Writer's Guide to Government Information

Resources to inject real life detail into your fiction

A History of the Women Marines, 1946-1977

Stremlow, Mary V. 1986. A history of the Women Marines, 1946-1977. Washington, D.C.: History and Museums Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps.

(Paper with link to online version: http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/14158802)

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What occupational classes were available to Women Marines?
  • What did uniforms for Women Marines look like?
  • When were African-Americans admitted to the Women Marines?
  • How did training vary between men and women in the Marine Corps?
  • When were Women Marines allowed to become MPs?
  • What were the circumstances behind dropping separate units for Women Marines?


This well illustrated, 250 page text is mostly arranged chronologically, with separate chapters on:

  • Recruit training
  • Officer training
  • Administration of women (including barracks, daily routine, and discipline)
  • Promotions
  • Marriage, motherhood, and dependent husbands
  • Uniforms
  • Laurels and Traditions

The narrative portion of the book ends with biographical sketches of the Sergeants Major of Women Marines and of the Directors of Women Marines. The work as a whole concludes with several appendices and an index. The appendices of most interest to writers include:

  • Occupational fields for women officers
  • Occupational fields for enlisted women
  • Women Marine units, 1946-1977
  • Women Marines who served in Vietnam, 1967-1973

If you are writing about female characters of this period who are Marines, think of this book as a character bible. What your character wore, what ranks they could attain and what military specialties they could work in are all here. If you’re writing science fiction about worlds where women are just starting to come into their own, this book might help you describe that world’s military service.


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