Female Marines celebrate 95 years in Corps
” There it was, her name, Opha May Johnson, simply penned on the applicant line of a Marine Corps Reserve form. Although she typically signed her name Opha M., this was an official document and her middle name was necessary. Her decision to fill out that form entered her into an exclusively male world and would make her nothing less than a Marine Corps legend.
Although historians speculate whether the date was actually the 12th or 13th, there is no argument that Opha May Johnson was the first woman to enter the Marine Corps, enlisting in the reserve as a clerk, in August 1918.
“Maybe she saw an ad, we really don’t know her reason for joining,” said Kara Newcomer, historian with the Marine Corps History Division. “We do know that she was the first, and for that she should always be remembered.”
Several errors concerning the pioneer of female Marines have been circulated and published by some, the first of which concerns her middle name.
According to Newcomer, although many spell her middle name Mae, her middle name is actually spelled May…”
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