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 women have made to the Corps. Molly 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, PFCs Kirstin Estep and Jessica Kennedy who’ve been honored with the additional title Molly Marine.
PFC Kirstin Estep, St. Albans, WV, Plt 4002, N Company
“When thinking about being chosen as Molly Marine, I get chills. Everything about the Marine Corps just amazes me. From the way they dress, to the way they walk. Their Honor, Courage, and Commitment to be the first in and the last out in every life situation is astonishing. A Marine is selfless, fearless, motivated and in my mind held to the highest of pedestals. That’s why being chosen as Molly Marine is phenomenal, because not only are you a Marine, but you’re a female Marine. You’re part of the best of the best. The fewer, the prouder. Out of all the military branches, the Marine Corps has the least percentage of women. Female Marines are expected to maintain the same standards as the males, although in my mind being a female Marine is an achievement of a lifetime. Females hold themselves to a higher standard. They have to push themselves harder and stay more motivated with each passing day.
To me a Molly Marine not only meets and keeps the standards of being a female Marine, but she also excels at everything she does. Always putting her best foot forward and giving 100% all day, everyday. To me a Molly Marine is a prime example of what everyone should strive to be. A Molly Marine should be caring, well rounded, selfless, team player, and an all around courageous good woman. A woman who expresses and lives by the Marine Corps Core Values. A Molly Marine is a woman who is always faithful, to herself as well as the ones around her. People like the Molly Marines are part of the reason why I joined the Marine Corps.
Another reason for me joining was not only to better my life, but to make others lives easier as well. During recruit training I’ve learned a lot, and still continue to keep learning. The transformation from being a blurry eyed, scared civilian to being transformed into our nation’s finest warriors all begins at the yellow footprints. From that very point the Marine Corps starts tearing down individuals to rebuild them as one team, one unit. Everything in recruit training has a purpose. It all boils down to your attitude, your mindset. Being able to accept the training, intensity and discipline, and adapting to it. To be able to do the best of your abilities each and every day. According to some others from the platoon, those are parts of the reason they chose me as Molly Marine.
Being chosen as Molly Marine is an amazing feeling. It’s difficult to put into words. It feels pretty good to know that the platoon sees how much I care, and how hard I work everyday. I don’t need special recognition to know how much effort I put into everyday. Even without being awarded Molly Marine I would still continue to press on. I always try to think to be the person I would want to lead me. I admit to not being the most vocal, but I try to lead by setting the example and doing the right thing, even when no one is there to see. I try to show others that they will always have someone to lean on in times of need, to keep pushing others to not give up and continue to press on even though I’m struggling myself. Being a part of a team is the best feeling in the world. So joining the Marines was the best decision of my life. I am greatly honored to have been chosen as Molly Marine. It’s something that will continue to carry with me throughout this journey in life.”
PFC Jessica Kennedy, Lompoc, CA, Plt 4003, N Company
“I was always told that being a Marine is a title that is earned never given. As a recruit here at Parris Island, the moment I stepped off that bus and on those yellow foot prints, I could truly see the meaning of E in earning that tile as a United States Marine. I came here to be trained and transformed into a Marine, so no matter how much it hurt or how tired I may have been I was going to strive to be the best. However while in the process of doing so I found myself in a bond, more like “sisterhood” within this platoon.
Even though we have all had our moments here at boot camp, I’d like to think I was here to help push this platoon and keep each other focused on why being a Marine is something EARNED, so even through the toughest PTs or brutal tests, putting forth all that effort and staying positive was something I’d like to say I rubbed off on and helped get my fellow recruits through those rough spots here in boot camp. Women Marines are the fewer and prouder due to the fact that there aren’t many willing to take that challenge.
Being here in recruit training I’ve been known to many as the Mother of the platoon or the Lioness, both titles aren’t what I would have expected, but nonetheless, the titles are an accomplishment in my eyes, because I have some way impacted my fellow recruits here in boot camp. With that being said, there was another title to be given, and that is “Molly Marine,” an unselfish, strong, driven and determined Woman Marine. I was chosen by my platoon as being that “Molly.” It is a true honor and a proud feeling to be seen as such a great female in history. Yet somehow I owe a lot of my change in character and my ways of helpings others not only from the Drill Instructors but from my “sisters” I have made here at boot camp. They have motivated me and helped transform me into being this caring, unselfish, detailed oriented, striving nonstop recruit to the end.
To me “Molly Marine” is an unthinkable achievement. Nevertheless, this recruit feels that it’s earning that Eagle, Globe, and Anchor as a FEMALE through the sweat, blood, tears, screams and exhaustion, and that firing determination of will-power for that Title, no matter what. On the other hand this training is not over yet and there is still more for this “Molly” to learn and pass onto my fellow Marines. At this point, being acknowledged as “Molly” has me even more motivated to help show, share, and bring out of not only myself but also out of my “sisters.” The passion and blessing of earning not only the title as Molly Marine but as one of the fewer and prouder female Marines we are all striving to become here at Parris Island. In conclusion, being honored with such a title, I will never stop striving to do the best in any opportunity or challenge faced with helping others through the rest of boot camp and throughout the Marine Corps.”
NOTE: PFC Kennedy was also selected as the HONOR graduate for her platoon at graduation.