By Lance Cpl. Daniel Flynn
3rd Marine Expeditionary Force Public Affairs
CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan — Since 1918, when Opha Mae Johnson became the first woman to join the Marine Corps, women have become an important part of the Corps' mission.
To honor the contributions women have made both in and out of the Corps, Marine Corps units across Okinawa joined U.S. citizens worldwide to celebrate Women's History Month during March. This year's observance is themed "Women's Art: Women's Vision," and is intended to honor influential woman artists throughout history.
Marine units organized observances on several camps, including observances at the Camp Hansen West Chapel, March 20, and Torii Station's Coral Cove and the Crow's Nest Club on Camp Shields, March 21. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma's observance was March 27 at the Futenma Theater, and there will be an observance at the Camp Foster Theater March 31.
National Women's History Week started in 1978, and Congress expanded it to a month in 1987, according to Senior Chief Petty Officer Adrian S. Marsh, an equal opportunity advisor with the Commander Fleet Activities Okinawa.
"The reason we observe various heritage months, such as Women's History Month, is to educate and remember all the great sacrifices others have made before us," Marsh said. "The goal of Women's History month is for women to see what is possible."
Maj. Gen. Mary Ann Krusa-Dossin, commanding general of Marine Corps Base Camp Butler, spoke at the Women's History Month observance on Camp Shields March 21.
She said there are five points for women to remember to help them succeed: Don't let someone else take your power; let your voice be heard; believe in yourself; don't be afraid to dream; and remember to send the elevator back down – meaning once one rises to the top, they should become a mentor and help others succeed.
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