MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. --
Women Marines, past and present, gathered at the National Museum of the Marine Corps for lunch Feb. 27 to celebrate the anniversary of the establishment of the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve and the birthday of one who joined the very first day.
Women Marines of all ranks - noncommissioned officers, staff noncommissioned officers, warrant officers and commissioned officers - all attended and helped Marjorie Alexander, a member of the Women Marines Association and a World War II Marine motor transportation operator, celebrate her 90th birthday.
“This is part of history,” said Gunnery Sgt. Cesarina Hernandez, luncheon attendee. “If it wasn’t for her, and women like her, there wouldn’t be women Marines.
“You have to take time out of your day to thank them. It’s not every day you get to meet someone like her.”
During the luncheon, Alexander, a Colorado native, spoke about what she went through as a woman Marine and then others at the table spoke up about their experiences.
“We had to wear red lipstick,” said one attendee.
“When I went through recruit training everyone wore wigs,” said Major Gen. Angela Salinas, another luncheon attendee. “There were three options,” she added.
“Nobody graduated with long hair,” added another. “They didn’t force us to cut our hair, but we were highly encouraged to wear wigs. They made it miserable enough that you had to cut it.”
The ladies also discussed current events in the Marine Corps, such as the addition of pull-ups for the female physical fitness test.
It’s not about asking women to do more, said Salinas. It’s about giving them the training they need.
“Marines have no issues meeting standards,” said Salinas. “This is setting the standard.”
After the luncheon, Alexander and Paula Sarlls, Women Marines Association Colorado Chapter president, were given a guided tour of the museum by Docent Barry Colassard.
“You never know what stories you are going to hear when you come to work here,” Colassard said at the beginning of the anecdote-riddled tour.