Women Marines in the Korean War Era

Women Marines in the Korean War Era

Women Marines in the Korean War Era

Women Marines in the Korean War Era

Synopsis

This is the story of that small band of women who wore U.S. Marine uniforms during the Korean War. These women are a "lost generation" of women Marines who stepped into the breach between two wars and preserved the opportunity to be a Marine for those who were as yet unborn. They were, in fact, a "thin green line"--and they stood fast, just like Marines are taught to do.

Excerpt

As I was preparing the initial volume in this series, Women Marines: The World War II Era (1992), I grew increasingly impressed with the qualities of the women of the World War II generation. For over a year I corresponded with 146 former Women Reservists (WRs), studied their faces in the precious, faded photographs they had saved for forty-odd years, read the letters they mailed to their families, and savored both the amusing and the tragic experiences they were willing to share with a stranger.

To say that these women, most of whom are septuagenarians now, were (and are) a special breed is an understatement. Gallant is more to the point. They were pioneers who broke new ground in Marine Corps history and in the history of women in America. Of the 300,000 women who served in our nation's armed forces between 1942 and 1945 more than 20,000 wore Marine Corps uniforms. For the most part these "girls" came from small towns, were innocent in the ways of the flesh, enlisted with either little or no support from their parents and boyfriends, traded the security of "home" for the unknown, and plunged headlong into the arcane world of the Corps armed with only youthful exuberance.

Their motives for doing so varied but, overwhelmingly, they joined up for patriotic reasons. Entranced by the ethos that characterized the "good war" they responded to the Corps' request that they "Free a Marine to Fight." The WRs did that, and more. Their presence in the ranks of a previously all-male, elitist organization was the leavening agent that forced a reluctant Marine Corps to modify many of its practices and . . .

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