March is Women’s History Month, a month dedicated to celebrating women’s contributions to our great nation. This year will be the 36th anniversary of the National Women’s History project, an observance established by President Carter in 1980. The theme for this year's observance is "Working to Form a More Perfect Union:  Honoring Women in Public Service and Government."

As a nation, we cannot afford to overlook the contributions of women. Women have been champions of social, economic, and cultural change that has dramatically influenced public policy and the building of institutions and organizations.  Women such as Susan B. Anthony, who organized the National Suffrage Organization in 1869, and Rosa Parks, who is regarded as the first lady of the civil rights movement, forged irrevocable change for the future of America.

This year’s theme commemorates those women whose contributions continue to push our nation towards a more perfect union. Therefore, it is fitting that we observe and recognize women in public service and government from our past and present. In 1918, the Secretary of the Navy allowed women to enlist for clerical duty in the Marine Corps.  Opha Mae Johnson was the first woman to enlist in the Marine Corps on August 13, 1918.   During that first year over 300 women enlisted in the Marine Corps to take over stateside clerical duties from battle-ready Marines who were needed overseas.  The Women’s Armed Services Integration Act of 1948 authorized 100 female officers, 10 warrant officers, and 1,000 enlisted Marines in a gradual build-up over a two year period with some accessed from the reserve component (both active and inactive). In 2013, the Marine Corps allowed enlisted women to participate in basic infantry training as part of ongoing research to determine what additional ground combat jobs may be opened to female personnel.  As a result of this research, in December 2015, the Secretary of Defense directed that all Military Occupational Specialties become gender neutral, paving the way for women to serve in any capacity within the Marine Corps.

Since the launch of MCCS Forward in 2015, we’ve featured a number of impressive Marines who have accomplished great things on and off the battlefield. In honor of Women’s History Month, click the links below to learn more about a few of the women we’ve featured so far.

Capt Christine Taranto, winner of the 2015 Women’s Armed Forces Marathon Championship

Agent Lauren M. Schoener, winner of the 2015 Ultimate Tactical Athlete Championship