HARTFORD, Conn., -- The Sagebiel sisters are nothing short of rare.
Gunnery Sgt. Ann Sagebiel and Staff Sgt. Amanda Sagebiel have both risen to prominent leadership positions in rank and title in the Marine Corps. The Houston, Texas natives are both staff noncommissioned officers. They also both hold a position of authority while serving on independent duty.
Ann serves as the detachment commander for the Marine Security Guard Detachment, Baghdad, Iraq. Marines serving on MSG duty have the mission of providing protection to mission personnel and preventing the compromise of national security information, equipment, and designated diplomatic and consular facilities. Ann’s job focuses on commanding and administering the detachment to control and supervise the Marines.
“Being a Detachment Commander is nothing but a privilege,” Ann said. “MSGs are the face of America abroad, and we positively represent America and our Marine Corps to the world.”
Amanda serves as the station commander for Recruiting Substation Hartford, Recruiting Station Springfield. Marine recruiters have the job of screening potential applicants and preparing them for boot camp, and service in the Marines. Amanda’s job focuses on training and managing the Marine recruiters in her station.
“Basically, my job is to oversee my recruiters and ensure they are being positive public figures,” Amanda said. “Obviously our job is to recruit and enlist people, but it is also making sure that the community knows that the Marine Corps is a good thing.”
Both sisters enlisted at a young age. Ann enlisted at 18, shortly after high school. Ann said her great aunt served as a WAVE in WWII, and that inspired her to enlist in the armed forces. She said she was 10 years old during the first Gulf War and watching the troops on TV furthered her desire to serve.
“I remember watching the troops on the news on TV and passing military convoys on the highway,” Ann said. “Every time I saw someone in uniform, I felt like I wanted to be a part of that when I grew up.
“I joined the Marine Corps to serve my country, plain and simple.”
Amanda, who is three years younger than Ann, tried college for a year and a half before enlisting at 19.
“That’s what I thought you were supposed to do,” Amanda said. “But after a year and a half I realized it was not for me.”
Amanda said her older sister and brother, who also served as a Marine, inspired her to enlist.
“I didn’t know females could be Marines until my sister joined,” she said. “Just seeing where she had been, all the experiences she had and how she had changed made me want to enlist.”
Now both sisters have each spent around a decade serving their country. Ann is approaching 15 years of service, while Amanda is just short of 10 years. However, it was not until recently that the two realized their parallel accomplishments.
“The fact that we are both in charge had never occurred to me until Amanda brought it up recently,” Ann said. “We’re just doing what we do and doing our jobs. We got where we are by working hard. Maybe it makes us rare to be sisters who are SNCOs and on independent duty.”
“To be honest I never thought of it as significant until Col. Dill (the commanding officer of 1st Marine Corps District) said it,” Amanda said. “To us we are just sisters doing our job. When Col. Dill explained it the way he did… maybe we are just a little bit rare.”