Sunday, March 10, 2013

A different picture

89 year old Mrs. L. looks so small, sitting in her Lazy boy recliner, at the Assisted Living Facility where she lives.

Hanging on the wall, over the chair, is a picture of her in a military uniform during WWII.

"What branch of the military were you in?" I inquired.

"The Marines," she replied.

"When were you active duty?"

"1943 to 1946. I started at Hunter College in NY and then went to Camp Lejeune and worked as a clerk."

Honestly, I didn't know woman were in the Marines during WWII.

She didn't look so small anymore!

(Military history web sites report The Marine Corps Women's Reserve Schools opened in July 1943. Officer candidates and recruits in training at Mount Holyoke and Hunter Colleges were transferred to Camp Lejeune, where nearly 19,000 women (17,640 enlisted and 820 officers) became Marines during WWII. They were initially taught by reluctant male drill instructors and often subjected to ridicule. However, the woman filled many very important noncombat roles-clerical, parachute riggers, mechanics, radio operators, welders and more.

On its first-year anniversary, 13 February 1944, The Marine Corps Women's Reserve received a treasured message from President Franklin D. Roosevelt:
The nation is as proud of you as are your fellow Marines — for Marine women are upholding the brilliant traditions of the Corps with a spirit of loyalty and diligence worthy of the highest admiration of all Americans. You have quickly and efficiently taken over scores of different kinds of duties that not long ago were considered strictly masculine assignments; and in doing so, you have freed a large number of well-trained, battle-ready men of the corps for action.)

Meers, Merrill, Szoroletta, Vredevoogd

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