Master Sgt. Catherine G. Murray, first female Marine to retire from active service, laid to rest

Master Sgt. Catherine G. Murray, the first enlisted female Marine to retire from the Marine Corps, was laid to rest Tuesday in Arlington National Cemetery.

Murray, born in 1917, first served in motor transport during World War II and remained in active service until her retirement in 1962. She said hearing then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1941 radio broadcast announcing the attack on Pearl Harbor was a pivotal moment in her life.

“I realized our nation was at war, and I asked myself, ‘What can I do?’ I thought about it, and it came to me: I would enlist in the armed forces,” she said.

During the final years of her life, Murray maintained a YouTube channel where she discussed her life experiences.

In a May 2017 video titled ‘Equal Rights for Women,’ Murray discussed the inequality she faced as a woman in the armed forces. She recalled an incident in which several men were speaking about their career achievements and she felt they weren’t giving women due credit.

“There are many women Marines who are working in their own jobs just as hard as the male Marines,” she said. “I stood up at my desk in the other corner and I gave my typewriter a big bang. I said, ‘There’s my rifle.'”

“Did you tell them to remember there were 18,000 women Marines?” Mark Adkins, Murray’s caretaker who was shooting the video, asked.

“Yes, I did. I also said before I shot up, ‘As a matter of fact, you wouldn’t even be here if it wasn’t for some woman,'” Murray added. “I didn’t shut up, I had my say and I never regretted it.”

When asked about her advice for women today, Murray shared three simple words from another female colonel she admired: “Press on regardless.”

Murray died Dec. 20 at her home in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, at the age of 100.

The final video posted to Murray’s account before her death shows her singing along to the Marine’s Hymn in honor of the Marine Corps’ birthday on Nov. 10, 2017.

“Catherine was a true angel and a Marine to the very end. She was a life member of the Women Marines Association and participated in events until the end,” Mary Ann Merritt with Women Marines Association told ABC via email.” Her [WMA] chapter FL-3 Gold Coast along with Mark were her family. That is the spirit of the Marine Corps.”

While Murray’s funeral was prepaid, Merrit said, the cost of transporting her remains to Arlington National Cemetery was not covered. Murray’s local WMA chapter has launched a fundraiser to offset those costs.

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27 thoughts on “Master Sgt. Catherine G. Murray, first female Marine to retire from active service, laid to rest”

  1. Well, Top Sgt, I can only imagine how many times you were ready to say ‘F*ck this sh*t;, but you realized there was something more than the individual involved, Warriors can’t fight a war without weapons, bullets, chow, medical supplies, transportation, and so on. You and your typewriter surely saved many lives and won many battles. Not only were you fighting ‘the Big War’, you were fighting a daily battle within your own ranks. Speaking for myself, I salute you and your hero sisters for supporting those who would look upon you with less then equal par. Semper Fi, Marine, Rest in Peace, Job Well Done!!

  2. God Bless her. Reminds me of my Mother. Dad was a corpsman attached to Marine Embassy Guard unit in Peking China, and was taken as POW at beginning of WWII, spent entire war as Japanese POW. Old brother was a Marine and was in 1st Tank Battalion involved in Inchon landing and the charge to Seoul, later at Chosin Reservoir. Came home with would through lower thigh near the knee. Semper Fi —

  3. Thanking you for your notable and long-lasting service to our Country and our Corps, for without the tireless efforts and contributions of you and so many of our fellow Sister Marines, Marines have remained “the Few…the Proud”, the world’s finest military organization! Semper Fi, My Sister…May God be with you, as you continue to serve with our fallen Brothers and Sisters! Peace!

  4. IT WAS MY PRIVILEGE TO BE ONE OF MANY WHO KNEW CATHERINE THROUGH HER POSTS AND MARK’S RHETORIC. AN AMAZING SISTER MARINE. I TOO AM A WW2 MARINE FROM 1943-45 SO WE HAD SOMETHING IN COMMON. REST IN PEACE MY DEAR FRIEND. MAY MARK AND YOUR FAMILY OF FRIENDS BE BLESSED BY GOD.

  5. HEAVEN IS LOADED WITH THE BEST OF THE BEST,YOU ARE JOINING A PRESTIGIOUS GROUP WITH HONORS,PAVING THE WAY FOR THE REST OF US. GOD BLESS AND KEEP ALL SAFE,TILL WE MEET AGAIN. SEMPER FI.

  6. Rest in Peace you beautiful Marine. The United States appreciated Lady Marine!!! You devoted a large amount of your life time to the Corps. You are an inspiration to all.

  7. From one MSgt to another, RIP and Semper Fi! Proud of all that you accomplished in your career. You paved the way for many to follow. May God be with you always!

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