Opha May Johnson: A Tribute

The history of women in the United States armed forces is a long and complicated one. Even before they were allowed to officially enlist in the services, women still contributed in supporting the defense of the nation as spies, nurses and even secret soldiers. During the revolutionary war, Prudence “Prue” Cummings Wright, who had just lost two children, became leader of “Mrs. David Wright’s Guard. However, for the most part these women were not officially recognized to be members of the branches in which they served. That changed with one woman Opha May Johnson who was the first known woman to enlist in the United States Marine Corps. She joined the Marine Corps Reserve in 1918, officially becoming the first female Marine.



Johnson was born in Kokomo, Indiana in 1879. It was there that she graduated from Wood’s Commercial College and was expected to lead a typical life for a woman of the time. On August 13, 1918, Johnson joined the Marine Corps Reserve during World War I. At that time, Johnson enlisted along with 300 other women. (Due to her good fortune, she happened to be the first in line to do so.) Although her main duties as a Marine were clerical in nature, Johnson put into her work the same amount of zeal that she had used her whole life up to that point.

Her Legacy

Unfortunately, much of the progress that women in the armed services had made up to that point was slowly eroded as the Marine Corps began to steadily dis-enroll women who had enlisted to help out during the war. However, a few decades later Congress would pass the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act in 1948. This act acknowledges the trail blazing women like Johnson and others and is behind the fact that there are now approximately 1.4 million women serving in the U.S. armed forces including 14, 000 in the Marines.

Johnson was all about demonstrating her pride in the greatest organization in the world which now benefits greatly from the contributions of both sexes in the defense of our country. You can further demonstrate your pride in the Corps by purchasing one of our USMC novelties and USMC home décor items. Our gift items are quality made in the USA and are an attractive way to add a special touch to your home whether you reside in on or off base housing.

Tips for Staying Safe During Outdoor Workouts

Anyone who has ever served knows that physical fitness is a never-ending journey. It is not simply a goal that once met can be ignored. Marines in particular dedicate themselves to a lifestyle that means that they must physically challenge themselves 365 days a year. However, when it comes to exercising outdoors the desire to challenge oneself must be weighed against the possibility of injury. This is especially true of engaging in outdoor exercises during the winter. The cold can make muscles more prone to strain and other damage. So that you can enjoy the exhilaration of outdoor exercise while keeping your workout routine safe and effective, we would like to offer you some of these tips.

  • Check weather conditions and wind chill: According to experts, wind chill levels below 18F (minus 28C) can cause frostbite to occur on exposed skin in 30 minutes or less. Thus, it is always a good idea to get the forecast before exercising outdoors during the winter.

  • Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia: The early signs of frostbite include numbness, loss of feeling or a stinging sensation. Hypothermia occurs when the body loses heat more rapidly than it can be produced. In both cases you should get indoors immediately.

  • Dress in layers: In order to find the right layer of clothing you should wear during outdoor exercise, try some experimentation. Dress warmly but not too warmly as you may need to remove some layers of clothing if you begin to perspire too much. We have a Marine Corps jacket and other Marine Corps gifts such as hats and sweat pants that can keep you warm as you express your pride.

  • Stay Hydrated: Simply because you are more prone to produce more sweat in the warm months than in winter does not mean that you should ignore your body’s requirements for water. Your body needs to replenish fluids lost during intense workouts regardless of whether it is warm outside or not.

  • Remember to warm up prior to exercising: Warm muscles work more efficiently and are less prone to strain than muscles that have had not been stretched. Try walking for a brief period prior to working out.

In short, there is a certain sense of exhilaration involved in exercising outdoors during any season. But even the most dedicated among us must take certain precautions to ensure that doing so does not put one’s health at risk.