May 22, 2020

Young, Braun Introduce Bill to Designate Opha May Johnson Post Office in Kokomo

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Today, U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.)  and U.S. Senator Mike Braun (R-Ind.) introduced legislation to rename the post office in Kokomo, Indiana after Opha May Johnson, the first American woman to join the Marines who was born in Kokomo. Opha began her service on August 13, 1918 during World War I and continued serving until her retirement in 1943.

“As a fellow Marine, I’m proud to recognize Opha May Johnson, a great American and Hoosier. Her service during a critical time in our nation’s history deserves to be honored. I hope that this designation coinciding with Memorial Day will inspire more Hoosiers to learn her story and be encouraged to serve,” said Senator Young.

“Opha May Johnson was an American patriot who dedicated much of her life to serving our country,” said Senator Mike Braun. “Her readiness and ambition to serve in the Marines during a critical time in America should always be remembered and renaming the post office in Kokomo to honor her is only fitting.”

Opha’s first assignment was in the office of the Quartermaster General of the Marine Corps under Brigadier General Charles L. McCawley in Arlington, Virginia, where she managed the records of other new women Marine reservists. On September 18, 1918, Johnson was promoted to Sergeant and was a senior enlisted woman in the Marine Corps by the end of WWI.  After the war, the Marine Corps began discharging women from active duty, but Opha continued serving as a civil servant in the War Department until she retired in 1943.

Click here to read Senator Young and Senator Braun's letter of support.