QUANTICO, VA, UNITED STATES
QUANTICO, Va. - Fifty Marines from the National Capitol Region traveled to Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., to honor the 69th anniversary of continued female service in the Marine Corps on Feb. 12-14.
The trip served as a way to honor the history of those who wore the title of woman and Marine as well as a mentorship opportunity for females of all ranks and experience.
“It was a celebration of women Marines’ history,” said Sgt. Maj. Laura Brown, the base sergeant major for Quantico. “It’s important that people in leadership position pass the information they have to the next generation, that way they understand why we choose to stay for 20-30 years.
“There are only so many presentations you can give, or museums you can visit,” continued Brown, who organized the trip. “It’s better if you go see real, live history, people who have walked the walk.”
Women were first allowed to serve in the Marine Corps in 1918 by order of the secretary of the Navy. These first female Marines were only allowed to hold clerical duties and, on July 30, 1919, orders were issued that separated all females from the Corps.
On Feb. 13, 1943, women returned to service in the Corps, and since that date, females have served continually beside their male counterparts.
“It was a different Marine Corps in the 1940s, there were a lot of things that women were not authorized to do,” Brown said. “It was good to see it and hear it from those historians.”
Previous celebrations were made up of a five-kilometer run, dubbed the “Molly Marine Run,” and a speech from a guest of honor.
This year’s celebration included more than 10 additional events including a flag raising ceremony, a ribbon cutting ceremony to showcase a display commemorating female recruit training and female Marines, a dinner hosted by the battalion and several guests-of-honor speeches.
The trip to Parris Island was also a chance for Marines to look back at the place they earned the title without the presence of drill instructors.
“It was a lot different, the drill instructors weren’t as scary,” said Sgt. Stephany Rector, the inbound noncommissioned officer in charge for the Installation Personnel Administration Center. “It was just completely different than what you remember from when you stepped on the yellow footprints.”
The biggest difference between Marines today and female Marines in the past is explained best by Brown.
“The Marine Corps does a really good job of not treating us like woman Marines; at the end of the day, we’re just Marines,” Brown added.
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