Molly Marines

The History of Molly Marine, The Award and Statue

In 1943, in the middle of World War II, Marine Technical Sgt. Charles Gresham, a recruiter, needed a way to promote the enlistment of females into the Marine Corps. He decided on a statue of a woman in uniform.

Gresham enlisted the help of French Quarter artist Enrique Alferez to sculpt the statue. Alferez used marble chips and granite instead of the usual bronze to cast the statue due to limitations imposed on materials because of the war. The statue would have to be restored twice during its lifetime due to the construction materials.

The original statue was dedicated Nov. 10, 1943, the year the women’s reserve was activated and also the day of the Marine Corps’ 168th birthday.  Statues now stand as well at Quantico, Parris Island and now the National Museum of the Marine Corps.

The MOLLY MARINE AWARDS were approved by the Board on February 24, 1969. This program was developed by a special committee established to recognize noteworthy achievement by active duty Women Marines.
A ceramic statuette in the likeness of “Molly Marine” was selected as the award presentation. The initial expense of the art work, design and creation of the mold was paid for by Ruth Broe. The award was accompanied by a Certificate of Noteworthy Achievement, signed by the National President and National Secretary.
The awards were made as follows: To honor graduate; (1) of each Woman Officer Basic Course; (2) of each Woman Marine NCO Leadership Course, and (3) to the most desirable recruit in each graduation platoon. (with selection based on personality, ability to get along with other, attitude and decorum).
The award to the Woman Marine NCO Leadership Course was discontinued May 19, 1972. The award to the Woman Officer Basic Course was discontinued in 1978.
At the 1976 Board meeting approval was given, that when the supply of Molly Marine statuettes was depleted, the award would consist of the certificate, a one term membership in the women Marines Association, and a Membership Pin.

Molly Marine Award Today

 This award is presented to one recruit, chosen by her peers, in each graduating platoon that has demonstrated qualities of an exemplary Marine. This is the only award given by WMA in the name of Molly Marine. A certificate, photo of Molly Marine as well as Molly Marine commemorative coin are presented. In addition, an entry is made in the Marines record book of their being selected to receive this award.

WMA member Linda Priest has led this program at Parris Island for the Association since 2005.

Currently Serenity Button oversees the program and is present to give out every award personally.


  15 comments for “Molly Marines

  1. 21 Jun 2015 at 11:23 pm

    Are the names of Molly Marine Award Recipients from Bootcamp listed anywhere? I received the statuette back in 1970 and it was stolen from my mothers home. Is there anywhere to get a replica made? That was my pride and joy!!!!

    • wmapro
      23 Jun 2015 at 10:59 pm

      We do not have a list from the 70’s. We no longer make the Molly statue that was originally given out. You can however purchase a Molly Marine statue from the MCA and the Museum of the Marines.

    • Jean Boyd
      3 Mar 2018 at 11:00 am

      What platoon were you in. I received the Molly Marine Award August 1970.

      • 13 May 2019 at 5:09 pm

        I was in Platoon 8-A with Staff Sergeant Gray!

  2. Judith Martin
    18 Sep 2015 at 12:41 pm

    Our granddaughter received the Molly Marine Award after graduating from boot camp at the top of her class this August. I ordered a statuette but have never received it; I tracked it through UPS and it shows that the statue was returned to sender. I have paid for it (check cleared on Aug 13-17.) Can you help me locate it or replace it. It’s really important to us grandparents that Madison Counterman gets this statue.

  3. Mary-Jacqueline A Thatcher
    9 Aug 2016 at 6:57 pm

    I was awarded Molly Marine award for plt4028 1987 don’t remember getting anything

  4. 29 Aug 2016 at 10:43 am

    I too lost my precious statue. I moved to Dallas and when I went back home to get my things, the statue and other sentimental things were stolen. It hurts not to be able to look at it first thing when I wakeup because the ritual included kissing the statue!!!

  5. Hortencia Zamarron
    13 Jan 2017 at 8:35 pm

    I am a recipient of a Molly Marine awardyet cant remember if entry made to my Records and have misplaced my certificate

    • wmapro
      13 Jan 2017 at 11:00 pm

      You can contact and see if they have your information on file. Provide as much information you can as to date etc.

  6. Brenda Acquaviva
    20 Jan 2018 at 1:05 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this information. My daughter, who is still in the Marine Corps, 6 years ago out of boot camp was given the Molly Marine award. So proud of her and proud of this Organization and its Rich history.

  7. Deborah Ann Lee
    27 Mar 2018 at 10:19 pm

    My name is Deborah Lee, I received the Molly Marine Award in 1976. How do I get a certificate and another award? Thanks for your help with this matter.

  8. Ashley Wilkerson
    3 Apr 2018 at 7:50 pm

    I recently graduated with oscar co pot 4011 and I was awarded molly marine, and I was wondering if I could receive the pictures taken during the ceremony. I emailed the address on the card but I have yet to receive a response. Thank you very much.

  9. Cheryl Suzanne Oliver
    29 Sep 2018 at 8:06 am

    I believe I was the first Women Officer to have received the Molly Marine award upon graduation from the 24th WOBC in August 1969. I still have my statue after almost 50 years. To me, it is priceless.

  10. Cynthia J. Rehak
    28 Jul 2019 at 12:03 am

    I join the list of Molly Marine recipients and received the statue when I graduated boot camp 9 August 1971 in platoon 6B. It was amazing to visit the erected statue in New Orleans. I was very privileged and proud to have served in the United States Marine Corps.

  11. NDS
    16 Oct 2019 at 6:35 pm

    I remember the female recruit who received this award when we graduated from boot camp in 1980. I dont remember her name nor do I remember voting on who we thought should receive this award. I believe the decision was left to our Drill Instructors.

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