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A century of solidarity: Celebrating 100 years of women serving in the Marine Corps

100 Years of Women in the Marine Corps

Photo By Alina F Thackray | U.S. Marine Corps graphic illustration, depicts a century of solidarity: Celebrating 100 years of women serving in the Marine Corps since Opha May Johnson, the first of more than 300 women who enlisted into the Marine Corps on Aug. 13, 1918. Over the course of the past century, women serving in the Marine Corps have surpassed the restrictions of administrative roles, to every corner of the Marine Corps. (U.S. Marine Corps Illustration by Cpl. Alina Thackray)

CAMP PENDLETON, CA, UNITED STATES

Story by Sgt. Justin Huffty 

15th Marine Expeditionary Unit  

A century of solidarity: Celebrating 100 years of women serving in the Marine Corps

By Sgt. Justin Huffty, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. — On August 13, 1918, Pvt. Opha May Johnson became the first in a line of just over 300 women to join the United States Marine Corps. Today, exactly 100 years later, women are continuing that legacy, helping the Marine Corps progress in leaps and bounds. Since 1918, the Marine Corps has discovered that when dealing with a Marine’s sense of pride and work ethic, men and women have no differences.

Pvt. Opha May Johnson, a native of Kokomo, Indiana, was 39 years old when she signed up. She moved to Washington D.C. with her family when she was 6 years old. At age 20, she married Victor Hugo Johnson, a musical conductor. She was a graduate of the shorthand and typing department of Wood’s Commercial College. Afterwards she began working in civil service with the Interstate Commerce Commission.

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Henderson Hall Birthday Ball

MC Ball Speech for H&S BN 16 Nov 2018

 By Rhonda Amtower

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         Thank you Colonel Couch for inviting me to join you and Sgt Major to the Battalion’s celebration of the 243rd birthday of our Corps.  I am very honored to be here tonight to be among fellow Marines to speak about the Commemoration of the “100 Years of women’s service in the Marine Corps.”

          I would also like to thank my husband Jim a retired Navy Veteran for being here with me this evening.  He is proud to be a part of the Navy/Marine Corps team although we continue to get asked by friends on how that relationship works.  J   But he has a standard answer that seems to satisfy everyone…. “As long as I do what she tells me, when she tells me to do it, there is no problem.  All I can say is “good answer”!  

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We Tend the Fields

WE TEND THE FIELDS

WOMEN IN WARTIME: TRIBUTE TO WOMEN OF WWI

8 NOVEMBER 2018

By Michelle J. Howard

In Flanders fields the poppies blow, between the crosses, row on row…

So starts the popular poem from World War One.  In May 1915, Canadian Doctor John McCrae had lost his friend to an artillery shell.  Colonel McCrae substituted in the absence of a Chaplain at his friend’s memorial.  It’s said he wrote the short poem, In Flanders Fields, in just a few hours, the morning after the memorial service.

Some have commented about the act of writing something so powerful in such a short timeframe.  I marvel that someone in combat, found a few hours of peace, and was able to focus, and write.  I think about those poppies blooming between the crosses.  They had to be staring hard at Doctor McCrae.  He had to of turn his back on them,

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102-year-old female WWII Marine

102-year-old female WWII Marine among honorees at Souderton Area High School veterans brunch

Grace Bergman

Grace Bergman, WWII Marine with bouquet presented by Souderton Area High School Interact and Support Our Troops Clubs. Bergaman is 102. Photo by Bob Keeler – Digital first Media.

 

 

FRANCONIA — With this being the third year the Interact and Support Our Troops clubs at Souderton Area High School held a get-together with local veterans for Veterans Day, there were “a lot of familiar faces,” Lindsey Pazdziorko, president of the Support Our Troops Club, said.

“But then, there’s a lot of new faces we haven’t seen before, which is really nice,” Abby Tammaro, president of the Interact Club, said.

“It seems like the word is spreading about it,” Pazdziorko said. “A lot of people are enjoying it, so we’re getting more turnout.”

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100 Years of Women in the Corps

 

Celebrating 100 Years of Women in the Corps

USMC Women's Centennial Logo

This year marks the centennial of women serving in the United States Marine Corps. Throughout our history, women have served with courage and distinction in the Corps in defense of our Nation’s freedom.  We recognize and celebrate the many ways that women’s history has become woven into the fabric of our nation’s story.

According to Marine Corps lore, the first woman to wear the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor in service to her country was Lucy Brewer. Disguised as a man, she allegedly served in the Marine Detachment aboard the USS Constitution during the War of 1812.

Almost 100 years later in August 1918, the Secretary of the Navy granted authority to enroll women for clerical duty in the Marine Corps Reserve. On 13 August 1918, Opha May Johnson enlisted and became the first official Woman Marine. During the remainder of World War I, 305 women enlisted to “free a man to fight.”

More than 20 years later during World War II, roughly 1,000 officers and 18,000 enlisted women served, led by Col Ruth C. Streeter. During the last year of the war, all available male Marines were battling the Japanese in the Pacific. In their absence, Women Marines represented over half of the personnel at Marine Corps bases in the continental United States.

In 1948 Congress passed the Women’s Armed Forces Integration Act, which authorized women in the regular component of the Marine Corps. Currently, more than six percent of today’s Marines are women and can be found serving across the globe in numerous Military Occupational Specialties.

For more information on women in the Marine Corps, please view the timeline below and visit our exhibits in the WWIWWIIKorea, and Vietnam galleries as well as the Museum Store.

 

Reblogged from the National Museum of the Marine

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Supporting the Women Marines Association

The Mission Never Stops

It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself…Serve and thou shall be served.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

women1The Women Marines Association (WMA) is a non-profit charitable 501(c)3 organization comprised of women who have or are currently serving honorably in the United States Marine Corps. 

WMA’S MISSION STATEMENT

To preserve and promote the history and traditions of women in the Marine Corps from World War I to the present; to conduct programs for charitable and educational purposes; to promote the welfare and well-being of elderly, disabled, and needy women Marine veterans, as well as women currently serving in the Marine Corps; to provide entertainment, care, and assistance to hospitalized veterans and members of the Armed Forces of the United States; to sponsor or participate in activities of a patriotic nature, particularly those that perpetuate the tradition and esprit de corps of the United States Marine Corps; and to foster the spirit of comradeship of women who have served or who now serve in the United States Marine Corps, regular or reserve components.

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WMA National President Birthday Greeting

FROM THE OFFICE OF RHONDA AMTOWER

WMA National President

PresAmtower

10 November 2018

243rd Birthday Greeting

Marines and Loyal Escorts,

As we join the celebration of our Corps’ 243rd Birthday we stop to realize that women have been a part of this proud history for 100 years.  Since 1918 when Opha May Johnson became the first woman to enlist in the U. S. Marine Corps, women have played a crucial role in our Corps’ history.  The contributions we made helped to make us an indispensable part of the Marine team.

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