Opha May Jacob Johnson, first female Marine, to be honored in Indiana

Opha May Johnson, center, the first woman to join the Marines in 1918, watches as adjustments are made to a World War I uniform being modeled by Pfc. Muriel Albert.


By KOKOMO TRIBUNE, IND. Published: August 2, 2018

KOKOMO, Ind. (Tribune News Service) — The Indiana World War I Centennial Committee will commemorate the first female Marine with a special ceremony in Kokomo’s Foster Park on the 100th anniversary of her enlistment.

Born in Kokomo on May 4, 1878, Opha May Jacob Johnson was first in line when the recruiting station in Washington, D.C., opened its doors to women. She ultimately became the first female Marine in the United States Marine Corps Women’s Reserve on Aug. 13, 1918.

Johnson and hundreds of others like her paved the way for women in the military. Today the Marine Corps has more than 12,000 enlisted women and 1,300 female officers in its ranks.

A celebration of Johnson will be held at noon Monday, Aug. 13, in Foster Park.

Among the special guests will be retired Lt. General Carol A. Mutter, who will speak at the event. Mutter was the first female to receive the rank of lieutenant general in the United States Armed Forces.

The public is invited to attend. Attendees are requested to bring lawn chairs, as seating is limited.

To learn more about the Indiana WW1 Centennial Committee, visit www.ww1cc.org/Indiana.

At an annual recognition banquet on Aug. 24, Johnson will also be inducted into this year's Howard County Hall of Legends class.

The induction banquet will begin at 6 p.m. at Bel Air Events. Tickets may be purchased online through the historical society’s website, www.howardcountymuseum.org, or through www.eventbrite.com.

Attendees may also purchase them at the society’s office at 1218 W. Sycamore St., behind Elliott House, or by calling 765-452-4314.

©2018 the Kokomo Tribune (Kokomo, Ind.)
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