Opha May Johnson

Opha May Johnson was born on May 4, 1879, in Kokomo, and was the first woman Marine. In 1918, the Secretary of Navy allowed women to enroll for clerical duty in the Marine Corps. On Aug. 13, 1918, Johnson, due to the good fortune of being first in line that day, was the first of over 300 women to enlist in the United States Marine Corps Women's Reserve. According to 1918 newspaper articles, as well as the published history of Women Marines in World War I, Johnson's first duties were as a clerk at Marine Corps headquarters, managing the records of other female reservists who joined after she did. On June 12th, 1948, Congress passed the Women's Armed Services Integration Act and made women a permanent part of the regular Marine Corps. There will be a commemoration celebration in Johnson's honor at noon, Aug. 13, at Foster Park.

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