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Molly Marine the first monnument in the United States of a woman in service uniform sculpted by Enrique Alferez during World War II stands in New Orleans, La.
-- AP Photo/Judi Bottoni
Story by Cpl. James Covington
MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va.(Sept. 1, 2000) -- With all the fanfare appropriate for the symbol of female Marines, Quantico will welcome Molly Marine into its ranks during a ceremony at the Marine Corps Research Center Saturday at 10a.m.
Quantico's Molly Marine statue is a bronze replica of the original which stands on the corner of Elk and Canal streets in NewOrleans.
The original Molly Marine statue, dedicated November 10, 1943, was sculpted by Enrique Alferez, a Mexican artist who served as a mapmaker in Poncho Villa's revolutionary army. Because of wartime restrictions on bronze, Alferez sculpted his statue with granite and marble chips.
"Molly Marine represents the countless contributions female Marines have made to the Corps," said Capt. Avalon Hevel, a legal assistance attorney with the Staff Judge Advocate and the coordinator for the unveiling ceremony. "She has become a symbol of esprit de corps for all women Marines."
The ceremony will feature several guest speakers including MGen. John Cronin, commanding general, Marine Corps Base Quantico; MGen. David Mize, commanding general Marine Forces Reserve; retired LtGen. Carol Mutter, the co-founder of the Molly Marine Restoration Society and incoming president of the Women Marines Association; Maj. Carolyn Dysart, the personnel and family readiness officer for Marine Forces Reserve; and Mrs. Annie Snyder, one of five models for the original Molly Marine statue. The Marine Corps Band will also play several songs including "March of the Women Marines."
"The ceremony will honor those first women who joined the Marine Corps," said Hevel, "women like Mrs. Snyder and the older generation of women Marines who were pioneers in the Marine Corps. Molly Marine honors the sacrifices they made that allow me to be an active duty Marine today."
Tomorrow's ceremony will not be the first unveiling of a Molly Marine replica. Parris Island held a similar ceremony in October 1999.
"Molly Marine symbolizes the sacrifices women have made to earn the title Marine," said Hevel. "Quantico is where female Marine officers train, and all female recruits are sent to Parris Island to become Marines. Molly Marine has been placed in both places to symbolize the significant roles female Marines haveplayed."
By Lance Cpl. Beck Pridemore
MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. (Oct. 23, 1999) -- Approximately 150 Marines and civilians came to Parris Island's Memorial Park to witness the dedication of the new Molly Marine monument today. The statue is the first of two bronze casts made from the original Molly Marine statue that stands at the corner of Elk Place and Canal Street in New Orleans.
Among the dignitaries attending were MGen. David Mize, commanding general Marine Forces Reserve, New Orleans, and LtGen. (ret.) Carol Mutter, formerly the highest-ranking female officer in the Marine Corps and present co-chair of the Molly Marine Restoration Society.
LtGen. Mutter called the dedication "a really big day for the Marine Corps, but especially for women Marines. "Marine Corps history books tend to focus on Marine Corps battles and the brave warriors who fight on the front lines, and that's as it should be, but winning battles doesn't happen without great support. And that's where you find the story of women Marines, past and present."
LtGen. Mutter went on to recognize the contributions of the women who answered the call to be Marines during World War II.
"When the Marine Corps permanently opened its ranks to women in February of 1943, women were recruited to 'Free a Marine to Fight,' and they certainly did," said Mutter. "Their record of outstanding service and their invaluable contributions to the wartime mission laid the foundation for ever-increasing opportunities in the Marine Corps."
The original Molly Marine, standing 20 feet tall from the ground to the top of her cover, became the first monument in the United States of a woman in military uniform and was dedicated in New Orleans on the Marine Corps' 168th birthday, Nov. 10, 1943.
The idea of Marine Tech. Sgt. Charles Gresham, Molly was originally intended to be used as a recruiting tool for the Marine Corps. Enrique Alferez, a renowned French Quarter artist, donated his time and skill to sculpt the statue.
Judy Mosgrove, a professional model, and four Marines from the recruiting office served as the models for Molly.
Sergeant Hazel Parker and 1stLt. Anne Delp posed for the body of the sculpture and Sgts. Louise Godal and Neilson Strock were Alferez's inspiration for her face.
Alferez had to use marble chips and granite, instead of the usual bronze to cast the statue, because of wartime restrictions on materials. Due to this the statue has required restoration twice in her "lifetime."
"On the surface, our Molly Marine may not look like the women we saw this morning receiving their Eagle, Globe and Anchor for the first time (at the Crucible emblem ceremony), but on the inside I assure you that that patriotism, the honor, the courage and the commitment is the same," said LtGen. Mutter. "We're here today, within sight of the Iron Mike statue, to dedicate this statue to all the women who?ve worn the Eagle, Globe and Anchor. All of them, past, present and future, are inextricably linked by that specialness of being a Marine."
The Marine Support Group, the Marine Corps Coordinating Council, the Women Marines Association and the Marine Corps League were responsible for raising more than $40,000 for the monument project which began nearly one-and-a-half years ago. The two primary goals of their effort were to restore the original monument and its surroundings and to cast two bronze replicas of the statue in her honor. The first of these replicas was dedicated today on the Parris Island, the only enlisted female training facility.
The other will be placed at the Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Quantico, Va., the only female Marine officer training facility. The dedication ceremony for the Quantico replica is planned for September 2000.
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