Women Warriors

Megan McClung, Major, U.S. Marine Corps

Megan McClung (April 14, 1972–December 6, 2006) was the first female Marine Officer killed in combat during the war in Iraq. At the time, Major McClung was serving as a public affairs officer for 1st Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters. McClung’s work with military operational transparency impassioned her, and she was a firm advocate for media coverage of the war.

On December 6th, McClung spent the morning in Ramadi escorting Fox News’ camera crew and correspondent Oliver North, and then later returned to the area with Newsweek journalists. Her humvee hit an improvised explosive device and instantly killed all occupants. Even more tragic was the fact that she had almost completed a year-long deployment. The journalists, who were in another vehicle, were uninjured.

McClung was the first female Marine Officer to be killed in the Iraq war, and the first female US Naval Academy graduate to be killed in action in the school’s 172 year history. Her professionalism was recounted by former colleague Colonel Riccoh Player “Megan served with the mindset of running to the sound of battle, not away from it. She accepted every mission, every billet, every challenge with vigor, creative abandon and a find-a-way-to-make-a-way ethos.”

Megan McClung’s headstone at Arlington National Cemetery is engraved with her personal mantra that described both her attitude towards media interviews and life:

“Be Bold. Be Brief. Be Gone.”

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