Building a Legacy of Service: U.S. Marine Corps Officer Hannah Montague ’13


Pine Crest Upper School proudly welcomed U.S. Marine Corps Combat Engineer Officer Hannah Montague ’13 as the guest speaker on Veterans Day.

Hannah is a lifer, having spent 14 years at Pine Crest after joining the community as a pre-kindergarten student. As an Upper School student, she was an athlete competing on the cross country and track teams and was a member of the three-year science research program. She was also heavily involved in community service work, earning her an Honorable Mention in the Miami Herald Silver Knight Awards in 2013. After graduation, she matriculated at Wake Forest University, declaring a major in biology and a minor in Russian language.

Not originally expecting to follow in the footsteps of both of her grandfathers and her cousin, Hannah decided to pursue a career in the armed forces.

“My grandfathers were both in the Air Force, and my cousin recently retired from the Navy,” she said. ”Every service has a different mission, culture, and community. The Marine Corps is a good fit for me.”

After graduating from Wake Forest and completing Officer Candidates School, Hannah earned her commission as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps. She then went on to her follow-on training, ultimately earning the designation of “Combat Engineer Officer.” Hannah then received orders to the First Combat Engineer Battalion aboard Camp Pendleton, California, from which she deployed to sea as a Platoon Commander in support of First Battalion, Fourth Marines and the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Today, Hannah is stationed at Officer Candidates School in Quantico, Virginia, where she currently serves as an instructor.

“I have served with many leaders and Marines throughout my time that have inspired me and served as mentors,” she said. “I am not sure if I will transition out of the military and step into life as a civilian, but I feel the work I do now is a privilege. In teaching, I find myself focusing on the idea that we must show trust in others before it can be earned in return. It has been humbling and rewarding.”

Reflecting on her time at Pine Crest, Hannah’s mother Naomi, who joined her on campus for the presentation, said that Hannah developed a drive to serve as a Pine Crest student.

“She is naturally driven to serve her community,” she said. “Her Pine Crest teachers and peers inspired her drive to support and help advance others.”

When speaking to Upper School students, Hannah recognized the importance of her Pine Crest faculty mentors, including President Dr. Dana Markham ’18H, who has served as a positive influence on her life since pre-kindergarten. Hannah’s energy and passion for her work within the Marine Corps resonated with the whole audience. Her booming presence showcased the strength and determination necessary to obtain a successful career in the military. Students marveled at Hannah’s lack of microphone usage in Stacy Auditorium when presenting her story, and were captivated by the path she took after being in their seats nearly a decade ago. Lindsey Keyes ’24, was intrigued by the fact that “Hannah has accomplished so much in only a few years after graduating from Pine Crest,” and that “Hannah’s career is unlike any other she ever imagined, requiring such strength, drive, and dedication.”

Hannah’s former English instructor, Mrs. Marisa Ortega said, “I was not at all surprised to see Hannah command the attention of our entire student body with her dynamic presentation. As a student, she impacted my classroom with her infectious charisma and passion to embrace every challenge before her because she knew conquering that challenge would fuel her with the skills to conquer the next obstacle. When I saw her in Stacy Auditorium, she immediately began to recite the Lady Macbeth monologue she performed in Shakespeare Out Loud in 2013. She still remembered it perfectly, and dressed in her official Marine uniform, she harnessed the force of Lady Macbeth’s persuasive skills, but with her own unique power of positive energy and a punctuating smile. I believe Hannah was born into leadership!”

“Hannah is exactly what I would have expected from her,” said Coach Paul Baur, Pine Crest Cross Country and Track and Field Program Director. “She was an incredibly selfless person and leader while at Pine Crest and always put others first. Whether someone was doing great or having a bad day or race, Hannah would be the first one there to support them. She always put others first and was very passionate about what she did. For her to lead a group of Marines as a female and at such a young age says so much about her character and leadership. She has earned everything she worked for.”