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.

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Background

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.

Adopting a Marine for the Holidays

Every year the news is filled with heartwarming stories about Marines and other service people who have been reunited with their loved ones over the Thanksgiving and/or Christmas holidays. But what about those marines who are either too far away from or cannot afford the trip home for the holidays? Luckily, for these marines whose sacrifices are no less important than the lucky ones who get to be reunited with loved ones, there are organizations that help to connect service members with local families for the holidays. As veterans ourselves, we at eMarine PX are not only interested in providing quality US Marine gifts to our customers, we would also like to express our appreciation to the efforts of civilians who strive to make this special time of year enjoyable for service people who have returned to the US but who are separated from their loved ones.

Reaching out to organizations like the nearest Armed Services YMCA or USO office is an excellent way to begin the process of hosting a service person that is home for the holidays. You can also find out more about adopting a marine by contacting your nearest military installation’s MWR (Morale, Welfare, and Recreation) office. Service people who are in the position of not being able to reunite with loved ones will greatly appreciate being a made a part of their host family’s Christmas traditions and customs. Happy holidays from the people at eMarine PX.

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A Day of Remembrance

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As Memorial Day approaches, it is time to pause and consider the
true meaning of this holiday. Memorial Day represents one day of
national awareness and reverence, honoring those Americans who died
while defending our Nation and its values. While we should honor these
heroes every day for the profound contribution they have made to
securing our Nation’s freedom, we should honor them especially on
Memorial Day.
All Americans need to come together to recognize how fortunate
we are to live in freedom and to observe a universal “National Moment
of Remembrance” on each Memorial Day. This memorial observance
represents a simple and unifying way to commemorate our history and
honor the struggle to protect our freedoms.