MILITARY MATTERS: Author Tells Story of Marine Who Died While Breaking Barriers for Women in Combat

Published: Dec. 8, 2022 at 4:47 PM EST
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RAMADI, Iraq (WTVM) - If you’re looking for something to read or give as a gift this holiday season, a new book is now available about a marine hero who proved what women could do – and made the ultimate sacrifice.

The journey to tell her story started a dozen years ago, when an author was walking through Arlington National Cemetery.

“I walked by one of the white majestic headstones and it said: Be bold, Be brief, Be gone on the inscription, and the name was Major Megan McClung,” author Tom Sileo said.

And he’s now written a book about her called BE BOLD: How a Marine Corps Hero Broke Barriers for Women at War. Major Megan McClung was a public affairs officer with the Marines, and during the Iraq War.

“She loved taking the media out onto the battlefield, so they could see the progress,” Sileo told us.

Then on December 6, 2006 in the dangerous city of Ramadi, a roadside bomb made McClung the first ever female Naval Academy graduate to be killed in combat and “the highest ranking female Marine Corps officer ever killed in the Iraq War,” according to Sileo.

He added, “The historic nature of her sacrifice, I think, paved the way for this current generation of great service members.”

“No matter the mission, she was ready. It wasn’t a matter of male, female. She said the mission needs to be done, I’m qualified, I volunteered to do it,” former Deputy Public Affairs Officer COL Ricardo Player said.

“She had a very difficult journey just getting to the Naval Academy in the 1st place, which is in the book, a lot of barriers...challenges she had to break through,” Sileo explained.

This is the fifth book about military heroes by Sileo, a former WTVM producer, and it’s his first solo effort. The author says Be Bold, just out last month, takes us through her time in Annapolis in the Major McClung’s her convoy blown up when she was 36 years old.

Gunnery Sgt. Lynn Kinney, who served in the Marines with MAJ McClung, said, “She left an impact wherever she went, mostly because of her positive attitude and the embodiment of that can do spirit.”

Sileo also wrote and talked about her accomplishments: “Becoming a Marine Corps officer, a Major, really one of the most respected public affairs officers that the Marine Corps has ever had. They ended up naming a studio after her in Baghdad.”

And there’s a Defense Information School award named for her, given each year – just part of this female hero’s legacy.

“I have 2 daughters and they’re definitely gonna grow up learning about Megan and learning about those words,” Sileo said. “Be bold, be brief, be gone is how Megan McClung lived.”

Actor Gary Sinise endorsed the book, saying we’re “fortunate that we have extraordinary individuals like her who defend us all.” Be Bold is available wherever books are sold.