MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – -- Approximately 13,000 female Marines are serving active duty and there are more than 5,100 female Marine reservists. This month designates the 30th anniversary of the National Women's History Month project and offers leaders an opportunity to recognize the contributions women have made for the Corps.
Originally, President Jimmy Carter issued a presidential proclamation declaring the week of March 8 would honor women's history. Seven years later, Congress expanded the week into a month of recognition.
A familiar name to most Marines may be Opha Mae Johnson, who was the first woman to join the Marine Corps Reserves nearly a century ago. Before long, another 19,000 females joined the cause to "free a man to fight."
Other significant events were when the first women achieved the rank of E-9; Geraldine Moran was promoted to master gunnery sergeant in 1960 and Bertha Peters was named the first female sergeant major a year later. But neither of these events compare to the seven female Marines who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in support of the War on Terrorism.
Females have stepped up to the challenge as opportunities to serve increased, raising the bar generation after generation. Today, women across the Marine Corps continue to serve the nation with honor, courage and commitment.