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WWII Bernice Trotter

Bernice Trotter


By Tim Stanley Tulsa World

bt2After four years, Bernice Trotter had long since come to terms with the fact that her brother was gone.

But as she stood there with her parents, watching his flag-draped casket being unloaded from the train, it felt almost like she was losing him all over again.

“Today the word we’d use is ‘surreal,’ ” Trotter said recently.

Describing the arrival of the remains of her brother, Franklin Pearson, back in Tulsa in 1949, she added, “Your first thought was that it just can’t be. It must be a mistake.”

Trotter, like her brother, had served in World War II. In fact, they had enlisted within a few weeks of each other — she with the Marines, he with the Army.

But unlike her brother, Trotter lived to see the war’s end.

The news that he’d been killed in action in Germany, she said, shook the family.

Even though Trotter — like most servicewomen at the time — was stationed stateside, far from combat zones, a kind of guilt would gnaw at her for a long time afterward, she said.

“I kept asking myself, ‘Why did I come home and he didn’t?’ ”

Fighting her way in

Before he wentbt4 overseas in ’44, Trotter and her brother posed for a photo together at the family home in Tulsa.

She brought it out during a recent interview with the Tulsa World.

In the picture, Franklin is dressed in his uniform, while Trotter, playfully, has donned his Army hat, which is too big and descends to conceal one of her eyes.

Arms around each other, sporting big grins, they couldn’t look happier.

“It’s the last one I have of him,” said Trotter, 92. Continue Reading »

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WMA Area 1 News


By Jamie DePaola

It has been a very busy few months in Area 1 since the 2016 Convention as we’ve been preparing for the Inaugural Connecticut Veterans Day Patriot Race in November. The WMA is co-hosting the event with the American Legion, the VFW, and the DAV.  When all is said and done, you can be sure that many will know the Women Marines have landed in Area 1.  The marketing blitz with hard copy brochures and social media, press releases and a live radio interview has promoted not just the race event, but the Women Marines Association.  Some of the other veteran organizations were not aware of our existence in this area until now.  All good news!

In September, I was invited to participate in a panel discussion at the Hartford Stage to discuss what it means to be a woman in the military.  On behalf of my sister Marines, I joined two other panelists who were from the CT Army National Guard and the U.S. Army.  This panel was hosted by the playwright of “Queens for a Year,” T. D. Mitchell (writer from the TV show “Army Wives”). The play received great reviews, and follows five generations of women Marines, so it only seemed fitting that a Marine be on this panel discussion.  It was quite the experience!

MCJROTC from Reading PA at Modern Day Marine.

MCJROTC from Reading PA at Modern Day Marine.

A few weeks later, I was asked to support the Modern Day Marine 2016 Expo in Quantico and I was fortunate to work with the impressive VA-1 Chapter team on the first of the three-day Expo.  It was an honor to work with Area 2 and witness, firsthand, their commitment to the annual MDM.  I learned that Area 3 and 10 also participate in the MDMs at Camp Lejeune and Camp Pendleton, respectively, each year.  As much as I envied them for this opportunity, I also gained tremendous respect and admiration for their commitment to work these long days each year at the MDM Expos.  (OOHRAH Ladies from Area 1!)  We met many active duty Marines, many Marine Corps League members (MCL is the host of these annual Expo’s), some MCJROTC cadets and quite a few civilians; and we communicated to all of them about the WMA and about our Centennial celebration in 2018.  Most of them were not aware of the WMA nor about the 100th anniversary in two years.  This proved to be a successful investment to promote our organization.  We especially focused on meeting the women Marines and thanking them for their service.  It was a proud day for us to be in the presence of these amazing Marines!



Another favorite Area 1 quote:  “We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided. ~ J.K. Rowling

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The Power Within

The Power Within

By Brianna Renner

“This is recruit Power.”
“Cookie? I love you!”
“ I have arrived safely at Parris Island.”
“We love you so much!”
“Please do not send any food or bulky items to me in the mail.”
“Ok. I will write to you every day!”
“I will contact you in 3 to 5 days by postcard with my new address.”
“Ok. We will look for it. We love you!”
“Thank you for your support. Good bye for now.”
“We love you and will see you…”

            Phone Home

                                     Phone Home

Continue Reading »


Free A Man to Fight

Marine Corps Women Reserve

Marine Base San Diego  1943-1946

Free A Man to Fight

Free A Man to Fight


By Rick Huenefeld and Barbara McCurtis


‘Free a Man to Fight’ – the  call to arms in  February 1943 when the Women’s Reserve (WR) of the United States Marine Corps was activated.  The first WR reported to Marine Corps Base (MCB) San Diego in September 1943 and more arrived virtually every week.   By February 1944 there were 3000 WR serving in the San Diego area, at MCB, with Marine Air units at North Island, at Camp Elliot (now MCAS Miramar), Camp Mathews (now the site of the University of California at San Diego), and a myriad of smaller postings through the county.  

