Speech Before Giving Oath to Women Being Inducted into Marine Corps, (19 February 1943) Pittsburg, PA

Speech Text

[1] Thank you Bill Sutherland.

[2] I’m very proud to be here with you tonight. I’m proud of our Marine Corps Women’s Reserve, and proud of the glorious spirit of all of you here, and of the women throughout the country for your enthusiastic response when the ranks of the U.S. Marines were thrown open to you.

[3] The deepest desire in the heart of every woman is to stand beside the man she loves, to work with him, to build the home they share, and when the time of danger comes to fight beside him to protect the things they have created together.

[4] Since the beginning of this war, every American woman has asked for some vital work to do to help her country’s war effort. We’ve heard thrilling stories of women’s endurance and devotion in other countries of Europe and Asia where the war was raging, and we can’t be satisfied with half-hearted, part-time assignments while we’re filled with the urgent necessity of giving all our energies and all our abilities to win to freedom, as our fighting sons, husbands, sweethearts, or brothers are doing.

[5] Thousands of women have wanted to volunteer for the armed services since the war began. The door is open now in answer to that need, and our women volunteers are flocking in to serve their country. Many of you, like myself, have been especially attracted by the colorful traditions and the glorious accomplishments of the Marine Corps. They’re a stirring inspiration to us, and we welcome the privilege of becoming one of their gallant number.

[6] With the very impressive ceremony of the administration of the Marine oath, which you are about to hear, we extend a sincere invitation to every one of you who is still looking for her post of greatest service. Volunteer with the Marines and release a man from home duty to fight with his brothers in arms overseas.

[7] These men of ours are fighting gallantly abroad. We can fight gallantly at home by making it possible for a whole division of trained Marines to reinforce them, for each group of Women Reserves will release a group of fighting Marines to take their places beside those already bravely battling devil dogs in the Far East and in North Africa on the hard pressing battle lines throughout the world.

[8] You women here before me have given up your good jobs, your comfortable homes, the pleasures of civilian living for the arduous training of a military life, glorying in the knowledge that you are doing your utmost to speed the victorious return of your loved ones from overseas.

[9] Women have served with the Marines in previous wars. There is the famous woman Marine who fought in uniform in major engagements for three years during the War of 1812 before anyone discovered she was a woman.

[10] By the end of WWI, more than 300 women were serving in the Reserve Corps, the highest-ranking office then was that of Sergeant. You new Women Reserves are eligible for ranks as high as Captain. Your salary and allowances will be the same as those of all Marine Corps members.

[11] The scope and opportunities for you are greater than they have ever been before.

[12] In a short time, we are expecting to be enlisting a thousand women each month, swinging out smartly in your trim uniforms of Marine forest green.

[13] You are going into strange places, taking up new and exciting tasks, becoming a part of a great and glorious tradition which will go with you through the years to come. You are making sacrifices today that will pay you greater dividends tomorrow than you can dream, and I glory with you in the wonderful experiences we are facing together.

[14] Now may I ask you all to stand facing me and raise your right hands while I give to you the solemn oath which will make each and every one of you a member of the United States Marine Corps. At the beginning of the oath, each of you will say I, and then her own name. And then repeat the other words in unison after me.

[15] I,

[15.1] (I [statement of names])

[16] do solemnly swear

[16.1] (do solemnly swear)

[17] that I will bear true faith and allegiance

[17.1] (that I will bear true faith and allegiance)

[18] to the United States of America.

[18.1] (to the United States of America.)

[19] That I will serve them honestly and faithfully

[19.1] (That I will serve them honestly and faithfully)

[20] against all their enemies whomsoever.

[20.1] (against all their enemies whomsoever.)

[21] And that I will obey

[21.1] (And that I will obey)

[22] the orders of the President of the United States

[22.1] (the orders of the President of the United States)

[23] and the orders of the officers appointed over me

[23.1] (and the orders of the officers appointed over me)

[24] according to the rules and the articles

[24.1] (according to the rules and the articles)

[25] for the government of the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps

[25.1] (for the government of the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps)

[26] of the United States.

[26.1] (of the United States.)

[27] And I do further swear

[27.1] (And I do further swear)

[28] that all statements made by me

[28.1] (that all statements made by me)

[29] as now given in this record

[29.1] (as now given in this record)

[30] are correct.

[30.1] (are correct.)

[31] Congratulations, and welcome into the United States Marine Corps Women’s Reserve.