Photo of the Week: Shirley Kornegay - Pioneering WWII Female Marine Honored

Tough as nails, five feet tall and barely 100 pounds, Shirley Kornegay answered the call to serve at home so that male Marines could fight overseas. She was assigned to drive trucks at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at San Diego, being one of the first...

Tough as nails, five feet tall and barely 100 pounds, Shirley Kornegay answered the call to serve at home so that male Marines could fight overseas. She was assigned to drive trucks at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at San Diego, being one of the first forty-eight female Marines assigned there during World War II. She was also one of the first thousand women to join the United States Marine Corps during World War II under the "Free a Marine to Fight" enlistment program for women instituted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.  The female Marines were called the 49ers at the time and did all types of “men’s work” on base, including fixing trucks in the motor pool, parachute rigging, welding and mapmaking.  

Mrs. Kornegay was a pioneer and trailblazer for all women entering the Marine Corps. The Men’s sharp dress-blue uniforms attracted her to become a Marine. She was honored on 5April 2012, with a Marine burial at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego, California, where several family and friends came to pay tribute to this pioneer. She helped paved the way for future women Marines, and will always be remembered for her toughness and tenacity.

Once a Marine, Always a Marine

For more information on Shirley Kornegay click here

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