Salute to the 1st Batch Of Women US Infantry Marine Corps: What Took So Long?

by
Sameera Ehteram
Meet the first four women to complete infantry training in the history of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Active Duty Female US Marines

Meet the first four women to complete infantry training in the history of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Congratulations to them; but we wonder, what has taken the U.S so long to churn out its first batch?

Well, the first women to enter the illustrious U.S Marine Corps were back in 1918, when, according to Women Marines Association, the Secretary of the Navy allowed them to enroll for clerical duty. .

It took more than half a century (1975) for the Corps to approve the assignment of women to all occupational fields except of course, infantry, artillery, armor and pilot/air crew.

The U.S is the so-called champion of human rights and gender equality, but women tend to be ignored in certain fields, especially the armed forces.

Read: Women In US Military: Their Fate Of Sexual Assault And Harassment

On the other hand, Pakistan, a country renowned for its extremist tendencies, honor killings and keeping women within the four walls of homes, has female fighter pilots . Yes, they face opposition, scorn and harassment; but you would expect that from a conservative society.

Afghanistan, the land rife with Taliban, fundamental tendencies and decades of war have a female mayor, crime fighters and women in Parliament.

Even Bangladesh has women serving in the army.

And behold:

Active Duty Female US Marines

SAUDI ARABIA has a female pilot.

Meet: The Top 13 Women Pakistan Is Proud Of!

But what reason could the U.S have for such blatant discrimination. Perhaps women’s rights in the U.S. are not all they are cracked up to be.

It was just this week that an internal army email became public stating that the army should use images of 'average looking' female soldiers rather than beautiful ones in stories about female soldiers.

For those wondering the logic behind the command, Col. Lynette Arnhart  elaborated in the email, “In general, ugly women are perceived as competent while pretty women are perceived as having used their looks to get ahead.”

It is interesting to note here that Col. Lynette Arnhart is leading a team of analysts studying how best to integrate women into combat roles and this piece of wisdom was shared ‘to give guidance’ to Army spokesmen and spokeswomen.

That just about sums up how the 'integration of women into the armed forces' is being handled.

However, whatever the case may be, these females have made their mark and deserve a salute from women across the world.

Some quick facts about Female U.S Marines:

  1. Opha Mae Johnson was the first woman Marine. She enlisted for service on August 13, 1918.
  2. The Marine Corps Women's Reserve was established in February 1943.
  3. Colonel Ruth Cheney Streeter first Director of Women Marine Reservists in 1943.
  4. Captain Anne Lentz became the first commissioned officer in the same year.
  5. Colonel. Katherine A. Towle became the first Director of Women Marines in 1948.
  6. The first black female Marines enlisted in 1949.
  7. On June 12th, 1948 Congress passed the Women's Armed Services Integration Act and made women a permanent part of the regular Marine Corps.
  8. Staff Sergeant Barbara Olive Barnwell First female Marine to be awarded the Navy and Marine Corps medal for heroism for saving a fellow Marine from drowning in the Atlantic Ocean in 1952.
  9. In 2002 Sergeant Jeannette L. Winters was the first U.S. service woman to die in the war on terrorism. 
  10. In 2012 the first female Marines take Combat Leadership Test
  11. 2,787 female marines served in the Korean War, 2,700 in Vietnam and Over 1,000 in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in the Arabian Peninsula.
  12. As of 2012, women make up 7.11% of the Marine Corps

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