News: Women throughout the Corps celebrate a milestone in their history
MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT, PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. - Female Marines from across the country gathered to attend the 70th Anniversary Celebration of Women in the Corps at Parris Island, Recruit Depot, S.C., on March 1. The event, hosted by the staff of 4th Recruit Training Battalion, was held as a time for remembrance, connection and festivity among women throughout the Corps.
The group of more than 50 women Marines were given the opportunity to reminisce, remember and even re-live their time at Parris Island during a tour led by female drill instructors. The outing included a walk through 4th Bn., where the rooms and hallways were filled with historic memorabilia highlighting the legacy of women in the Corps. The tour culminated with a demonstration of recruit pick-up known as “Black Friday.”
1st Sgt. Matina Spaulding, a former drill instructor, said making the trip to join the celebration proved to be a memorable and rewarding experience.
“For me it’s all about the young Marines who will carry on our legacy,” said Spaulding, company first sergeant for Combat Development Co., Headquarters & Service Battalion. “They are hungry to learn more about our history, and it’s an awesome feeling seeing how they light up when they learn something new. It gives them an opportunity to learn things about our history that they may not be aware of.”
Spaulding also said the event was particularly special because it offered young female Marines a unique way to experience their rich heritage as they were able to engage with women of generations past.
Music kicked off the night’s celebration and was followed by dinner and a ceremony with presentations commemorating women Marines.
Betty Moseley Brown, Women Marines Association president, made the audience chuckle as she gave an account of her experience entering recruit training in 1978.
“Back then, I didn’t know what I was getting into. In fact, I wanted to be sharp when I went [to the] Marines,” said Moseley Brown. “So I had a red wrap-around dress, I had red high heel shoes and yes, I had my nails done. I didn’t know I would be in those clothes for close to 72 hours, I haven’t worn a wrap around dress since.”
Moseley Brown said she has seen the strides woman have made in the Corps. During her early times as an enlisted Marine, it was rare to see more than a few women serving next to her, and it was highly unusual to encounter a female officer or staff noncommissioned officer.
“When I saw my first woman Marine sergeant major I thought I had died and gone to heaven. When I see the beauty here I know I have died and gone to heaven. How things have changed and yet they stay the same. Our hairstyles may have changed but our commitment, courage and patriotism are just the same.”