Female Marines | 1940’s


attack attack attack
that’s the credo of the fighting Marine but today war is a complicated business
it takes more than a Para-Marine Raider a tank a motor squad to win a battle it
takes more than planes more than sharpshooters more than spirit and
guts somewhere between the battlefront in the homefront a tremendous machine of
administration is in operation 24 hours a day
the Hegelian task of providing proper transportation for troops of making out
reports of classifying and transferring the thousands of new Marines the success
of a battle 7,000 miles away depends on these people who sought and file away
and punch out millions of paper bullets every day the job of keeping a war
machine running efficiently requires the services of thousands of Marines so
vital is this job at homes that thousands of fighting men
despite their intensive invaluable training they never smell the clang of
battle something had to be done about it something had to be done about wasting a highly capable warrior – Battan and Corregidor had become legends Wake
Island had been branded into history with an indelible iron the Marine
writes his dear Sirs with a howl a machine-gun and they’re addressed to
Japs and Nazis question something had to be done about it –
and something was done about it no one doubted the essentiality of the work at
home at the same time no one put out that a Marine who wasn’t fighting was a
wasted Marine the solution to the riddle was a bombshell the birth of the Marine
Corps Woman’s Reserve born February 13 1943 of necessity the women Marines
mushroomed into the size of a force of eager full-fledged reserves who were
ready to step into the breach in July Camp Lejeune at New River North Carolina
became the official training headquarters for women Marines from the
plane the mountains the cities afford a constant stream of women from Compton
California from Pawnee City Nebraska from Marysville Missouri from Gloucester
Massachusetts they’ve come we’re from Texas to rode on
the train four days before we pulled up to Camp Lejeune and Niger three of those
traveling days were not in Texas the Marine Corps band was there to meet us
at the station that was nice there were also a couple of women sergeants to meet
us and that was well that was nice too somebody said the colonel was there I
was just beginning to wonder and then I saw him that’s his dog biscotti eyes
front I could tell from that first day I was
running like the Marine Corps one thing a Marine learns right away is how to
stand in line there was a Marine drive in the bus and
I thought one of these days I’ll be driving this bus and he can send back
postcards from Tokyo and I’ve given my before he leaves after we got squared
away which means to set up housekeeping in the barracks
we met the chaplain you know some of us have never been away from home before
well just knowing there was someone you could have a man-to-man talk with no
matter what your religion was well it felt like home that some some people
think the woman consists of a pair of silk stockings and a smile but not the
Marine Corps they look through you with one of those x-rays and they want to
know if you’re all there everybody knows the thing a Marine likes to do best
next to fightin is e that means have you got through a team they don’t exactly
care about the color of your eyes they want to know can you see you with him
when I left home mom said to look up a doctor for I felt
even the least little bit sick well mom can stop worrying here the doctor looks
you up by the time you fingerprinted and you’ve looked at the birdie at last
after you begun to think that time will never really come it’s it’s there the
uniform Oh golly I never thought I’d wanna wear the same thing as any other
girl but well almost bold when I put on my first through the gi’s all the
enlisted girls are given two hundred dollars allowance
and that means to win a service uniform had shoes summer outfits Percy a world
line raincoat that it cost one of your civilians $41 then there’s a lot of
visas and Moses and thingamajigs you know jump around sometime and I’ll let
you walk through my locker the women Marines take a great pride in
their appearance we have our uniforms tailored to fit us which is a little
different from the men who have to tailor themselves to fit the uniform
some girls never had any special training but the Marine Corps has a way
of finding out what you can do best and that’s where two years of high school
business school come in handy they want to know not only how much you know and
how fast you can think of it but also how fast you can learn it my very dear friends this is a GI VI
government-issued real instructed EU he says something like Philip do we do we what he’s really saying is one two three
four and left two three everybody could understand me
we look something like this our first week you really can’t imagine how many
left feet you have until you begin to drill get taught how to walk all over
again underneath he’s really a very
understanding man did you ever hear of a Marine Drill Instructor who was a
perfect lady then meet corporal Winton the marine is
not only first to face the enemy he’s number one on the drill field you may
wear erupted in the field you may have to resell your shoes a couple of times
but you learn to march the Marine Corps way however it’s not all thunder and
double-time and bootcamp there are times when you get a chance to become
acquainted with your mates you smoke a cigarette listen to the other girls talk
maybe you tell them about the boyfriend in the Solomon Islands
you aren’t sir the best gift the folks back home can give you I’ll let you find
out the powers getting ready for the spring planting Mom’s got a blue star up
in the window for you your kid brother is going to graduate from Grammar School
it’s a piece of home it’s not only permitted it’s encouraged
after all a girl has to keep up her morale
make sure the fingernail polish matches the head caught in color though then
suddenly one day it’s there the last inspection of your boat life the colonel
and captain the lieutenant’s are there everything’s got to be shipshape shoes
like a mirror locker box neat and orderly and your Adam’s apple under
control you suddenly realize that women in uniform have a great responsibility
you’re in the spotlight you are not Susie or Mary or Jane
anymore you’re a Marine then it’s all over that is all except for one thing the last review we learned a lot of things about
