GIRLS REPLACE MARINES WHO ARE POOR TYPISTS BUT GOOD FIGHTERS

This was from an old newspaper clipping someone donated to the museum, and although it isn’t about New Mexican women, per se, New Mexican women most certainly joined the Military during World War II

Pittsburgh, PA                                                                                                           August  19, 1943

By Frances C Walker

“They’re much  better  than  the men at office work, ” said  Lieutenant  Colonel  A. E. Simon of the Marine Corps, in charge of the induction and recruiting  district of Pittsburgh in commenting on the Women’s Reserve.

“Why shouldn’t  they be?” he drawled.  “The men are trained to be soldiers, not typists.”  And he explained that the Marine  Corps differs from the other branches of service because it has no one in it for limited services ; every Marine is  enlisted for combat duty. Every man is taught how to fight with hand grenade, with bayonet, or in the machine corps, and typewriting is just an “additional” duty.

The slogan “Free a Marine to Fight” is no mere phrase, pointed out Colonel Simons, for every girl in the Women’s Reserve actually releases a man for active duty. “Soon  there’ll  be no one but old timers like me and the girls in the office, “ he said. It was impossible to tell if he said it hopefully or wistfully, for his tone is always matter-of-fact.

And that’s that

“Taciturn, modest  and blunt, looking, talking, and acting in the way people expect of a Marine.” That’s the way a co-worker has  described Colonel Simons. But the Colonel is really not taciturn. He was willing to praise the girls in the Women’s Reserve, but what could he say?  They are doing a good job, and that’s that. As for discipline, well, there isn’t much, because not much is needed.  The girls work hard and they work late if there is anything to do around   the  induction center. They are there six days  a week, working late when groups of young men selected for service  are sent to the Marine office.  Now that recruiting has stopped, except for the 17-year-olds, there are no speeches, and little questioning of candidates.

Asked if he had resented, as an old-time Marine, having women in  the corps, Colonel Simons said that it sounded like a  sensible idea from  the  start.  The Marines  were  the  last branch  of service to have women members, and if  the Army, Navy, and Coast Guards  found  them helpful, why shouldn’t the Marines, he contended.

“Anyway, the  Government decided, so we ought  to  be perfectly  willing, said the Colonel. “We get used to anything.”

Someone at the  induction center  ventured  to  say that  Colonel Simon  had had to get  “used to a great many things” in his own career. A Marine since 1909, he has been on active duty in Mexico, Nicaragua, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Philippines. Except for the two brief assignments in Guam and the Philippines, his military service has been practically all spent in Central and South America.

Pittsburgh’s officers in charge think a great deal of the girls in Uncle Sam’s service. Some of these old timers  were  prejudiced  at  first—but not now. Today’s interview with Lieutenant Colonel A.E. Simon of the Marine Corps regarding the Women’s Reserve is the second article in a series.

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