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U.S. Marine Corps Forces Reserve

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Department of Defense recognizes March as Women’s History Month

By Lance Cpl. Brytani Musick | U.S. Marine Corps Forces Reserve | March 05, 2014

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Pfc. Christina Fuentes Montenegro prepares to hike to her platoon's defensive position during patrol week of Infantry Training Battalion near Camp Geiger, N.C. on Oct. 31, 2013. Fuentes Montenegro is one of the first three females to ever graduate from Infantry Training Battalion. Department of Defense recognizes March as Women’s History Month.

Pfc. Christina Fuentes Montenegro prepares to hike to her platoon's defensive position during patrol week of Infantry Training Battalion near Camp Geiger, N.C. on Oct. 31, 2013. Fuentes Montenegro is one of the first three females to ever graduate from Infantry Training Battalion. Department of Defense recognizes March as Women’s History Month. (Photo by Sgt. Tyler Main)


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NEW ORLEANS --

Marine administrative message 083/14 announced March as the Department of Defense’s month of observation for women’s history. This year is the 34th anniversary of the National Women’s History Project. NWHP has established a nationwide presence as the number one resource for information and material about the unfolding roles of women in American history. The overarching theme for this year’s observance is “celebrating women of character, courage and commitment.”

In 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued a presidential proclamation stating the week of March 8 as the first national women’s history week and in 1987 Congress expanded the week-long celebration to last the whole month.

Women began serving in the Marine Corps in August 1918 when the Secretary of the Navy gave official approval for women to enroll for clerical duty. Opha Mae Johnson became the first official woman Marine. The Marine Corps Women’s Reserve was established in February 1943 and was mobilized seven years later in 1950 for the Korean War when 2,787 women proudly served.

To honor female Marines, the Women Marines Association has grown to more than 78 chapters. The WMA focuses on preserving history, being charitable, promoting the well-being of elderly women Marine veterans, promoting community welfare and fostering camaraderie among those who have served and are serving in the Marine Corps.

Some noteable female Marines include: Col. Margaret A. Brewer became the first female Marine General Officer in 1978 when she earned a star. In 1996, Maj. Gen. Carol Mutter became the first female in the history of the Armed Services to wear three stars. The first female Marines attended Marine Combat Training the following year.

Most recently on Nov. 21, 2013, PFC's Katie Gorz, Julia Carroll and Christina Fuentes Montenegro became the first entry-level enlisted women to complete infantry training in Camp Geiger, N.C. This month commanders are encouraged to take time to recognize and celebrate the contributions women have made to our Corps.

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