(1922 - )
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
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
Sources: Courtesy of the Jewish
Women's Archives and Jewish