The University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg will welcome Colonel Nancy P. Anderson, USMC, retired, on Tuesday, March 19, at 6:30 p.m. in Village Hall 118. Anderson’s visit is part of the campus’ women’s history month activities. In this Meet the Author event, Anderson will showcase her book “The Very Few, The Proud Women in the Marine Corps, 1977-2001” (History Division, US Marine Corps, 2018). This event is free and open to the public.
“Col. Anderson brings history alive, collectively sharing her personal experiences while highlighting the challenges and dedication of the women who have gone before and those currently serving in the military,” said Lisa Reffner, retired Air Force Veteran and Pitt-Greensburg’s certifying official for Veterans Educational Benefits. “We are excited to welcome Col. Anderson to our campus to share her experiences, both as a historian and as a woman who was leading change in the armed forces.”
In “The Very Few, The Proud Women in the Marine Corps, 1977-2001,” Anderson examines both the expanding opportunities for women in the Marine Corps and the fading cultural gender distinctions in the last quarter of the 20th century. The generation of women described in this history proved themselves in every clime and place, including in command and in combat. Women choose to be Marines for the same reasons as men: duty to country, opportunity, adventure, escaping hardship, or to grow as a person.
She made her mark in women’s history when, in 1977 as a 1st Lieutenant, she became the first female platoon commander when the Marine Corps’ Officer Candidates School (OCS) at Quantico was gender-integrated, and she led the first three gender-integrated OCS companies. Anderson’s career encompassed the time between the dissolution of the separate Women Marines and the 2001 terrorist attacks.
Anderson, recently named interim chief executive officer of the Westmoreland Cultural Trust, retired from the US Marine Corps in 2002 with the rank of Colonel and immediately became a “full-time” active community volunteer for several nonprofit organizations at the local, state, and national level.
Most of Anderson’s military service was spent in tactical communications and computers, in billets ranging from platoon commander through chief of staff, G-6, of 3rd Force Service Support Group, Okinawa. She served as both a battalion commander and a base commander. Her staff positions included deputy, Strategic Plans Division, within the Corps' Headquarters Plans, Policies and Operations Division, and both International Strategic Initiatives deputy and Marine Corps Fellow to the Institute for National Strategic Studies. She graduated with honor from the US Marine Corps' Woman Officer Candidate Course in 1972 and from the Woman Officer Basic Course the following year. She is a graduate, with highest distinction, of the Naval War College non-resident program, and a graduate of the National War College.