Hispanic Women in the Marine Corps
Womens History Month
The first known Latina woman Marine served during World War II. Her name was Maria Lourdes (Torres) Maes. Like many women of her era, she joined the Marines specifically to “Free a Man to Fight.” She attained the terminal rank of Corporal.
Born in Puerto Rico, Rose Franco enlisted in 1952 during the Korean War and served until her retirement in 1977. She was the first Hispanic woman to become a chief warrant officer.
Corporal Ramona Valdez, born in the Dominican Republic and raised in the Bronx was the first woman to die in combat in the Iraq War. She was killed in Iraq on June 23, 2005. On August 26, 2017, Fordham Road & Grand Concourse was dedicated as “Marine Corporal Ramona Valdez Square,” in her honor.
The child of Mexican immigrants, Angela Salinas was the first in her family to graduate from college. On August 2, 2006, Major General Angela Salinas made history when she became the first Hispanic female to obtain a general rank in the Marine Corps. Upon her retirement in 2013, she was the highest-ranking female officer in the Marines.
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