Bea Arthur, US Marine

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Bea Arthur, US Marine

Post by koimaster » November 13th 2020, 6:01pm

Before she took to Broadway stages and became a beloved Golden Girl, Bernice Frankel, better known today as Bea Arthur, joined thousands of other women paving the way for women in the armed forces. Details of her time as a US Marine can be found in her Official Military Personnel File (OMPF) available from the National Archives. Housed at a massive facility in St. Louis, Missouri, these military records hold a wealth of information on individuals.

On February 13, 1943, a call went out to women across America: “Be a Marine . . . Free a Man to Fight.” The US Marine Corps had established the Women’s Reservists, making the Corps the last service branch to allow women into its ranks. Despite reservations by Corps Commandant General Thomas Holcomb, the Marine Corps began a program to put women in as many positions as possible, enabling male Marines to join combat units. Public opinion favored a catchy nickname for these new female Marines, with suggestions of names like Glamarines and Femarines. General Holcomb wasn’t having any cute names for his Marines. “They are Marines,” he told Life magazine in 1944. “They don’t have a nickname and they don’t need one. . . . They inherit the traditions of Marines. They are Marines.” More than 20,000 Women Reservists had earned the title of Marine by the end of World War II. Though relegated to noncombat roles, they played a vital role in the Marine Corps during the war. ... rVERXgYkpU


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