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USMC Dress Blues

Started by Sgt Brown , Feb 21 2009 08:29 AM

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#1 Sgt Brown

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 08:29 AM

I have seen a dress blue "WWII Woman Marine Uniform" for sale. I have a strong suspicion BAM's were not authorized such uniforms during the war. Can anyone give me a starting date?

Thanks,
Tom http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/thumbsup.gif

#2 a6skin9

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 05:17 PM

Women Marines did not have a dress blue uniform until 1952, and the term BAM is considered an insult to many former WMs.

#3 cwnorma

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 08:03 PM

Women Marines did not have a dress blue uniform until 1952...


Here is a well known photo of Gunnery Sergeant Opha Mae Johnson, inspecting 3 Marines (F), taken in 1918, wearing her (possibly) one of a kind women's dress blue uniform. The three Marines (F) she is inspecting are wearing their standard uniform. While a Marine (F) dress blue uniform never may have been authorized by regulations, it clearly was, at least in one instance "allowed."

OphaMae.jpg


As far as I know It is the only known photograph of this particular uniform in wear, and I have never seen any reference to it.


Chris

#4 Sgt Brown

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 08:27 PM

Thanks for the info. That answers my question.

Tom http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/thumbsup.gif

#5 Bob Hudson

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 08:29 PM

Here is a well known photo of Gunnery Sergeant Opha Mae Johnson, inspecting 3 Marines (F), taken in 1918, wearing her (possibly) one of a kind women's dress blue uniform. The three Marines (F) she is inspecting are wearing their standard uniform. While a Marine (F) dress blue uniform never may have been authorized by regulations, it clearly was, at least in one instance "allowed."

OphaMae.jpg


As far as I know It is the only known photograph of this particular uniform in wear, and I have never seen any reference to it.
Chris


Life magazine had another version from 1917 with a caption that said, "Lillian Russell wearing US Marine Corps Woman Reserve uniform..." Lillian Russell was a popular singer of the era and according to Wikipedia, "During World War I, she recruited for the U.S. Marine Corps and raised money for the war effort." I suspect that the uniform was something put together just for the recruiting duty. I believe the other photo is also of Miss Russell: Opha Mae Johnson was the first woman Marine but she was a private. Miss Johnson may be one of the other three women in the photo.

bam1.jpg

#6 Bob Hudson

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 08:36 PM

Also from the LIFE archives on Google is a 1918 photo of the "Marinettes" of WWI wearing the typical uniform. Below that is a 1994 shot of a female Marine in a "summer dress" uniform.

bam2.jpg

bamsummerdress.jpg

#7 cwnorma

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 09:04 AM

Life magazine had another version from 1917 with a caption that said, "Lillian Russell wearing US Marine Corps Woman Reserve uniform..." Lillian Russell was a popular singer of the era and according to Wikipedia, "During World War I, she recruited for the U.S. Marine Corps and raised money for the war effort." I suspect that the uniform was something put together just for the recruiting duty. I believe the other photo is also of Miss Russell: Opha Mae Johnson was the first woman Marine but she was a private. Miss Johnson may be one of the other three women in the photo.

bam1.jpg



Bob,

Well, Opha Mae Johnson enrolled as a Private, but she also holds the distinction of having been the highest ranking Marine (F) attaining the rank of Sergeant by the end of the war ("Dressed for Duty Vol 1" -- Halcomb Smith P333). A photograph of Opha Mae Johnson (ibid: P334) shows that she does indeed look very similar to the woman in the photographs identified by Life Magazine as Lillian Russel.

The three other women are identified in another famous photo, taken in the same location, (probably during the same photo session) are left to right: PFC Ruth Spike, PFC May O'Keef, and PFC Mary Kelly ("American Women in WW1" -- Gavin, P40). All three were were assigned to Headquarters USMC, Washington, DC.

So, you are most assuredly correct. I put two and two together and came up with 5. Opha Mae Johnson was mustered out as a Sergeant (but not a Gunnery Sergeant), she looked similar to Lillian Russel, and apparently Lillian Russel's "uniform" was a "stage prop."

Thanks for correcting my math! :)

Chris

Edited by cwnorma, 22 February 2009 - 09:08 AM.


#8 Bob Hudson

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 09:11 AM

So, you are most assuredly correct. I put two and two together and came up with 5. Opha Mae Johnson was mustered out as a Sergeant (but not a Gunnery Sergeant), she looked similar to Lillian Russel, and apparently Lillian Russel's "uniform" was a "stage prop."

Thanks for correcting my math! :)

Chris


It's those fairly new LIFE archives in the Google Images: there's a lot yet to be learned from those millions of (mostly unpublished) photos with captions.

#9 teufelhunde.ret

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Posted 11 May 2011 - 04:17 AM

...interesting image
http://cgi.ebay.com/...ME:B:SS:US:1123

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#10 teufelhunde.ret

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Posted 11 May 2011 - 04:17 AM

.

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#11 Brig

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 06:24 AM

So, you are most assuredly correct. I put two and two together and came up with 5. Opha Mae Johnson was mustered out as a Sergeant (but not a Gunnery Sergeant), she looked similar to Lillian Russel, and apparently Lillian Russel's "uniform" was a "stage prop."

Thanks for correcting my math! :)

Chris

while not an expert on ranks of the past by any means...I do believe that back when that chevron was used, a Gunnery Sergeant was one who was a master of arms and ordinance, and was even paid a bit extra for this certification...I believe that criteria would have been beyond the scope of WM's in those days


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