USMC Names 1st Woman to Command a Recruit Depot

BrigGen Angela Salinas, USMC. USMC Photo. .

On Aug. 4, the Marine Corps welcomed a new commander of its Recruit Depot in San Diego–making BrigGen Angela Salinas the first woman in Marine Corps history to lead one of its two recruit training facilities. She will also serve as commander of the Marine’s Western Recruiting Region.

“I look forward to being at the helm of such an outstanding command,” said BrigGen Salinas during her remarks when she assumed command from MajGen John M. Paxton, Jr. “I am very honored and very humbled with this responsibility entrusted to me.”

In 1974, the Vallejo, CA, native had just finished her sophomore year at Dominican College in San Rafael, CA, when she met a Marine Corps recruiter. Three days later, she was at Parris Island, SC. According to BrigGen Salinas, it all happened so quickly that her family didn’t realize she had enlisted. “All along they thought I was in Paris!” she said. After spending three years in the enlisted ranks, she was selected for the Enlisted Commissioning Program and was commissioned as a 2nd Lt.

During her 32-year career, she has been no stranger to Marine Corps “firsts.” She was the first woman in the Marine Corps to command a recruiting station, the first woman ever to be assigned as a combat service support ground monitor and the first woman to serve as a recruiting district commanding officer. And most recently, according to Marine Corps Public Affairs, she became the first Hispanic woman to hold the rank of brigadier general when she was promoted to the rank on Aug. 2.

Brigadier General Angela Salinas restates her oath during her
promotion ceremony August 2, 2006 aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.
Major General Walter E. Gaskin, commanding general, 2nd Marine Division,
hosted the promotion ceremony.USMC photo.

Born the daughter of Mexican immigrants in Alice, TX, BrigGen Salinas holds a bachelor’s degree from Dominican College and a master’s degree from the Naval War College, Newport, RI. She is also a graduate of the Amphibious Warfare School, the Naval War College’s Command and Staff College and the Army War College. Her military decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit and the Meritorious Service Medal (three awards), among others. She is also a Charter Member of the Women’s Memorial.

San Diego Marine Corps Recruit Depot trains all male recruits west of the Mississippi River–approximately 20,000 per year. For more information about the Marine Corps, visit their Web site at

View the Feature Story Archive