by Sgt. Emma Norris
U.S. Marine Corps Recruiting Station Milwaukee
April 22, 2019
Staff Sgt. Nicholas Ranum, a Marine Corps Recruiting Station Milwaukee Marketing and Communications Marine, visited Ruth Voight-Holman, a 96 year old Marine World War II Veteran, at Lasata Senior Living Campus in Cedarburg, Wisconsin on January 23, 2019. He talked with her and bonded over their time in the Marines.
Ruth enlisted in 1944 despite differing opinions about women in service. Many thought it was no place for women but that didn’t stop her and one of her close friends.
“My parents didn’t want me to go,” Ruth said. “They thought I lost my mind, but I knew what I wanted to do. They came around though. The first time I came home they took me out showing me off to the town.”
Opha May Johnson, the first female Marine, enlisted in 1918, so females in the Marine Corps were still a relatively new thing when Ruth joined.
“I loved it and have been proud ever since,” said Ruth. “I am the only one in my family to join the Marines and will be proud of that for the rest of my life.”
Ruth mainly worked as an Administration Marine during her time in service. After the war had ended she was discharged from the Marines as a Corporal.
“That she was able to share her story with me was incredible and such an honor,” said Staff Sgt. Ranum. “To meet any World War II veteran is an honor, but meeting a female veteran that served is a special honor.”
Ruth proudly introduced Staff Sgt. Ranum to her friends just as her dad did with her back when she was home from the Marines.
“I’ve met two other WWII Veterans, and every time I shake their hands and thank them for their service because they paved the way for us today,” said Ranum. “I’m glad I got to meet her and her friends.”
Ranum gave Ruth some Marine Corps gear to keep in her room and remind her of her time in the Marines as well as their visit.
“It’s so nice he came out to see me. I just can’t believe it,” said Ruth. “It was nice meeting and talking with him.”