The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Navy. November 10, 2020 is the 245th birthday of the United State Marine Corps. November 10th was formally recognized by Major General John Lejeune in 1921 who ordered November 10, 1775 be the official recognizable service-wide date. The origins of the Marines go back to the Revolutionary War in October, 1775.
The Marine Corps motto is Semper Fidelis meaning Always Faithful and is the code in which every marine lives for the rest of their lives. It is a code that is not taken lightly. It is true that “Once a Marine, Always a Marine”. It doesn’t matter if you are active duty, reservist or a veteran of the Marine Corps, you are always a Marine. “Semper Fi” is a standard greeting that can be said to any marine whether that person is military or civilian.
Women were not allowed in the Marine Corps until 30 July 1942 when, the U.S. Congress authorized a women’s branch of the United States Marine Corps Reserve during World War II. It was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The mission of the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve was to provide qualified women for duty at shore establishments of the Marine Corps, allowing men to report for combat duty. The first group of women officers were given a direct commission based on their abilities and expertise. They were given no formal training or schooling and went straight to active duty. Women Marines were assigned to over 200 different jobs that were normally occupied by men such as radio operators, photographers, aerial gunnery instructor and more.
On 7 June 1946, Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Alexander A. Vandegrift approved the retention of a small number of women on active duty as male Marines began to come home from the war and retake the jobs they had once occupied. The demobilization of the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve (17,460 enlisted women and 820 officers), was to be completed by 1 September 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 1 July 1946. These women were white and Native American. African American and Japanese American women were not allowed to volunteer for service during World War II.
Colonel Ruth Cheney Streeter, the first director of the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve recommended that the position of director be placed directly under the office of the Commandant of the Marine Corps. On 12 June 1948, Congress passed legislation giving women regular military status, paving the way for them to be equal to their male counterparts.
During my time while serving on active duty in the 80’s and as a reservist in the 90’s, women were not allowed in combat. My combat training was limited, however towards the end of my second enlistment in 2000, we were being treated more like the male marines to which we were able to fly training missions in the Blackhawk helicopters, fire the M60 machine gun and throw live grenades. It wasn’t until the Gulf War that Women Marines were seen as equal members of the Marine Corps. Women were leaving their children & spouses behind to fight alongside male Marines overseas.
Now there are over 200 female Marines serving in combat. Many women Marines have died along with the men for the United States of America in the past 20 years, so to them and all the Marines out there…THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!
God Bless America & Happy 245th Birthday Marine Corps!
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