In the city of New Orleans, on November 10, 1943, the first United States monument of a woman in service uniform known as Molly Marine was dedicated. Commissioned by a local recruiter, the statue was to help recruit women during World War II.
Renowned artist Enrique Alferez, a Mexican immigrant who it is said wanted to be a Marine, donated his services. Due to wartime restrictions, the statue was cast in concrete with bits of marble and granite included in the mix.
The model for the statue was Marine Judy Mosgrove. Molly proudly stands 10 feet tall. Gazing up with her binoculars in hand, Molly appears to look to the future, the book she carries we can only guess that she records the proud history of those who have come after Opha Mae Johnson and keeps it secure for our future Marines.
Like our women Marines, Molly stands tall; she braves the storms and tribulations as the years march on. She is a steadfast example of being a Marine showing that no matter what she faces she keeps on track.
The Molly Marine Award given by WMA to a recruit woman at Parris Island is a honor for the recipient. This award, voted on by the recruits peers, goes to the Marine that best exemplifies the meaning of being a Marine. In early years recruits received a miniature Molly Marine statue and certificate. Given out now are a Molly Marine challenge coin and certificate, presented by Linda Priest, Capt (retired), the Molly Marine Liaison from the Phyllis Alexander Chapter SC-1 of WMA.
In 1998, the Molly Marine Restoration Society was formed by the Marine Corps League, Marine Support Group of New Orleans, and Women Marines Association (WMA) to restore and preserve Molly in perpetuity. The Molly Marines Restoration Society, co-chaired by Carol Mutter, LtGen (retired), is responsible for the maintenance of Molly.
The Molly Marine Chapter of WMA makes regular visits to the statue to assure that she is properly cared for and groomed. The original statue is located at the intersection of Canal and Elks Place Streets in New Orleans and is one of three Mollys. The two other replicas are located in Parris Island, SC and Quantico, VA.