Colonel Barbara J. Bishop



Colonel Barbara Janet Bishop, who had assumed her assignment as Director of Women Marines on 3 January 1964, retired in August 1969 during ceremonies held in the office of the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Leonard F. Chapman, Jr. Prior to this assignment, she completed a tour of duty in Naples, Italy, as Military Secretary to the Commander in Chief, Allied Forces, Southern Europe.

Colonel Bishop was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on 2 October 1920. She received her early schooling in Everett, Massachusetts, graduating with honors from Everett High School in 1938. Throughout her high school years she was a student of art, attending the Scott Carbee School of Art evenings, and during summer vacations studied landscape painting. In September 1938, she entered Yale University where she completed a six-year course in five years, and was awarded a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Art, 30 January 1943.

Later, after serving on active duty with the Marine Corps from 1943 to 1946, Colonel Bishop earned her Master of Arts Degree at the University of Chicago from September 1946 to June 1948. She accomplished her thesis on five Florentine Cassone panels exhibited in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and was working on her doctorate when she was recalled to active duty by the Marine Corps in 1948.

Colonel Bishop began her Marine Corps career by enlistment in the U.S. Marine Corps Women’s Reserve on 18 February 1943 at Boston. She was assigned to active duty on 10 April 1943, reporting as a private to the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve Officer Candidates’ Class at the U.S. Naval Reserve Midshipmen’s School (WR), at Northampton, Massachusetts. She was appointed a Cadet in the Women’s Reserve on 4 May 1943, and 1 June of that year, was commissioned a Marine Reserve second lieutenant.

She was thereupon assigned as a detachment officer with the Marine Training Detachment at the U.S. Naval Training School, University of Indiana at Bloomington. From October 1943 through March 1945, she was attached to the Marine Aviation Detachment at the Naval Air Station, Atlanta, Georgia, as an administrative officer. In April 1945, she joined Aviation Women’s Reserve Squadron 21 at the Marine Corps Air Station, Quantico, Virginia, serving as Squadron Executive Officer and Commanding Officer, respectively, until February 1946. She then served with the Division of Aviation at Headquarters Marine Corps as Officer in Charge of Secret and Confidential Files until she was assigned to an inactive duty status, 10 September 1946, with the rank of captain in the Women’s Reserve.

With the passage of the Women’s Armed Forces Integration Act in 1948, a transfer of personnel to a “regular” status was effected and, at the same time, the Women’s Reserve received the title of Women Marines. Colonel Bishop was recalled to active duty while an graduate student at the University of Chicago in November 1948, and reported for active duty and was commissioned a captain in the Women Marines, 7 December 1948. Assigned to Headquarters Marine Corps, she assumed duty as Officer in Charge, Secret and Confidential Files, Division of Plans and Policies. While there, she was promoted to major in February 1951.

In February 1952, she was transferred to Hawaii where she served in the same capacity at Headquarters, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific, until September 1953. On her return to the continental United States, she served as Commanding Officer, Women Marine Company, Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. She was promoted to her permanent rank of lieutenant colonel in February 1955 with rank from January 1954.

Colonel Bishop returned to Headquarters Marine Corps in May 1955 to serve as Head, Women’s Branch, Division of Reserve, with additional duty as Deputy Director of Women Marines. From October 1956 through July 1959, she was assigned as Commanding Officer, Women’s Recruit Training Battalion, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina. During this assignment, she was cited for exemplary performance of duty in a letter of appreciation by the Commanding General of the Recruit Training Command.

In August 1959, she was named Assistant G-1, Marine Corps Schools, Quantico. She served in this capacity through February 1962, and the following month reported for duty in Europe as Military Secretary to the Commander in Chief, Allied Forces, Southern Europe, Naples, Italy. On 3 January 1964, on assuming her new duties as Director of Women Marines, she was promoted to the temporary rank of colonel.

Upon assuming her new post, Colonel Bishop became the fourth Director of Women Marines, succeeding Colonels Katherine A. Towle (1948-53), Julia E. Hamblet (1953-59), and Margaret M. Henderson (1959-64). Prior to this, there were three directors of the Women’s Reserve, Colonels Ruth Cheney Streeter (1943-45), Katherine A. Towle (1945-46), and Julia E. Hamblet (1946-48).

Marine Corps University