No compilation of legends would be complete without mention of Lucy Brewer. A farm girl from Massachusetts, Lucy Brewer was the legendary first woman Marine.
The War of 1812 was raging when Lucy arrived at Boston. Friendless in the strange city, she met a woman who seemed eager to take a stranger into her home. Lucy was surprised that one woman could have so many daughters, but she soon discovered that home was just a house.
Unsuited to a life of sin, Lucy fled her benefactress, donned men’s clothing, and found refuge in the Marine Corps. No one discovered she was a woman, and as a member of the “Constitution’s” Marine guard, she saw action in some of the bloodiest sea fights of the war.
Her exploits came to light when she published an autobiographical account of her experiences. She described her heroism in the major battles of the “Constitution” with such details as manning the fighting tops as a marksman, taking toll of the British with musket fire. True or not, the story of Lucy Brewer makes a wonderful addition to the colorful legends about the Marine Corps.
The first recognized female Marine was Opha M. Johnson who enlisted on August 13, 1918, the day after the Secretary of the Navy granted authority for women to enlist in the Marine Corps Reserve. World War I saw 305 female Marines serving. At that time, there was a military propaganda campaign that showed a now famous Marine Corps poster encouraging women to serve to “free a man to fight”, meaning that women could perform clerical duties that would allow the Corps to use their male Marines for battlefield positions.
Semper Fi Lucy!
Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucy_Brewer