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Marine Officer Training Begins
Once a Marine, Always a Marine

No Uniforms?
Shown with Major Brewster Rhodes and Warrant Officer Edwards the cadets in this picture were the first group of women to receive officer training in the Marine Corps. You may notice that they are attired in Navy uniforms that were not very uniform. The reason? Their Marine uniforms were not ready.(34) The cadets don't appear concerned with this oversight however. Since slacks and pants were rarely worn by women then, the cadets "marched around in the snow and mud in skirts and heels." One cadet even marched with a fashionable hat!(35) The new Marine uniforms were unveiled in April, 1943, shortly before these young women graduated.(36)

Keep Marching
Captain Claire Burgess-Griese was a member of this first class. When asked about her training, she recalled the words every Marine knows, "Once a Marine, always a Marine. She also recalled her drill instructor, Sergeant Gaddy. He was an old school Marine who let the cadets know that training women was the worst thing that could have happened to him. While the new Marines drilled, he advised recruits to "keep marching" until he told them to stop. This sometimes meant marching right over another cadet. She said he "used to holler at us... right up in our faces, nose to nose." Yet when the girls received their commissions he "was so sweet, congratulating us all." The sergeant later returned to the Pacific and was killed there. "Quite a few of us cried when we heard," Ms. Burgess-Griese recollected.(37)

The first group of women to be trained as officers pose in their makeshift uniforms with Major Brewster Rhodes and Warrant Officer Edwards. Courtesy of MHC Archives(38)
This page was created by [name student] '[grad year] in History 283, Fall Semester 2003 - [e-mail]