View Full Version : Woman Marine

09-08-02, 04:27 PM
Originally established as the Marine Corps Reserve (F) Female; on 8 August 1918, Mrs. Opha Mae Johnson became the first official woman Marine. During the W.W.I period, 305 women served as Marines. These women performed administrative duties at Headquarters, Marine Corps until 11 August 1919 when the Commandant ordered them to inactive status. On June 30 1919, Maj. Gen. Commandant Barnett said of the Woman Reservists, " It is a pleasure...to be able to state that the service rendered by the reservists, (female) has been uniformly excellent..."


Cpl. Martha Wilchinski, 1918. Ordely
to USN Cdr W.S.Anderson, USS
Arizona, North River NY.


USMCWR at typewriter 1943. Sgt
Helen L. Shurtleff. She "Freed A
Man To Fight"

On 7 Nov. 1942, the Commandant gave official approval for the formation of the Marine Corps Woman's Reserve. During the next three years, as many as 20,000 women served in the Corps. Said General Vandegrift, the Woman Reserves could "Feel responsible for putting the 6th Marine Division in the field; for without the women filling jobs throughout the Marine Corps, there would not have been sufficient men available to form that Division."

Woman Marines, mid 1960's. The Woman Marines became part of the official active duty establishment with the enlistment of the first eight women, all who had served as USMCWR's, on Nov. 10 1948. By 29 Nov. 1948, Parris Island had been designated as the location of Woman recruit training with the establishment of the Third Recruit Training Battalion, commanded by Capt. Margaret M. Henderson.


WR's at work maintaining a Marine B-25 aircraft at Cherry Point NC March, 1945

8,498 women currently serve on active duty in an ever widening number of jobs in the Corps of today. They provide the same service that America has come to expect from her Marines for over 200 years. All woman Marines undergo Recruit training at Parris Island SC., and with few exceptions, are held to the same training requirements and standards as men. Of interesting note, the Corps has never integrated the initial training of men and women, and it is looked at today as the model for which women in all branches of the Armed Forces will be trained in the future. Probably the most succinct quote which applies to these Marines came from Commandant Thomas Holcomb in the early years of W.W. II. It remains even more valid though today. "There's hardly any work at our Marine stations that women can't do as well as men...they're real Marines, They don't have a nickname, and they don't need one. They get their basic training in a Marine atmosphere, at a Marine post. They inherit the traditions of the Marines. They are Marines."


09-08-02, 04:32 PM

USMCWR Color Guard 28 Sep 1945 MCAS Cherry Point, NC.


Women of Mid 60's


A Woman Marine recruit of today on the rifle range.



USMCWR Uniforms 1944.