MARGARET M. HENDERSON, USMC (DECEASED)
Colonel Margaret M. Henderson served as Director of Women Marines from 2 March 1959 until 2 January 1964. The Legion of Merit was awarded her upon retirement, 31 January 1966, “for exceptionally meritorious performance of outstanding services as planner, administrator, and leader of Women Marines throughout a distinguished career.
Margaret Monroe Henderson was born on 6 February 1911 in Cameron, Texas. She was graduated from high school at Kenedy, Texas, in 1928, and received her BA degree upon graduation from the University of Texas in 1932. She then taught in secondary schools of Lubbock, Texas, until the spring of 1943 when she entered the Marine Corps.
After completing the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve Officer Training School at Mt. Holyoke, Massachusetts, she was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Women’s Reserve on 30 June 1943. During World War II, she served as an instructor at Women Marine Schools, Camp Lejeune, and as Officer in Charge of the Business School, Marine Corps Institute, Washington. D.C. Returning to Camp Lejeune in September 1945, she became Executive Officer of the Women’s Reserve Battalion.
Detached from active duty in May 1946, Colonel Henderson returned to Lubbock, where she served as an instructor at Texas Technological College for two years. In November 1948, she was integrated into the regular Marine Corps and returned to active duty, with the passage of the Women’s Armed Forces Integration Act. At this same time, the Women’s Reserve received the title of Women Marines.
During subsequent tours of duty, she served consecutively as Commander of the Women’s Recruit Training Battalion, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina; Head, Women’s Affairs Section, Division of Plans and Policies, Headquarters Marine Corps; and Commander of the Women Officers Training Detachment, Marine Corps Schools, Quantico. She was promoted to lieutenant colonel in January 1953.
From January 1955 to March 1957, Colonel Henderson served as Assistant G-1, at the Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, California. In April 1957, she was assigned to Headquarters Marine Corps as Head, Women Affairs Section, G-1 Division.
On 2 March 1959, she assumed duty as Director of Women Marines, with the rank of colonel. Upon assuming this post, Colonel Henderson became the third Director of Women Marines, succeeding Colonels Katherine A. Towle (1948-53), and Julia E. Hamblet (1953-59). 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).
From January 1964 until her retirement, Colonel Henderson served as Assistant G-1 (Personnel), Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego. She was placed on the retired list with the rank of colonel, the rank she held as Director of Women Marines. She passed away 28 December 2004.