Headquarters Directive Writes End After Nearly Three Years at MCB
By PFC. Paul E. Bragdon
With few exceptions, all WR’s at MCB will be off this compound by next Wednesday, a bulletin from Marine Corps Headquarters, Washington, revealed this week, in a sweeping move which came as a surprise to most Base observers.
The official pronouncement provides that most enlisted women will be separated by May 15, regardless of points, except those with certain clerical warrants who signify a willingness to remain in the Corps until Sept. 1, 1946. Personnel in the latter category will be transferred either to Washington, D. C, or to San Francisco, it was disclosed. Indications were that only a handful of WR’s will remain on this station after the deadline. These include women assigned to the Rehabilitation Office, 11th Naval District, the Military Reservation Bureau, San Diego, Paymaster personnel, and several officers assigned to specialized rields here. OFFICERS’ MOVE KNOWN The move followed widespread speculation in regard to the fate of the battalion this month, as the line officers of the organization had previously been scheduled for discharge or transfer next week. IstLt. Janice Hale, who has commanded the much- publicized women’s unit here since the departure of Maj. Dorothy Miller two months ago, will be transferred to Henderson Hall, Washington, D. C, she disclosed. Her immediate subordinates, 2dLts. Mary Elizabeth Cook and Julia Henrikson, are to be put on the inactive list next week, according to high Base officials. Uutimate fate of the WR barracks, mess, and recreation facilities was not determined immediately. HERE THIRTY MONTHS The first “girls in forest green” arrived at MCB —50 strong —in early November, 1943. The battalion reached its peak strength
last July with a complement of 661 enlisted women and 19 officers. This week the number of enlisted had been reduced, by demobilization, to 142. During nearly three years at this post, the women’s arm of the Corps served in practically every capacity possible on the Base from clerks of all types to mechanics, filling station attendants, and jeep drivers. Too, the women Devil Dogs were a standard feature of Base parties and recreational activities. As far as could be learned, the new directive applies only to MCB. Camp Pendleton expects to maintain its WR Bn., present strength of which is 187 enlisted, until June at least. The Post Adjutant at the Quantico, Va., Marine Base announced that the enlisted strength of its WR Bn. would be reduced to 172 by May 15. It is expected that the organization will then be designated a “detachment” and will remain at Quantico until July 1, 1946.
(Official USMC photo by Corp. Hugh Killmeyer) HEAR YE! A group of Base WR’s clusters about to hear news of disbandment of the MCB battalion of the Women’s Reserve. Only a skeleton force of 142 enlisted women remains from a force which once consisted of 661 enlisted and 19 officers, and nearly all of these will be civilians by Wednesday, May 15.
Extracted from: Marine Corps Chevron, Volume 5, Number 17, 10 May 1946