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Musical Women Marines - The Marine Corps Women's Reserve Band in World War II  

Ellen Piano


By Rita Ellen Stone and

Bonnie Smallwood Medin

2015 edition

Originally published, 1981

104 full-size pages Including 25 photographs from public and private collections.

The amazing history of a unique group of young women who left families and friends to join the Marines and "free a Marine to fight!"  Bonnie Smallwood Medin was one of these women who enlisted in the Marine Corps and traveled from all parts of the United States to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. 


Rita Ellen Stone writes their story -- how they conquered basic training and were formed into a full-time professional musical organization by three Marines from the  all-male (at the time) United States Marine Band -- the "President's Own."  The women's Marine Corps band only existed for two years, 1943-45, at a time when women in the military were needed to fill the ranks of men, even musicians, who were sent overseas to fight in Europe and the Pacific. 

  • Were the male Marines at Camp Lejeune welcoming to these women Marines? 
  • Why did the women enlist?
  • Who fell in love? 
  • What happened to them after World War II ended?

A wonderful story for any musician!