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When the US Marine Commandant, Major General Thomas Holcomb, announced the formation of what became the US Marine Corps’ Women’s Reserve, legend has it that the portrait of the fifth Commandant, Archibald Henderson, fell off the wall and crashed to the floor – ‘in disbelief’. This branch of the US Marines was authorized by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on 30 July 1942.
This law allowed for the acceptance of women into the reserve as commissioned officers and at the enlisted level, effective for the duration of the war plus six months. The purpose of the law was to release officers and men for combat and to replace them with women in shore stations. The result was that between 1943 and 1945 the women of America enlisted in their thousands to ‘Free A Man to Fight’.
This book, the first of its kind, explores in detail the role of Women Marines, or WRs as they were known at the time. It also presents a detailed study of the uniforms of the WRs supported by numerous colour photographs.
This book has been written with the full support of the US Marine Corps Histories Division, the Women Marine Association and surviving WR veterans.