MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. --
In 1950, fewer than five years after World War II ended, the United States found itself once again confronted by a war for which it was unprepared. As before, a downsized military establishment rushed to call up, draft and recruit manpower, but recruitment numbers fell short of military requirements.
And just as in previous wars, the services turned again to American women, asking them to leave their homes, jobs and families to serve their country.
In March 1950, at the beginning of the Korean war, there were only 28 regular officer and 496 regular enlisted women Marines and 18 reserve officers and 41 reserve enlisted women on continuous active duty.
Mobilization of the reserves including women veterans was soon announced. Women, as a result of the Korean crisis and for the first time in American history, were called involuntarily to military service along with men.In addition to the administrative type roles they served in the past, they broke into additional fields such as: fire control instrument repair, motor transport, photography, air control, aviation operations and intelligence, operational communications, and public information.
By June 1950, the women Marines were authorized to comprise 100 officers, 10 warrant officers and 1,000 enlistees. Officers were trained at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, while enlisted women were trained at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina.
At the peak of this mobilization, 2,787 women Marines stepped into leadership and administrative roles to free male Marines for combat duty.
Pictured: Cpl. Vanessa Osuna, admin clerk, M&RA.
Marines perform their duties as air traffic controllers at Marine Corps Air Station in Miramar, CA during the Korean War.
Graphic design by Lance Cpl. Mikayla R. Anaya, MCBQ CommStrat