Navy: Miranda Bloch (WWII)
Miranda "Randy" Bloch was born in Jerusalem, Palestine on June 26, 1922. Her father, Isaac, had originally gone to Palestine as an aide to General John J. Pershing during World War I.
Moving permanently to the United States in 1924, Miranda grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as the oldest of three daughters. When the United States entered World War II, Randy wanted to immediately join the Marines. Only 19 at the time, her father would have none of it: "What is a nice Jewish girl going to do in the military, especially in the Marine Corps?" he asked. However, on September 30, 1943, soon after her 21st birthday, Miranda enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. She was sworn in at the steps of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. by Major Ruth Cheney Street, the first commanding officer of the women marines. Reporting to Camp LeJeune, North Carolina for basic training, Miranda soon demonstrated a strong aptitude for mechanics. Actively searching for qualified airplane mechanics, the Marines sent Randy and 29 other women to an experimental aircraft radio gear. At the conclusion of training, Miranda was expected to be able to install, repair and inspect radio gear in mid flight!
One of the few women marines to be issued flight orders, Randy regularly flew in aircraft with pilots practicing radar bombing techniques before departing 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.
Formally discharged in December 1945, Miranda Bloch currently serves as president of the Greater Philadelphia chapter of the Women Marines Association. Her strongest memory of military life was "seeing the Marines Second Division leave for the Island and seeing such a small number lucky enough to return..." Miranda went on to say, "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."