drilling in six weeks you can tell that by the rhythm of the staff you can feel
all the heels hit the ground at the same time the music beats out the cable
nobody calling up left right it’s hard to remember that little girl who got off
the train six weeks ago and didn’t know her port leg from a starboard now they
know we’ve got our marching legs on too they can tell we’re Marines and good
ones for the time you’re passing by the reviewing stand your heart is doing
nip-ups that’s one time you’ll never forget your eyes get kind of misty you
don’t know what to do with that lump in your throat maybe you can’t see me but
I’m down there somewhere a pocket full of pride no I vote no more private first
class kind of full-fledged Marine Saturday in camp is an American Saturday
the girls learned that life does not consist solely of drilling lectures and
military routine they are now permitted to exchange heartbeats with the men the recreation hall is a stomping ground
where the only face movements are done cheek to cheek and no sergeant’s to call
cadence it’s an old old story in a new young study Sahra as is the recruit trading so too
are the media for recreation the finest equipment is on hand for use once a
girl’s boot training has been completed a varied and interesting panorama is
spread before her an entire regimental area has been taken over for use by the
women the grounds are studded with green lawns and red brick buildings of
permanent structure barracks mess hall classrooms dispensary motion-picture
house post exchange laundry and tailor shop a well-stocked library with a
choice of the best in ancient and modern literature where do we know for what we
are fighting and here too as in the broader sense we
worship as our conscience directs regardless of creed or color or sex
after home alone the woman Marine finds extended to her
the fender quietude of church services a fervent prayer for those who have died
but those who shall live for our cause and the part we must play up to now the girls have only been
getting ready for the job that’s to come for in order to better understand the
task that lies before them the women Marines are shown the weapons with which
their mates are fighting this war they learn from actual demonstration that
this is no storybook war of Chocolat soldiers it’s the real thing
just as theirs is a real job a job offering little glory and a great deal
of hard work sometimes wearisome work but nevertheless a necessary part of the
All-American team and it’s teamwork that’s going to kick Tokyo for a field
goal the indoctrination period over and now will be assigned to attend various
schools norm for efficiency in the field of battle the Marine Corps lives up to
its standard in the classroom more than 15 schools teaching scores of subjects
and tearing out skilled crafts women to take over jobs the school courses range
from four to 21 weeks and include an intensive period of training which will
fit the woman Marine for the sort of work she has chosen the girl often has
her choice of subjects which range from accountants to sheetmetal workers to
statisticians for those few who have the necessary
qualifications to set aside the distinction of Officers Candidate School the gold bar of a second lieutenant ways
but an ounce with it however comes a pound of tradition this is the highlight and a candidates
life those women who in civil life held on specialized positions will be placed
in jobs immediately Camp Lejeune boasts of the only post office in the country
run completely by women experienced telephone operators are at a premium
combat Signal Battalion Marines are needed at the battlefront where their
work is one of the most important cogs in the successful completion of a war
task the business of making words move across the face of the continent is
waiting for those who have had training or can adapt themselves to this sort of
work Marines formally button down two jobs such as these have already been
relieved in great numbers their postmark today is somewhere in the South Pacific
the troops from that idea born in February of 1943 begin to ripen women
who have freed a Marine to fight have given a gift to the battle for freedom
which cannot be counted in thanks or dullness more than eleven thousand men
died on Armistice Day in 1918 if by lending their efforts the women of
America can end this war one day sooner thousands of homes will welcome back men
who might not otherwise return there are scores of jobs in the Marine Corps for
women jobs which will permit our fighting man to get there first Asst
with the mostess jobs that require special skills and jobs that require
merely a native intelligence with an eye not only to the war’s end but to a world
in which women will move into new fields many Marines are receiving a background
with which they can call the place in the America of tomorrow for more than
half the members of the Women’s Reserve will be placed in aviation
before this war a mere dozen or so women had made names for themselves in the
field of aviation a marine record in aviation will mean a passport to the
industry of tomorrow her husband is an army aviation they’ll talk the same
language when it’s farewell to arms some women subjected to the war of
nerves on the homefront the days and nights of tenseness without action have
found an outlet in the Marine Corps through active duty aerial photography is an integral part
of modern warfare and today women are fast becoming the prime exponents of
aerial photography as each woman Marine steps into a job behind the battle lines
she presents the Allied cause with the best trained fightingest man in the
world these are the women of America who have picked up the gauntlet knowing full
well that women have a stake in the world of tomorrow
the lady Marines are lending a hand in the struggle of today they’ve joined a
service and service means work they go with their scent and perform the job
assigned to them smartly efficiently there’s no glamour to the job but the
reward that comes with the knowledge of a vital all-important task well done for
them calico and lace has been replaced by the proudest marine in existence the
official uniform of the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve this is our country
yours and mine this is all more and the victory too shall be ours
here is your new fashion for victory women Marine

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