WMA KY-1’s Marines: Serving from 1950 to 2021

WMA Winning Colors KY-1
Submitted by Phoebe Riner

Marjorie Cox and I are KY-1’s oldest and youngest Marines.  Marjorie joined the
Marines at the age of 19, during the Korean War, and I joined in 2010 at 33 after being granted
an age waiver.  Tasked with writing about our Marine service for women’s history month, our
stories are more alike than different.  We share a love for America, fellow Marines, and liberty. 
Our Christian faith and reliance on prayer, humor and good BBQ also unite us!

In December of 1950, Marjorie joined the Marines.  The Korean War was underway
when she answered the call to serve.  Growing up as one of ten children, Marjorie’s dad was
proud when she entered the Marines; her mom was surprised.  Her dad was born in England, but he became a staunch American who was happy that his children chose to serve their Country.  Marjorie’s sister, Juanita Leighton, was also a Marine and proud member of the WMA until her death. Juanita served in World War II and the Korean War in motor transport at Miramar. Three of Marjorie’s brothers also served as Merchant Marines during World War II. 

Like Marjorie, since joining the Marines, I’ve been blessed to serve with exceptional
Marines of all backgrounds.  While on active duty, I was stationed overseas at Marine Corps Air
Station Iwakuni, and later at Cherry Point. In 2017, I deployed with SPMAGTF-SC. Currently,
I’m in the reserve component and plan to continue serving until they tell me I can’t!

 As far as challenges, broken hips and fractured pelvises are common injuries among
females, both at Officer Candidate School (“OCS”) and boot camp, and my platoon was no
different.  There were 66 female candidates in my platoon on the first day of OCS.  Ten weeks
later, only 18 of us remained, mostly due to injuries.  Graduating from OCS at 33, I was the
oldest candidate in my platoon.  I credit the Lord Jesus with getting me to the finish line!
There’s no other way to explain how I completed the final training at OCS with a partially torn

Whether sharing BBQ, or working on service projects, I am grateful for the chance to
link arms with Veterans like Marjorie through the WMA.  Uniting with brothers and sisters, past
and present, makes us better.  If I’m as much of a fighter as Marjorie is when I’m nearly 90, I’ll be happy!

KY-1 Winning Colors is located in the Louisville area. They would love to have you join them.

chapter email: ky1@womenmarines.org