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70th Anniversary of the US Marine Corps Women’s Reserve

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On 13 February 1943, the Marine Corps officially established the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve, following the lead of the Army, Navy and the Coast Guard in the recruitment of women. Femarines and Glamarines were two of the cutesy suggestions for these new servicewomen, but Marine Corps Commandant, General Thomas Holcomb—who had originally been against the formation of a women’s reserve unit—decided that they didn’t need a nickname because being trained as Marines, they are Marines (although the term “Woman Marine” would continue to be used until 1975).

Women from the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve trained in over 200 different specialties including radio operator, parachute rigger, driver, aerial gunnery instructor, control tower operator, and auto mechanic. They accounted for an overwhelming percentage of the enlisted jobs at Marine Corps Headquarters and over half of the staff at major Marine Corps posts. Over 23,000 women served in the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve.

All Women’s Reserve units were disbanded in September 1946. With the passage of the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act in 1948 women were welcomed into the US Marine Corps.

Post by Curator Kimberly Guise.

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