Growing up in a family with many veterans and active duty service members, combined with growing up near the United States Naval Academy (USNA), Severna Park native Madeline Zell Calves was naturally drawn to military service.
Calves graduated from Severna Park High School in 2011 and began her tenure at USNA later that year.
“My family sponsored midshipmen, and when I met one of 'our mids,' Jessica, I started to see USNA as a place I might like to attend too,” Calves said.
Though she originally thought she wanted to be a pilot in the Navy, Calves changed her mind while at USNA due to her height.
“I chose to commission into the Marine Corps at the beginning of my senior year because of the leadership opportunities and warrior ethos,” she said. “The Marine Corps advertises high expectations of its junior officers in leading Marines, and I was eager to accept the challenge.”
Based out of Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, Calves is a communications officer for an infantry battalion and was recently promoted to the rank of captain. Currently on deployment in Japan, she leads a platoon of more than 60 Marines.
“Since I am the only communication officer in the battalion, I get to play a key role in making sure each mission has the communication capabilities and support it needs,” she said. “I've learned a lot about radio frequencies, antennas, satellites, virtual networks, servers and cybersecurity since graduation.”
Previous to her current role, Calves was a platoon commander and company operations officer.
Calves is in a unique position because is able to serve in the Marine Corps with her husband, David. Though they both attended USNA at the same time, they did not meet until after graduation while attending the Marine Corps Basic Officer Course in Quantico, Virginia. Originally from West Windsor, New Jersey, David is also based at Camp Lejeune. He is platoon commander and company executive officer. The Calves married at the USNA chapel in January 2018.
Though she has served all over the world, Madeline Calves is drawn to her roots in Severna Park.
“I had a great time growing up there and would love to settle down in Severna Park after the military,” she said.
Her parents continue to live in Severna Park, and her sister is a senior at Severna Park High School. Her brothers also live in the area. Madeline Calves is proud to continue her family’s legacy by serving in the military.
“I'm very glad I went to USNA and joined the Marine Corps,” she said. “If I could go back in time, I wouldn't change a thing.”