It was 13 February 1943 when women were officially instituted as part of the Marine Corps. Though women have served their country honorably in the Corps since 1918 it was not until 1943 that the Women Reserves became an official part of Marine Corps.
On its first-year anniversary, 13 February 1944, a message from President Franklin D. Roosevelt read: The nation is as proud of you as of your fellow Marines — for Marine women are upholding the brilliant traditions of the Corps with a spirit of loyalty and diligence worthy of the highest admiration of all Americans. You have quickly and efficiently taken over scores of different kinds of duties that not long ago were considered strictly masculine assignments; and in doing so, you have freed a large number of well-trained, battle-ready men of the corps for action . . . .
Today women make up 6% of the Marine Corps. They join the elite ranks of those who have earned the title Marine with the same determination and love of Corps as those from the past. The legacy lives on in the spirit and Corps values that were instilled in these women as they became Marines. Speaking for the vast majority of those women who served are members of the Women Marines Association: “Being a Marine is not something that one did for a few years. Marine is who we became the day we earned our title and is never taken lightly, never forgotten and never set aside. The Corps values that were passed on from our predecessors of honor, courage and commitment are an integral part of our lives today and will continue to be the foundation we build upon for future generations.”
The Women Marines Association, formed in 1960, is the only non-profit veterans’ organization for women who have served or are currently serving honorably in the United States Marine Corps. Marines, known for taking care of their own, work to promote the welfare of fellow veterans within local communities and wherever help is needed. They will celebrate their camaraderie, their history and their future September 1-5 in Louisville, Ky at the 24th Biennial WMA Convention and Professional Development Conference. This conference is open to all women who have earned the title Marine and their guests.