland Community College before enlisting in the Marine Corps.

On Jan. 19, 2016, she stepped on Parris Island's iconic yellow footprints only to be injured a month later on a conditioning hike. The injury was bad enough that doctors told her she could be medically separated. She fought that prospect and ended up returning to training and eventually graduating with Platoon 4034, Papa Company, 4th Recruit Training Battalion, on Sept. 30, 2016. 

“Now, to be called a Marine is unbelievable,” she said shortly after making the Oath of Allegiance during a naturalization ceremony. “Yeah, being a U.S. citizen is great, but I came here to be a Marine.”