Second World War: Lady Marine at Camp Lejeune Became First Sergeant

How a lady marine serving in Camp Lejeune during the second World War became first sergeant of her company, and other stories.

| Good Old Days

I was in the Marine Corps, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, from August 1943 to November 1945. My parents had also said goodbye to my brother in June. He served during World War II in the Army under Patton. 

One of my reasons for leaving, in addition to patriotism, was to get away from a problem boyfriend. After serving two years in North Carolina, and being around so many Marines, he looked pretty good to me. I came home and married him, and we had 34 years together before his death in 1980.

Here are some highlights of being a lady Marine:

With 6,000 men on base and only 2,000 women, we did not lack for dates, but many of the men thought we were there for their pleasure, so on each date that battle had to be fought. In each case, I was given the respect that I asked for, but it was quite an education in life.

Living in a barracks with 60 other women was also an education. I learned about different races, religions and lifestyles. My job was in the same building where I lived, so I only had to go down the hall to my typing job in the Women Marines Company Office. I worked my way through clerk typist, muster roll clerk, payroll clerk and finally into acting first sergeant, with my own company of 100 women. It was very good for my self esteem to learn that I could do things that I never believed I could.

Holidays on the base were especially deadly, but we were all in the same boat, so we planned things to do. When I would go home, I was astonished at the lovely colors in my home after being used to olive drab. I declared I'd never wear a hat again, because dress code required we wear one everywhere.

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