Today is a double header! Check out my spotlight of Navy spouse turned romance author Jennifer L. Hart as she celebrates the release of WHO NEEDS A HERO? at this link.
I'm on a role with the history books ...
... on this day in 1918, Opha Mae Johnson was the first of 305 women to enlist in the United States Marine Corps. Almost a hundred years later, women are a vital part of the "few, the proud, the Marines."
Artemis is a regular commenter here at SOS Aloha ... and she is a Marine Veteran (married to a Marine Veteran). Artemis joins us today to share a glimpse into the life of a female Marine.
|Camp LeJeune 1944 .... crossed legs in unison!|
Kim: Why did you join the USMC?
Artemis: It wasn't for any of the various grandiose reasons: see the world, get an education, be a part of something bigger, make a difference. Nope, not at all. It was totally selfish. I needed a way out and Uncle Sam was my only ticket. I didn't bother with any other branch of service. I walked into the Recruiter's station, asked a few general questions, and let him do his spiel. When he was done, I asked, "Where do I sign and when do I leave?"
|Available from Tower.com|
Kim: Can you name one challenge and one reward of being a Marine ... and then as a female Marine.
Artemis: I asked Jim, Hubs, this question too, about the challenge and he had the same answer as I did: DISCIPLINE! The discipline that is necessary and essential to survive as a United States Marine. That is the first thing that you start to learn in boot camp as soon as you step off the bus. The transition from civilian to Marine is not an easy one and the installation of discipline plays an integral part of being a Marine. Discipline is the backbone of every Marine and is what gives each of them motivation to persevere.
A challenge, for me personally, as a female Marine was to perform as well as, if not better than, my fellow male Marines. Yes, I did know my physical limitations compared to most males and acknowledged them. However, when it came to performing my assigned MOS (Military Occupational Specialty), the boys had to take a back seat. This WM (Woman Marine) had them beat hands down! Let me share a little story with you. After boot camp, I was sent to Camp Johnson right outside of Camp Lejeune, NC, for additional training (schooling) before heading on to my permanent duty station. A "perk" of this twelve week training was that the Marine to graduate first in class would get their pick of the available duty stations. Yep, I was the only female Marine in my class. Those guys tried everything to distract me. (But I'll leave those war stories for another day. *snicker*) I graduated top of the class and promptly chose a US Naval Ship that was attached to Hawaii. Unfortunately, Uncle Sam was still battling the war of the sexes at the time and women weren't allowed on boats. *HMPH* Second choice - Camp Pendleton and off to the west coast I went.
The reward of being a Marine - that's easy. I did it! I survived! You have to realize, I wasn't a spring chicken when I left for boot camp - I was the oldest recruit there! Oh no, I wasn't right out of high school, I had a few years under my belt. I made it through the hell they call boot camp! Seriously, the pride of wearing the uniform, of being part of something bigger and better than myself. Of being a United States Marine.
|Marine Etiquette in 1974|
Kim: What does Semper Fidelis mean to you (other than its literal translation)?
Artemis: Jim has that tattooed on the inside of his left arm. Typical Male Marine. No tat for me. Those two simple Latin words hold such a world of meaning. When you are active duty, they are your life and you are surrounded by them constantly. They wrap you in comfort, like a pair of old slippers or cozy robe. It's a family you are always with and a part of.
"Once A Marine, Always A Marine" is so true. Marine Veterans have this eerie type of connection they use to recognize one another as a Marine Veteran.
We don't know each other from Adam and conversations start up and we can talk and talk and talk. Semper Fidelis - Always Faithful - faithful to The Corps. Faithful to our fellow Marines. That faithfulness never changes and it also spills over to our fellow country men and women.
Or I just get snarky: I can be the best friend you ever had or your worst enemy.
Mahalo, Artemis, for sharing with us at SOS Aloha! In honor of your visit, I am donating a box of treats for the dogs deployed with the Marines in Afghanistan. As Navy Doctor Tamara noted, all military personnel respect the job that the dogs perform in sniffing out bombs.
So I invite you to leave a comment or question for Artemis - the few, the proud, the Marines!
Kim in Hawaii
To learn more about women of the Corps, log onto the USMC History at this link.
|CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq, 2007 - Iraqi Lioness Chapter members|
of the Women Marines Association