Free A Man to Fight

Marine Corps Women Reserve

Marine Base San Diego  1943-1946

Free A Man to Fight

Free A Man to Fight


By Rick Huenefeld and Barbara McCurtis


‘Free a Man to Fight’ – the  call to arms in  February 1943 when the Women’s Reserve (WR) of the United States Marine Corps was activated.  The first WR reported to Marine Corps Base (MCB) San Diego in September 1943 and more arrived virtually every week.   By February 1944 there were 3000 WR serving in the San Diego area, at MCB, with Marine Air units at North Island, at Camp Elliot (now MCAS Miramar), Camp Mathews (now the site of the University of California at San Diego), and a myriad of smaller postings through the county.  

One of the members of CA-2, Fairy Virginia  “Tex” Cornwell  remembers going to Texas to enlist and then taking the train to boot camp. She says that is how she earned her lifelong nickname. “Tex” had been working for one of the oil companies before her enlistment, and the Marine Corps seized on her experience and sent her to Camp Pendleton after boot camp to run the Motor Pool. “Tex” said she was only at her new job for a day or two when she the Commanding General at MCRD San Diego ordered her to the base to run his motor pool. Continue Reading »

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What it Means to Be a Woman in the Military

Jamie DePaola, WMA National Board Member, Area 1 Director participated in the panel discussion, “What it means to be a woman in the military”

Jamie B. DePaola

2016-jaimeServed January 1975 to February 1999, both active duty and reserve in the 01 Administrative MOS and retired as a Battalion Sergeant Major for 6th MT, 4th FSSG. Other assignments were at HQMC for the Assistant Commandant before transferring to the reserves.  she served with 4th Force Recon, 24th Marines, 6th Engineers, and deployed with 25th Marines for the Gulf War as the Regimental S-1 Chief.

After retirement, wass the Director of Admissions for a private school where her duties included recruitment of students in grades 6 – 12.  In one year, she increased enrollment by 47%.  She also performed the duties of the Marketing Director for the school.

Following her retirement from the Corps she volunteered for the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation’s (MCSF) New York Leatherneck Ball and later was elected as one of their Vice Presidents.  

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Renewal Time

A Time for Renewal

A Shared message from the 2nd Vice President

By Tracy Crow

WMA 2nd Vice President

Displaying Tracy Crow bio photo.jpg

Tracy Crow WMA 2nd Vice President 2016-2018

As a writer, I have a tendency toward viewing life as a series of unfolding metaphors. Nothing happens by coincidence, and the magic and beauty of synchronicity leave me breathless at least once a day. Most of these synchronistic moments surface from the natural world, so it’s little wonder the indigenous ones turned toward nature for answers.

Autumn, for example, reminds us of the impermanence of the world. Autumn signals a letting go, a shedding of what will no longer serve us in the coming days. Transformation calls for change—sometimes an inward, reflective look at the parts of ourselves that no longer suit who we have become, or who we wish or need to become.

I’m not sure how conscious I was of autumn on a cool, recent Friday evening as I sat outside on my back porch under the harvest moon, the last harvest moon by the way until 2024, and answered a slew of emails related to WMA business. But for some reason, I did become conscious of the rising cicada song all around me.

I set down my smartphone to listen and marvel at the synchronicity of the metaphor. You see, cicadas never sing alone. Cicadas sing in harmony with one another. Cicadas represent teamwork. Cicadas represent patience. Cicadas are the only insect in the insect kingdom that choose their exact moment of birth. Cicadas willingly live underground, attuned to the internal pressures from the outside world, adapting until they sense the perfect synchronistic conditions for their birth—one that will usher forth a renewal for coming generations

And just like that the future of WMA became clear to me. We have been working underground, so to speak, for generations, supporting one another, waiting on the perfect moment for a birth that will provide a renewal for generations. From the outside, we’re sensing pressures to adapt, to become something other than what we are.

But a cicada doesn’t try to become a grasshopper.

