Wednesday, December 30, 2015

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Since 1918, women have answered the
call to serve proudly in the United States Marines and the role of women in the Marines has evolved and expanded. All Women Marines can look forward to the future proudly, while never forgetting the women who made this future possible.
   In 1918, the Secretary of Navy allowed women to enroll for clerical duty in the Marine Corps. Officially, Opha Mae Johnson is credited as the first woman Marine. Johnson enrolled for service on August 13, 1918; during that year some 300 women first entered the Marine Corps to take over stateside clerical duties from battle-ready Marines who were needed overseas. The Marine Corps Women's Reserve was established in February 1943. June 12th, 1948, Congress passed the Women's Armed Services Integration Act and made women a permanent part of the regular Marine Corps.
   In 1950, the Women Reserves were mobilized for the Korean War and 2,787 women served proudly.



1918 - Pvt. Opha Mae Johnson becomes the first woman to enlist in the
Marine Corps Reserve

1943 - Colonel Ruth Cheney Streeter first Director of Women Marine Reservists
1943 - Captain Anne Lentz, first commissioned officer
1943 - Private Lucille McClarren first enlisted woman
1945 - First detachment of women Marines arrives in Hawaii for duty
1948 - Women's Armed Services Integration Act of 1948 authorized 100 regular Women Marine officers, 10 warrant officers, and 1,000 enlisted in a gradual build-up over a two year period with regular candidates coming from Reserve Women Marines on active duty or those with prior service not on active duty. (MC Res Hist, pp. 121-122).
1948 - Colonel. Katherine A. Towle first Director of Women Marines
1948 - First eight enlisted women were sworn in as regular Marines 
1949 - The 3d Recruit Battalion at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island was reactivated for training non-veteran Women Marines. Women Marine recruits began arriving at Parris Island to form the first platoon of 50 Women Marine regulars to take a six—weeks' training course.
1949 - First black female Marines enlisted
1950 - The evening dress uniform for Marine Corps women officers was introduced for the first time by Colonel Katherine A. Towle at the Marine Corps birthday ball at the Sail Loft, Naval Gun Factory, Washington, D. C. The uniform was patterned after the full dress uniform of Marine officers. It will be worn by women Marina officers at all state and diplomatic functions. (ANAF Journal, 18 Nov 1950, p. 310).
1952 - On the ninth anniversary of the establishment of the Marine Corps Women's Reserve, the Lady Leathernecks participated for the first time in color raising ceremonies at the Marine Barracks, Washington, D. C. (ANAF Journal, 16 Feb 1952, p. 735).
1953 - Colonel Katherine A. Towle, Director of Women Marines, became the first woman line officer to retire from U. S. military service on reaching the mandatory retirement age of 55.
1953 - Lieutenant Colonel Julia E. Hamblet, 36, became the new Director of Women Marines, succeeding Colonel Katherine A. Towle.
1953 - Staff Sergeant Barbara Olive Barnwell First female Marine to be awarded the Navy and Marine Corps medal for heroism for saving a fellow Marine from drowning in the Atlantic Ocean in 1952.

1960 --
First woman Marine is promoted to E-9 — Master Gunnery Sergeant Geraldine M. Moran 
1961 -
The first woman Marine is promoted to Sergeant Major (E-9) — Bertha Peters Billeb