The city of New Orleans dedicated the first United States monument of a woman in service uniform: “Molly Marine” November 10, 1943. A local recruiter commissioned the statue to help recruit women during World War II. For female Marines around the world, Molly has come to represent the countless significant contributions they have made to the Corps. She has become a symbol of esprit de corps for all women Marines. Just before graduation from boot camp, the female recruits are asked to name one woman within their platoon who best exemplifies esprit de corps. Here, we celebrate two of our newest sisters, Privates First Carol Viray and Private First Class Rebecca Clark, who’ve been recognized as Molly Marines.
PFC Rebecca Clark, Platoon 4031, N Company, Lakebay, WA
“For me the physical, mental and emotional training for boot camp started long before I stepped foot on those infamous yellow footprints. I was raised in the foster care system and, at a young age, learned the importance of self reliance. My younger brother and I were moved around quite a bit during the first decade of my life but there is no doubt in my mind that every moment we experienced, in every household we were placed, prepared me for the challenges I face today. In all honesty, I thought I was prepared for boot camp. It wasn’t even 24 hours into being on this island that I realized how wrong I was. Phase One was rough; I didn’t realize that drill instructors could yell for so long… and so loud… Many mornings the only thing that kept me going was realizing that the recruit next to me was still going and my stubbornness wouldn’t let me quit. As the hours turned into days and days into weeks my mindset went from “if she can do it then so can I” to “there is no way in hell I am leaving her behind.” It is amazing how strong the bonds that you develop in boot camp are. This wonderfully dysfunctional family I have spent the last few months with will be one that I will never forget. All 70 of my new sisters know more about me than most of my friends back home. No matter how strict the drill instructors are I know that there will never be a team of women who can push me to my limits, day after day, and still encourage (in their special drill instructor way) me to keep going. These girls have seen me at my worst, they’ve seen me broken and yet they still chose me for the Molly Marine award. I cannot express how honored I am.”
Private Carol Viray, Platoon 4030, N Company, Jacksonville, NC
“…As boot camp progressed, my attitude began to change. I began to talk to the other recruits and know them at a personal level. I began to walk in their shoes and understand why they act the way they do. I noticed that I wanted to help other recruits because I was disturbed to see them struggle. They became my family that I did not want to disappoint them. My sisters are part of my transformation into a Marine. I gave myself the role of a helping hand. This self-responsibility grew into a desire for more self-improvement. I began to strive to be the best recruit that I could be…I will make mistakes but I am determined to learn from them. That is what the platoon sees in me, I believe. It is not that I am “Molly Marine” but it is my fortitude to be like Molly Marine.”