Betty Jo "BJ" Strong Major (Ret) USMC

Betty Jo was most proud of her college degree from University of California, Berkeley and her stint as one of the first women in the US Marine Corps, serving as a Major during WWII. Sure, she was patriotic, but when asked why she joined, she chuckled, “It’s where the boys were!” Born Beatrice Ruth Zimmerman in Lexington, Nebraska on October 17, 1919, Betty Jo enjoyed regaling friends with stories of growing up on a farm with no electricity or running water and riding her horse to the one-room schoolhouse. She still remembered the name of her teacher—who taught all eight grades—and how they heated their house with corncobs and raised crops and animals for the food that today we buy in the supermarket. She was never boring—or grumpy. In fact, one piece of her advice: “Choose your friends wisely and avoid the grumps!”

Celebration of Life aboard the USS Midway October 17, 2018

October 17, 1919 - July 10, 2018

Sergeant Major Grace A. Carle

Sergeant Major Grace A. Carle became the sixth Sergeant Major of Women Marines in ceremonies held at Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C., on April 30, 1974

Born in Yankton, S. Dakota, she graduated from Pender High school, Pender, Nebraska, in May 1940. Sergeant Major Carle enlisted in the Marine Corps in April 1943, and received her training in the eighth and last regiment at Hunter College, N.Y. During World War II, she saw service at Headquarters Marine Corps and in Hawaii. She was released from active duty in November 1945, during a reduction in forces following the war.

She joined the Los Angeles Volunteer Training Unit in 1948, and was ordered to active duty in 1950 at the beginning of the Korean Conflict. She served initially at San Francisco and integrated into the regular Marine Corps in 1951.

Other duty assignments have taken her to El Toro, Calif., Parris Island, S.C., Camp Pendleton, Calif., and at New Orleans, La. as assistant to the Woman Officer Selection Officer. She served as Fist Sergeant at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and Okinawa. At the time of selection for her present position. She was the Sergeant Major of Women Officer School, Quantico, Va. 

September 2, 1922 – September 9, 2019

Michele Kramek

Michele and her brother enlisted in the Marine Corps on a dare. Both graduated from Parris Island, S.C.  After completing her MOS school at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indianapolis, IN, she was stationed at Norfolk, VA as a 4321-Print Journalist. She enjoyed the Journalism Field and advanced in the field. August 27th, 1987 Michele left the Marine Corps from MCDEC Quantico, VA.

December 28 - October 27, 2019

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