Miranda Bloch, The Flying Marine
"I am proud that I had the guts and the patriotism to defy my parents and enlist in the service of my country when it needed me." –Miranda Bloch
"What is a nice Jewish girl going to do in the military, especially in the Marine Corps?" –Miranda Bloch’s incredulous father
Did you know that there were women in the Marines in the 1940’s? I certainly didn’t.
Miranda “Randy” Bloch not only served as a Marine during World War II, she was one of the rare women Marines to be issued flight orders, helping pilots and air crew train for radar bombing runs.
Bloch was born in Jerusalem, but grew up in Philadelphia. She enlisted as a Marine in 1943–just after her 21st birthday, when she no longer required her father’s permission. She was sworn in at the steps of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. by Major Ruth Cheney Streeter, the first director of the United States Marine Corps Women's Reserve.
Bloch proved herself to be an excellent mechanic, and was sent with 29 other women to train on experimental radio aircraft gear. She learned to install and repair radio gear in mid-flight, how to use a parachute in case the crew needed to abandon their plane over the ocean, and logged countless hours in flight time during training missions.
One of the few women marines to be issued flight orders, Randy regularly flew in aircraft with pilots practicing radar bombing techniques before leaving for combat. As a flyer, Miranda was required to wear the standard alpaca lined flight jacket, Mae West vest, and seat parachute in case her crew had to "ditch" over the ocean. So, not only could she be called on to repair radio gear while IN THE AIR, but she had to be prepared to be thrown from a plane at any moment.
I wonder if her parents ever came to terms with her decision to become a Marine? I guess everything she accomplished—being given flight orders, becoming a mechanic, learning to repair damaged instruments mid-flight—provided a firm answer to her father’s question. What’s a nice Jewish girl going to do in the military? Fly.
How to cite this page
Metal, Tara. "Miranda Bloch, The Flying Marine ." 23 May 2014. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on April 18, 2015) <http://jwa.org/blog/miranda-bloch-flying-marine>.