In Photos: Women Marines During WWII
A Marine winches an engine from the hood of a truck, while another works on the motor with a wrench, as females were taught the tasks which had been traditionally considered the occupations of men. The women were trained at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts before being sent out. Much of their training was conducted entirely by female naval staff, but their drill training was handled by male drill instructors, who were notoriously hostile to the new recruits.
A boxing match takes place in makeshift ring between two Marines on-board a ship that is transporting the Corps to Hawaii. For their recreational activities, including sports and field outings, the women wore their ‘peanut suits’, so called for its tan color, a one piece seersucker ensemble. When they were not exercising the women wore long skirts and covered their legs, in keeping with the strict gender customs of the time.
Female Marines are taught how to load and fire heavy machine guns during aerial gunnery training. If the enemy ever attacked, the Americans would be relying on their women to return fire from their battle stations. In addition to weaponry, the women were taught history, strategy and military law, to enable them to become great fighters.