Ruth Cheney, Lieutenant colonel, was born 2 October 1895 in Brookline, Massachusetts, United States to Charles Paine Cheney (1869-1897) and Mary Ward Lyon (1868) and died 30 September 1990 Morristown, New Jersey, United States of congestive heart failure. She married Thomas Winthrop Streeter (1883-1965) 23 June 1917 .

Ruth Cheney Streeter
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1943-1945
Rank Colonel
Commands held United States Marine Corps Women's Reserve
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Legion of Merit

Ruth Cheney Streeter (October 2, 1895 – September 30, 1990) was the first director of the United States Marine Corps Women's Reserve (USMCWR). In 1943, she became the first woman to attain the rank of major in the United States Marine Corps when she was commissioned as a major on January 29, 1943.[1] She retired in 1945 as a colonel.


Born Ruth Cheney on October 2, 1895 in Brookline, Massachusetts. she graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 1918.[2]

On June 23, 1917, she married Thomas W. Streeter; they went on to have four children.[3][4] They lived in Morristown, New Jersey, where she was involved in civic affairs, and served as the first woman president of the Morris County, New Jersey Welfare Board.

On January 29, 1943, she was commissioned as a major and appointed director of the United States Marine Corps Women's Reserve. She was promoted to lieutenant colonel later that year, and to full colonel in 1944.[1] She resigned her commission on December 6, 1945.[5] During Streeter's tenure, the Women's Reserve grew to a size of 831 officers and 17,714 enlisted.[6]

In 1946, she was awarded the Legion of Merit. The accompanying citation states in part:

"Exercising judgment, initiative and ability, Colonel Streeter rendered distinctive service in directing the planning and organization of the Women's Reserve of the Marine Corps and skillfully integrating women into the basic structure of the Corps, carefully selected, trained and properly assigned them as replacements for men in shore establishments."[2]

In addition to the Legion of Merit, Streeter was also awarded the American Campaign Medal and the World War II Victory Medal.[6]

In 1947, she was appointed as a member of the New Jersey Constitutional Convention.[7]

Streeter died of congestive heart failure on September 30, 1990 in Morristown, New Jersey. 1990.[8][9] She is buried in Peterborough, New Hampshire.[10]


Offspring of Thomas Winthrop Streeter (1883-1965) and Ruth Cheney
Name Birth Death Joined with
Lillian Streeter (-)
Frank S Streeter (1918-2006)
Henry Streeter (-)
Thomas Winthrop Streeter (-)

See also

World War II
United States Marine Corps
  • Katherine Amelia Towle, 1st Director of the Women Marines
  • Margaret A. Brewer, first female to reach the rank of general in the Marine Corps


  1. ^ a b Fisher, SSgt Cindy (February 12, 2003). "USC Marine History - 60th Birthday of Women in the Corps". Marine Corps News'. Retrieved 2007-07-18. 
  2. ^ a b "Colonel Ruth Cheney Streeter, USMCWR". Who's Who in Marine Corps History. History Division, United States Marine Corps. Retrieved November 18, 2007.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "USMCbio" defined multiple times with different content
  3. ^ Streeter, Ruth Cheney. "Streeter, Thomas Winthrop". Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved December 21, 2008. 
  4. ^ (1943) "Texas Collection" 46 (1). Retrieved on December 21, 2008. 
  5. ^ "Biographical Sketch — Ruth Streeter". Historic Speedwell. Retrieved December 21, 2008. 
  6. ^ a b "Colonel Ruth Cheney Streeter USMCWR". Marine Corps Legacy Museum. Retrieved December 21, 2008. 
  7. ^ Ruth Cheney Streeter. Women's Project of New Jersey, Rutgers University. 2006. Retrieved December 21, 2008. 
  8. ^ "Ruth Cheney Streeter Weds". New York Times. January 19, 1986. Retrieved 2007-05-23. 
  9. ^ "Ruth C. Streeter, 94, Ex-Leader Of Women Reserves in Marines". New York Times. October 2, 1990. Retrieved 2008-03-29. 
  10. ^ Ware, Susan and Stacy Lorraine Braukman (2004). Notable American Women. Harvard University Press. p. 662. ISBN 978-0-674-01488-6. Retrieved December 20, 2008. 

Further reading

Preceded by
Director of United States Marine Corps Women's Reserve
Succeeded by
Katherine Amelia Towle
NAME Streeter, Ruth Cheney
SHORT DESCRIPTION United States Marine Corps officer
DATE OF BIRTH October 2, 1895
PLACE OF BIRTH Brookline, Massachusetts
DATE OF DEATH September 30, 1990
PLACE OF DEATH Morristown, New Jersey

Footnotes (including sources)

Ω Birth
₪ Wedding

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