Don’t get confused: Molly Marine, depicted above in her usual spot in New Orleans, was never an actual marine. Instead she’s something perhaps cooler: a monument representing all the women who have served in the United States Marines, the first of its kind, erected after World War II. But you don’t have to look to hard real lady marines: take Angela Salinas, for example, who dedicated a replica of this statue this 4th of July weekend.
At her retirement, Salinas was the highest ranking woman currently serving in the United States Marine Corps, reaching the rank of Major General by the end of a career that began when she enlisted in 1974. The daughter of Mexican immigrants, she was the first woman of Hispanic descent to become a general officer of the Marines and remained, up until her retirement this weekend, the highest ranking Hispanic person in the Corps. After thirty-nine years with the Marines, Salinas dedicated the new Molly Marine monument on her last day of active service. It was not lost on her that she is retiring from the Corps at the same time that many opportunities are opening up for women within its ranks:
“I got to see everything that could possibly happen happen during my time in the Marine Corps,” she said. “For me personally, it’s like I’m done. There’s nothing else I could do to make it better for the next generation.”
…having the chance to command as a young officer and serving in roles in which no women had served before her, helped build credibility for women in the Corps, she said, which made leaders recognize that it was time to open more opportunities for women. The path has been paved for female Marines to do great things, she said.
The new Molly Marine statue joins monuments to other heroes of the Marine Corps outside the National Museum of the Marine Corps.