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News | Dec. 15, 2023

From Enlistment to Promotion: A Story of Sustained Friendship and Army Success

By Mackenzie Leonard Seattle Recruiting Battalion

When Karrie Marton learned she was being promoted to Colonel, she instantly knew who she wanted to pin her—her recruiter and now close friend, Kelly Parsons. Now working as the Soldier and Family Assistance Program Manager for the Seattle Army Recruiting Battalion, Parsons was Marton’s recruiter when she enlisted in the early 1990s.  

“I promoted her the first time,” recalls Parsons. “So she wanted me to do it the last time.”  

While some Soldiers lose track of their recruiters over time, Parsons and Marton have maintained a close friendship spanning more than 30 years and meaningful turns in their lives.  

After her initial enlistment in the Army Reserve, Marton commissioned as an active-duty Army logistics officer in 1996. She transferred back to the Reserve in the early 2000s to spend time with family in the Pacific Northwest. Meanwhile, Parsons separated from the Army as an E-7 and began to serve at the Seattle Recruiting Battalion, aiding the recruiters whose needs she knows from experience.   

Over the years, the two have remained in persistent contact. In one example from this fall, Ms. Parsons texted her, “There’s always something to be thankful for on Thanksgiving.”   

Marton’s response: “Yes there is, and my friendship with you is one of them.”  

Theirs is a story of two women quietly providing mutual support that enables them to excel in ways they may not have done alone. Marton’s promotion ceremony was a chance to circle back to the beginning. 

“I wanted to have my promotion ceremony at the Seattle MEPS because this is where it first started,” Marton says. “If I never would have taken the first step and called my recruiter, I would not be where I am today. As nervous as I was when I originally enlisted, I am glad that I trusted the process and trusted my recruiter.” 

Parsons pinned the Colonel rank on her long-time friend on October 31, before an emotional audience of Marton’s family and friends. In the front row was a framed photograph of Marton’s twin sister, Kimmie, who passed away in 2021.  

After the ceremony, Parsons gave a recruiter’s assessment of her star applicant.   

“She’s gone farther than any other applicant I ever put in the Army,” she says. “To anyone who wants a career, she proves that it can work.”  



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