Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Marine Corps Veteran Julia E. Hamblet, who served as the director of the Women’s Reserve from 1953 to 1959.
Julia E. Hamblet was born in May 1916 in Winchester, Massachusetts. After attending high school in Plainfield, New Jersey, Hamblet went to Vassar College to obtain a degree in economics. After graduating in 1937, she worked in the U.S. Information Service in Washington, D.C., until 1943.
In March 1943, Hamblet became one of the first officer candidates in the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve, stating, “I wanted to do what my country was asking me to do.” By May 1943, Hamblet commissioned as a first lieutenant and worked in women’s recruitment at Hunter College in New York. In her tours of duty, Hamblet served in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina; Camp Pendleton, California; and Quantico, Virginia. Hamblet received a Letter of Commendation with Commendation Ribbon for commanding the Aviation Women’s Reserve Group I in Cherry Point, North Carolina, during World War II.
In September 1946, Hamblet became director of the Women’s Reserve. She remained in this position until November 1948, when the Women’s Armed Forces Integration Act passed and she accepted a regular commission. Hamblet also earned a master’s degree in public administration from The Ohio State University in 1951. After graduating, Hamblet worked as a staff member to the commander at the headquarters in Hawaii. Soon after, in 1952, Hamblet moved to Quantico to become an officer in charge of the Women Officers Training Detachment.
After her work in Quantico, Hamblet became the youngest director of Women Marines and held the longest term from May 1953 to March 1959. As the director, Hamblet achieved the rank of colonel, the highest rank a woman could receive at the time.
Hamblet moved to Naples, Italy, as a military secretary to the commander-in-chief in March 1959. After returning from Italy in May 1962, she served at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island for the last three years of her service. Hamblet retired in May 1965 and received a Legion of Merit for “outstanding service as planner, administrator and leader of Women Marines throughout a distinguished career which encompassed every major assignment in the women’s program…”
Hamblet passed away at the age of 100 in 2017.
We honor her service.
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Writer: Alexis Gillie
Editors: Alexander Reza and Annabelle Colton
Fact checker: Giacomo Ferrari
Graphic artist: Kiki Kelley