Semper Fi: The Marines Want African-American Women To Join The Few, The Proud

November 12, 2012  |  

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On Veterans Day, the US honors its military. And one branch, the Marines, wants you. A new Marine ad is targeting multicultural recruits, including African American women.

Titled, “Fighting With Purpose,” the campaign was created by the advertising and marketing firms UniWorld Group, an African-American ad agency, and JWT. The new ad features 1st Lt. Drexel King, an African-American based at Camp Pendleton, and Capt. Monica Meese, a Latina raised in Irvine and based at Joint Base Andrews, Md.

With more and more African Americans entering military service, the Marines was to attract them to their ranks. “In the last fiscal year, 4.7% of those joining as Marine Corps officers were African American and 8.4% were Hispanic. In the overall force, enlisted and officer, the Marine Corps has 10% African American and 12.9% Hispanic,” reports The LA Times.  Women make up about 7 percent of the Marine Corps.

The Marines are responding to what they saw during the election cycle: the changing demographics in the U.S., the LA Times says. “Polling and market research had shown that men and women in the 17 to 24 age group are attracted by the Marine Corps’ tradition of being ‘first to fight,’ but also its involvement in humanitarian missions. Also, minorities and women are interested in being leaders and role models in their communities, according to the polling and research,” the paper writes.

Of the 167,000 enlisted women in the military, 31 percent are black (53 percent are white women). “Black women are enlisting in the military at far higher rates than are white or Hispanic women, and they now represent nearly a third of all the women in the armed forces, a new study by the Pew Research Center has found,” according to an article in The New York Times.

Right now, the Marines aren’t the first choice for African-Americans women. The first military branch of choice, the NY Times says: The Air Force. The last choice: The Marines. “The study also found that women were far more likely than men to serve in the Air Force, but far less likely to join the Marine Corps.”

The first black female Marines enlisted in 1949.

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