Military Photo of the Day: Opha Mae Johnson

By Shannon Henderson Published on August 13, 2017

Opha Mae Johnson was a United States Marine in the late 1910s. She became the first woman to enlist in the Marine Corps when on August 13, 1918 she enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve, in the midst of World War I. Johnson was the first of 305 women to enlist in the United States Marine Corps Women’s Reserve that day.

She was enlisted as a reservist, and she got the category of “F” (for female). She obtained those categories because, even as women were being allowed into the Marines, they were still not allowed to go to war. Opha Mae Johnson may have worked as a secretary, cook, military nurse or other jobs that the first Marine women were allowed to do. Meanwhile, her male colleagues were being sent to fight in France.

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