On 13 February 2020, collectively we celebrate the 77th Anniversary of the establishment of the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve (WR). On this day, the first woman to enlist in the WR was Lucille Ellen McClarren. Her active duty starting salary was $50 a month plus a $200 allowance for uniforms. She went to Hunter College and later became the first female drill Sergeant. She was a poster girl as the model for the first uniform and shared the podium with Eleanor Roosevelt, helping to recruit other women for service in our Corps.
Lucille’s story mirrors those of many of our members within our Association and the Corps. Proudly we salute the 53 known current WMA members who enlisted in that first year as they helped to, “Free a Man to Fight”.
These members, and the Marines before them, opened the doors and forged the trails for our current Marines. Each era faced their share of challenges but the one thing we had in common throughout the past 102 years is our desire to serve. The lessons learned in the Corps have followed us throughout our lives and we share a bond with our fellow Marines, a camaraderie of experiences and love of our Corps.
Our Marines of today are still breaking the barriers, making history, and in doing so, honoring those who came before. As we stop and celebrate this historical Anniversary, we should take pride in our accomplishments and the role we have each played in our Corps history and recognize how
those contributions have led to today’s integrated Marine team.
As you celebrate, it is a time to reflect not only on the past – it is a time to reflect on the futureand know that; we all have a stake in forming the shape of our next generation of Marines.
Thank you for your service. Your service to the Corps, WMA and the community. Happy Anniversary Marines.
Rhonda LeBrescu Amtower
WMA National President