The cicada merely waits for the perfect moment of birth to become a useful cicada—a teamplayer in the harmonic song that leads to the renewal of another generation.

I believe WMA’s perfect moment of birth/renewal is now. As the Corps seeks ways to effectively integrate women in new roles our Corps needs us now more than ever. Our young active duty women need us now more than ever. Our youngest women veterans who struggle with reintegration after experiencing combat or other traumas need us now more than ever.

And as your new 2VP, I look forward to working harmonically with you in ways that will honor the wisdom we collectively bring forth in this new era, and the uplifting we will be called upon to offer in the years ahead.


Tracy can be reached at 2VP@womenmarines.org

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Portland 2016

Women Marines Association

Bridge to the Future

Portland logo
The 29th Biennial Women Marines Association (WMA) Convention and Professional Development Conference was held in Portland, OR. The theme, Bridge to the Future, highlighted the host city of Portland, Or., and the great strides women have made in the Corps in the past and our movement forward as doors continue to open. Marines past and present were in attendance and enjoyed the camaraderie that has always been shared. Keynote speakers were General Robert Neller, Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, and Brigadier General Helen Pratt Commanding General, FHG, Marine Forces Reserves in New Orleans, Louisiana and current president of the Marine Corps University.


Brigidier General Helen Pratt and Cpl Slater -Marine of the Year

The Conference started off with the “Rose Bowl” as the kick off to the next 4 days. It was a time to meet, mingle and enjoy before the business of WMA began. General Helen Pratt was the guest speaker at the Opening Banquet and talked about the changes that have occurred but spoke of the importance of such organizations as WMA for all women to know our past as we step forward into the future. We ended with a motivating speech by General Neller that focused on where we are headed and the legacy and the contributions of female Marines to the Corps from all generations. Both were gracious to speak to the Marines in attendance and pose for pictures. We were also honored to have Brigadier General Lori Reynolds and Carol Mutter (LtGen Ret) in attendance Continue Reading »

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Betty Moseley Brown 2016 Dickey Chapelle Award Winner

Betty Moseley Brown

Betty Moseley Brown WMA National President

Betty Moseley Brown WMA National President

2016 Dickey Chapelle Award Recipient.  This award honors the memory of Dickey Chapelle, an American foreign correspondence who was killed while on assignment in a Marine sector during the Vietnam War.  This award is presented annually to a woman deserving the recognition by reason of having made significant contributions in the interest of Marines or the United States Marine Corps.

Betty Moseley Brown is the current president of the Women Marines Association and the Assistant Director at the Center for Women Veterans. Continue Reading »


First Women Marines

First Women Marines

By Ansley Wegner

Research Branch, NC Office of Archives and History, 2007

Camp Lejeune prides itself as the home of the Montford Point Marines, the Corps’ first black enlistees, and the first large unit of female Marines, known as the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve. The first female Marines, 305 in number, enlisted in 1918, when the Navy Secretary allowed women to enroll for clerical duty (they were discharged in 1919). The Army, Navy, and Coast Guard all accepted female recruits in the early years of World War II, but the Marine Corps was reluctant to do so. However, faced with significant losses in the Guadalcanal offensive in the summer of 1942, Marine Corps senior officers realized it was necessary in order to free up as many male Marines as possible for combat.

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The Struggle, The Journey

The Struggle, The Journey

Finding a Balance

By: Ann Bernard

Like many women, my struggles with my weight and self-image issues began at a young age. I was nine years old when I first started to diet and exercise. It didn’t take long before I had developed an eating disorder and found myself undereating and over exercising (running and aerobics). Then at age 16, I decided I was going to be a Marine. I knew to be a Marine and to earn the respect of my male counterparts, I would need to be both physically and mentally strong—that’s what brought me to step into the local gym and got me started with lifting weights. I quickly realized I might never be a size two, but I did have a natural ability to put on muscles and get stronger.

AB3 Continue Reading »