- United States Marine Corps Women's Reserve
The United States Marine Corps Women's Reserve (USMCWR), established in 1942 as a part of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, was a Reserve unit which provided women for shore duty in the Marine Corps to take over jobs so men could be released for combat duty.
Historical context – women in the Marine Corps
In 1918, the Secretary of the Navy allowed women to enlist for clerical duty in the Marine Corps. Officially, Opha Mae Johnson is credited as the first woman Marine. Johnson enlisted 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.
Beginnings; World War II service
The Marine Corps Women's Reserve was established in February 1943. The first director of the Marine Corps Women's Reserve was Mrs. Ruth Cheney Streeter from Morristown, New Jersey. By the end of World War II, 85% of the enlisted personnel assigned to Headquarters U.S. Marine Corps were women.
The first group of women officers was given direct commissions based on ability and civilian expertise. These women were given no formal indoctrination or schooling, but went on active duty immediately. Women Marines were assigned to over 200 different jobs, among them radio operator, photographer, parachute rigger, driver, aerial gunnery instructor, cook, baker, quartermaster, control tower operator, motion picture operator, auto mechanic, telegraph operator, cryptographer, laundry operator, post exchange manager, stenographer, and agriculturist.
After the war; Retention for active duty
On June 7, 1946, Commandant of the Marine Corps General Alexander A. Vandegrift approved the retention of a small number of women on active duty. They would serve as a trained nucleus for possible mobilization emergencies. The demobilization of the Marine Corps Women's Reserve, 17,640 enlisted and 820 officers, was to be completed by September 1, 1946. Of the 20,000 women who joined the Marine Corps during World War II, only 1,000 remained in the Marine Corps Women's Reserve by July 1, 1946.
June 12, 1948, the United States 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 were called to active duty. By the height of the Vietnam War, there were about 2,700 women Marines served both stateside and overseas. By 1975, the Corps approved the assignment of women to all occupational fields except infantry, artillery, armor and pilot/air crew. Over 1,000 women Marines were deployed in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in 1990–1991.
- 1918 – Private 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
- 1947—First female warrant officer in the Corps — Lotus Mort
- 1948 – Public Law 625 (the Women's Armed Services Integration Act) is signed by President Truman on June 30, 1948. It incorporates servicewomens' corps like the Marine Corps Women's Reserve into the regular military on a permanent basis. Thre was a cap of 2% of service strength for female enlisted and NCOs with a rank cap of E-8 and 10% of service strength for female officers with a pay grade cap of O-5. Colonel Katherine A. Towle was declared the first Director of Women Marines.
- 1948—First group of women sworn into the regular Marine Corps
- 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
- 1965—The Marine Corps assigns the first woman to attaché duty. Later, she is the first woman Marine to serve under hostile fire.
- 1967-President Johnson signs Public Law 90-130. This removes many of the restrictions on women in the military imposed by Public Law 625. Female officers may now be promoted to O-6 (Colonel) and above.
- 1975 – The term Woman Marine is discontinued; all women in the Marine Corps are considered Marines. Women are allowed in every occupation or billet except Infantry, Artillery, and pilot/aircrew due to general service restrictions.
- 1978—Colonel Margaret A. Brewer was the first woman Marine general officer.
- 1979—The Marine Corps assigns the first women as embassy guards.
- 1985—Colonel Gail M. Reals, the first woman selected by a board of general officers to be advanced to brigadier general
- 1992 – Brigadier General Carol A. Mutter assumed command of the 3d Force Service Support Group, Okinawa, the first woman to command a Fleet Marine Force unit at the flag level
- 1993—The Marine Corps opens pilot positions to women.
- 1993—2nd Lieutenant Sarah Deal became the first woman Marine selected for Naval aviation training
- 1994 – Brigadier General Mutter became the first woman major general in the Marine Corps and the senior woman on active duty in the armed services
- 1995—The first female Marine pilot — Sarah Deal — pins on Naval flight wings
- 1996 – Lieutenant General Mutter became the first woman Marine and the second woman in the history of the armed services to wear three stars
- 1997—The first women Marines attend Marine Combat Training.
- Today — Women serve in 93 percent of all occupational fields and 62 percent of all billets. Women constitute 6.2 percent of the Corps end strength and are an integral part of the Marine Corps.
- Minnie Spotted-Wolf, first Native American woman to enlist in the Marine Corps; enlisted in USMCWR in 1943
- ^ Stremlow, Colonel Mary V , USMCR (Ret). Free a Marine to Fight: Women Marines in World War II. History Division, United States Marine Corps.
- ^ a b Lacy, Linda Cates (2004). We are Marines!. Women Marines Association. p. 43. http://books.google.com/books?id=eMoxYZgan28C&pg=PA43&lpg=PA43&dq=Bertha+Peters+(later+Billeb)&source=web&ots=TG9mmBybEd&sig=8eNlmht8GbND2QRH3qQ9By5DYmE&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=2&ct=result. Retrieved December 21, 2008.
- ^ Lacy, Linda Cates (2004). We are Marines!. Women Marines Association. p. 44. http://books.google.com/books?id=eMoxYZgan28C&pg=PA43&lpg=PA43&dq=Bertha+Peters+(later+Billeb)&source=web&ots=TG9mmBybEd&sig=8eNlmht8GbND2QRH3qQ9By5DYmE&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=2&ct=result. Retrieved December 21, 2008.
- ^ Wilson, Captain Barbara A., USAF (Ret). "Military Women "Firsts"". American Women in Uniform. http://userpages.Augustcom/captbarb/firsts.html. Retrieved December 21, 2008.
- ^ a b Williams, Rudi (March 19, 2003). "Women Aviators Finally Fill Cockpits of Military Aircraft". DefenseLINK News. Archived from the original on January 14, 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20070114182858/http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Mar2003/n03192003_200303193.html. Retrieved February 10, 2007.
- Navy & Marine Corps World War II Commemorative Committee. "Article: Women in the Marine Corps". Archived from the original on 2006-05-06. http://web.archive.org/web/20060506021047/http://www.chinfo.navy.mil/navpalib/wwii/facts/mcwomen.txt. Retrieved 2006-01-11.
- Stremlow, Colonel Mary V., USMCR (Ret) (1994). Free a Marine to Fight: Women Marines in World War II. Marines in World War II Commemorative Series. Washington, D.C.: Marine Corps Historical Center, United States Marine Corps. http://www.nps.gov/archive/wapa/indepth/extcontent/usmc/pcn-190-003129-00/index.htm. Retrieved December 21, 2008.
- USMCWR history and WWII women's uniforms in color — WWII US women's service organizations (WAC, WAVES, ANC, NNC, USMCWR, PHS, SPARS, ARC and WASP)
- Women in the United States Marine Corps
- All-female military units and formations
- Military units and formations established in 1942
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