The history of women in the Marines

Out of 200,000 women in the military, 7 percent of them are in the Marines.

You've probably heard the Marine slogan: The few, the proud, the Marines. I want to introduce you to the brave and the strong. I'm talking about the women who are proud to call themselves Marines.

Since 1918, women have served in the Marine Corps. The women are separated from the men during training.

In 1949, nearly 70 years ago, the Marines activated a separate command for the sole purpose of training female recruits. This command later became the 4th Recruit Training Battalion and now serves as the only battalion in the Corps for training female recruits at Parris Island.

READ MORE: The making of a Marine

Annie Nguyen is from the First Coast. She's a graduate of Mandarin High School. She's currently training to become a Marine.

"My family came here straight from Vietnam,  didn't have much," Nguyen said.

She says this country gave her family opportunity, so she wanted to give back. This recruit admits the journey to becoming a Marine hasn't been easy.

"I understood there was going to be yelling, but I didn't know how intense it was when someone's yelling at you telling you to do something," she said.

Statistics show more than 200,000 women are actively serving in the military. Women make up 19 percent of the Air Force, 16 percent of the Navy, about 14 percent make up the Army, 16 percent make up the Coast Guard, but when it comes to the Marines, that number is only about 7 percent.

In order to begin recruit training, women must be able do at least one pull up, or 15 push ups, 44 crunches and run a mile and a half in 15 minutes.

"If you actually run, doing PT isn't going be hard at all because you're doing it throughout the day, all day, every day," said Linda Edwards, a Jacksonville teacher and mother of a Marine.

Edwards came to Parris Island as part of an educators workshop to see what it takes.

"I have a great appreciate for what these recruits go through," Edwards said.

Linda was on the obstacle course giving it her all.

"Like all of us that are going through this, it's very hard," she said. "But, it makes us appreciate what these men and women go through to serve our country."

As for Nguyen, she looks to the future with pride.

"Things here are great and keep praying for good luck, sir," she said.

I have some good news. Annie graduated from boot camp just a few days ago. She is now a United States Marine.

READ MORE: 'We Make Marines': Graduation Day at Parris Island

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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