Parris Island to honor female Marines

pdonohue@beaufortgazette.comFebruary 11, 2012 

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Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island will honor the service and sacrifice of female Marines with a day of events Monday, base officials say.

It's been nearly 70 years since women officially became a part of the Corps, and the depot is celebrating with a morning colors ceremony, tours of Parris Island and other events, said Lt. Melanie Salinas, depot spokeswoman.

"The Marine Corps is known for ensuring our future generations of Marines learn the history, traditions (and customs) of our Corps during recruit training," Salinas said. "The celebration ... highlights the history and tradition of women's service in the Marine Corps..."

Women officially became part of the Corps in February 1943 with the establishment of the Marine Corps Women's Reserve, according to military historians. They now make up about 7 percent of the Corps.

Parris Island is the only Marine base where enlisted female Marines train, and Brig. Gen. Lori Reynolds became the first woman in the depot's 97-year history to serve as its commanding general when she took over last year. Parris Island's 4th Recruit Battalion is the unit tasked with training female Marine recruits.

Given those connections, Salinas said the base seemed a perfect venue to host events honoring female Marines.

"Our 4th battalion drill instructors and staff are proud to be responsible for the training of future generations of female Marines," Salinas. "They seek to not only train female Marines to uphold our core values ... but they also seek to educate the recruits on the rich history and contributions of the women who have proudly and honorably served in our Corps."

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