One of the members of CA-2, Fairy Virginia  “Tex” Cornwell  remembers going to Texas to enlist and then taking the train to boot camp. She says that is how she earned her lifelong nickname. “Tex” had been working for one of the oil companies before her enlistment, and the Marine Corps seized on her experience and sent her to Camp Pendleton after boot camp to run the Motor Pool. “Tex” said she was only at her new job for a day or two when she the Commanding General at MCRD San Diego ordered her to the base to run his motor pool. Continue Reading »

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What it Means to Be a Woman in the Military

Jamie DePaola, WMA National Board Member, Area 1 Director participated in the panel discussion, “What it means to be a woman in the military”

Jamie B. DePaola

2016-jaimeServed January 1975 to February 1999, both active duty and reserve in the 01 Administrative MOS and retired as a Battalion Sergeant Major for 6th MT, 4th FSSG. Other assignments were at HQMC for the Assistant Commandant before transferring to the reserves.  she served with 4th Force Recon, 24th Marines, 6th Engineers, and deployed with 25th Marines for the Gulf War as the Regimental S-1 Chief.

After retirement, wass the Director of Admissions for a private school where her duties included recruitment of students in grades 6 – 12.  In one year, she increased enrollment by 47%.  She also performed the duties of the Marketing Director for the school.

Following her retirement from the Corps she volunteered for the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation’s (MCSF) New York Leatherneck Ball and later was elected as one of their Vice Presidents.  

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Renewal Time

A Time for Renewal

A Shared message from the 2nd Vice President

By Tracy Crow

WMA 2nd Vice President

Displaying Tracy Crow bio photo.jpg

Tracy Crow WMA 2nd Vice President 2016-2018

As a writer, I have a tendency toward viewing life as a series of unfolding metaphors. Nothing happens by coincidence, and the magic and beauty of synchronicity leave me breathless at least once a day. Most of these synchronistic moments surface from the natural world, so it’s little wonder the indigenous ones turned toward nature for answers.

Autumn, for example, reminds us of the impermanence of the world. Autumn signals a letting go, a shedding of what will no longer serve us in the coming days. Transformation calls for change—sometimes an inward, reflective look at the parts of ourselves that no longer suit who we have become, or who we wish or need to become.

I’m not sure how conscious I was of autumn on a cool, recent Friday evening as I sat outside on my back porch under the harvest moon, the last harvest moon by the way until 2024, and answered a slew of emails related to WMA business. But for some reason, I did become conscious of the rising cicada song all around me.

I set down my smartphone to listen and marvel at the synchronicity of the metaphor. You see, cicadas never sing alone. Cicadas sing in harmony with one another. Cicadas represent teamwork. Cicadas represent patience. Cicadas are the only insect in the insect kingdom that choose their exact moment of birth. Cicadas willingly live underground, attuned to the internal pressures from the outside world, adapting until they sense the perfect synchronistic conditions for their birth—one that will usher forth a renewal for coming generations

And just like that the future of WMA became clear to me. We have been working underground, so to speak, for generations, supporting one another, waiting on the perfect moment for a birth that will provide a renewal for generations. From the outside, we’re sensing pressures to adapt, to become something other than what we are.

But a cicada doesn’t try to become a grasshopper.

The cicada merely waits for the perfect moment of birth to become a useful cicada—a teamplayer in the harmonic song that leads to the renewal of another generation.

I believe WMA’s perfect moment of birth/renewal is now. As the Corps seeks ways to effectively integrate women in new roles our Corps needs us now more than ever. Our young active duty women need us now more than ever. Our youngest women veterans who struggle with reintegration after experiencing combat or other traumas need us now more than ever.

And as your new 2VP, I look forward to working harmonically with you in ways that will honor the wisdom we collectively bring forth in this new era, and the uplifting we will be called upon to offer in the years ahead.


Tracy can be reached at 2VP@womenmarines.org

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Portland 2016

Women Marines Association

Bridge to the Future

Portland logo
The 29th Biennial Women Marines Association (WMA) Convention and Professional Development Conference was held in Portland, OR. The theme, Bridge to the Future, highlighted the host city of Portland, Or., and the great strides women have made in the Corps in the past and our movement forward as doors continue to open. Marines past and present were in attendance and enjoyed the camaraderie that has always been shared. Keynote speakers were General Robert Neller, Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, and Brigadier General Helen Pratt Commanding General, FHG, Marine Forces Reserves in New Orleans, Louisiana and current president of the Marine Corps University.


Brigidier General Helen Pratt and Cpl Slater -Marine of the Year

The Conference started off with the “Rose Bowl” as the kick off to the next 4 days. It was a time to meet, mingle and enjoy before the business of WMA began. General Helen Pratt was the guest speaker at the Opening Banquet and talked about the changes that have occurred but spoke of the importance of such organizations as WMA for all women to know our past as we step forward into the future. We ended with a motivating speech by General Neller that focused on where we are headed and the legacy and the contributions of female Marines to the Corps from all generations. Both were gracious to speak to the Marines in attendance and pose for pictures. We were also honored to have Brigadier General Lori Reynolds and Carol Mutter (LtGen Ret) in attendance Continue Reading »