(excerpt from Warrior
Culture of the U.S. Marines, copyright 2001 Marion F. Sturkey)
secret, Lucy Brewer became the first woman to serve in the Marine Corps.
Disguised as a gung-ho man, she served in the Marine Detachment
aboard the USS Constitution
during the War of 1812.
Over 100 years later on 12 August 1918, the Secretary of the Navy
granted authority to enroll women for clerical duty in the Marine Corps
Reserve. The next day, Opha
M. Johnson enlisted and became the first official
Woman Marine. During the
remainder of World War I, 305 women enlisted to "free a man to
fight." Over 20 years
later during World War II, roughly 1000 officers and 18,000 enlisted
women served, led by Col. Ruth C. Streeter.
During the last year of the war, all available male Marines were
battling the Japanese in the Pacific.
In their absence, Women Marines represented over half of the
personnel at Marine Corps bases in the continental United States.
A year after the end of the war, the Marine Corps retained a
small nucleus of Women Marines in a postwar reserve.
But, in 1948 Congress passed the Women's Armed Forces Integration
Act, which authorized women in the regular component of the Corps.
At the time, women could not constitute over two percent of the
total force and could not hold permanent
rank above lieutenant colonel. Katherine
A. Towle was appointed Director of Women Marines with the temporary
rank of colonel. The
following year the Corps set up a recruit training battalion for women
recruits at Parris Island, and a women's officer training class at
During the Vietnam war in March 1967, MSgt. Barbara Dulinsky
requested reassignment from the United States to Vietnam.
She was transferred to the main military headquarters (MACV) in
Saigon, the first Woman Marine to be sent to a country torn by war.
But, seven years later the Commandant authorized Women Marines to
serve with specialized rear
echelon elements of the Fleet Marine Force.
Still, these women were prohibited from deployment with combat
units, or units which could conceivably be engaged in combat.
Women were specifically banned from all infantry, artillery, and
armor units, and they could not serve as members of aircrews.
In May 1978, BGen. Margaret Brewer became the first general grade
Woman Marine, serving as Director of Information.
Twenty-two years later roughly 1000 Women Marines deployed to
Southwest Asia in 1990-1991, prior to and during the Gulf War.
Later, because of legal mandates, the Corps was forced to accept
women into Naval Aviation pilot training.
In July 1993, 2ndLt. Sarah Deal became the first such Woman
Marine to begin training. She
graduated and received her Golden Wings on 21 April 1995.
The next year MGen. Carol A. Mutter became the first two-star
Woman Marine. Two years
later she was promoted again, the first Woman Marine to wear three
stars. By the turn of the
century in the year 2000, over 700 Woman Marines comprised about four
percent of the officer corps. And,
slightly over 8000 Woman Marines made up roughly five percent of the
active enlisted force.
The elite Marine Corps remains the only U.S. armed service with
the wisdom and courage to maintain separate boot camp training units for
men and women recruits. Despite
the childish whining of liberal
theorists, despite the rabid ranting of ignorant politically
correct zealots, the Marine Corps has not faltered.
Basic training for men and women will remain separate -- but
equal. All who qualify will
earn the title, United States