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NEWS | March 31, 2021

Women’s History Month: Fredericksburg native exemplifies Equal Rights as a woman in the workplace

By Sgt. Kristiana Montanez Marine Corps Base Quantico

Fifty years ago, Jean Stanfield, a 77 year-old, retired administrative supervisor and native of Fredericksburg, Virginia, and her husband, Allen Stanfield, purchased a quaint home nestled in a quiet cul-de-sac in the Fredericksburg suburbs. Stanfield said it was a safe and friendly neighborhood, one where they would raise all of their children, send them to school, and create numerous memories that would last a lifetime.

Stanfield worked for the Virginia Department of Highways after graduating high school, but desired a different job after she was married. She needed employment to help care for her first born daughter in the midst of the Vietnam War. Stanfield sought out a job which would support her family financially and one she could be proud of.

“When I was growing up, I always told my dad I wanted to join the military,” explained Stanfield. “He said, ‘No, I don’t want you to do that.

“So I said, ‘If I can’t join, I’m going to work for them.’”

Stanfield said she has always had respect for the United States military and what it stands for. Her mother worked for Marine Helicopter Squadron One during World War II as a helicopter mechanic. The squadron, established in 1947, was responsible for testing and evaluating military helicopters when rotary wing flight was still a new concept in technology. Her husband served honorably in the Air Force for four years before they were married. Both of whom, according to Stanfield, inspired her love for the military.

Stanfield applied for a job to work as a civilian in the Operating Management Services Division of Naval Hospital Quantico in 1969. She was hired and started working not long after.

Naval Hospital Quantico served as the primary medical facility on Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, for 62 years, 1917-1979. Many doctors and nurses cared for thousands of military members and their families.

“After approximately two years, they upgraded the position from GS-4 to GS-5 with supervisor duties,” Stanfield said. “This was basically done because the division I was in was led by military officers, and as you may know they change stations quite often.

“So to develop more continuity within the civilian workforce, it was decided that a civilian would be good for the position and be a good asset for the incoming medical service corps officers.”

Stanfield worked alongside the commander of the hospital, making a majority of the administrative decisions. However, Stanfield never saw herself as different from any of her employees or male counterparts.

“When we’re all working together trying to get one job done, it doesn’t matter who you are,” she said. “We have to get it done, and that’s what I did.”

Stanfield was one of very few women who worked in a supervisor’s position at the hospital.

“I never really thought about [what it meant to be a woman in my position],” Stanfield said. “I just thought it was a job to get done and do it well.

“If I could do anything to help the guys in any way, make them more comfortable, that’s what I was there to do and that’s what I did. I felt like I was just a part of the team.” Said Jean Stanfield, a retired administrative supervisor

Stanfield, a woman in charge of a division of men, would often lead several administrative meetings weekly. Before any conversation, she would always do her research, so she knew what she was talking about.

“As a female in a man’s world you had to be a little bit forceful,” Stanfield said. “I had to be assertive. I had to earn my respect. I was never trying to be bossy either.

“I just wanted to be a team player. I think as a female trying to work if they have the qualifications, why not let them do it?

“I’ve always believed in equal job, equal pay.”

Stanfield contributed to several accomplishments of the hospital including impacting the administrative approval for the cardiac ward. Stanfield said the ward began operations due to her effort.

“I had to keep following through with paperwork. It was challenging because I had to go through the Department of Defense to get it approved so that we could get the funding.

“It took us two years to get it done, but we got it done,” explained Stanfield.

Stanfield also received several awards from the hospital’s commander for her hard work.

In 1979, after 10 years on the job, the hospital was redesignated as a regional medical clinic. Emergency services were no longer available and many of the original departments were closed due to budgeting.

“It was a full run hospital—it had everything in it. [When they decided to close down] I was very disappointed and sad,” said Stanfield. “I thought, these military [members] need a place like this.

“There’s nowhere else local. I really felt bad.”

Stanfield said she would have stayed at the hospital until her retirement, if not for it closing. At the time, the next closest military hospital was located in Bethesda, Maryland. Military members were not authorized to use civilian hospitals for primary care.

The primary care clinic was replaced in 2000, when Naval Medical Clinic Quantico was constructed. In April 2005, the medical and dental treatment facilities were integrated and renamed Naval Health Clinic Quantico.

The hospital original facilities, comprising the historic Hospital Point, were remodeled to become the headquarters of Marine Corps Systems Command. MCSC serves as the ground weapon and information technology system program, equipping and sustaining Marine forces with expeditionary and crisis-response capabilities.

Wishing to continue her work in administration, Stanfield sought out work at Naval Support Facility Dahlgren. She applied for a secretary position, but was immediately given a higher paying supervisory job because of her prior work and experience.

Stanfield retired from Naval Support Facility Dahlgren, Virginia, where she worked for 19 years. She continued her dedication to the job as she eventually became the highest paid female secretary at the facility.

Since her retirement, Stanfield’s husband has passed away and she still resides in Fredericksburg with her dog Molly. She enjoys time with her church groups and playing mahjong with her friends on the weekends.

She will always remember her time at Naval Hospital Quantico as some of her most successful years.

Stanfield left her mark on the history of MCB Quantico. Her fortitude and determination to always get the job done reflects the same ethos as the Marines she helped serve.

“I see people today that I worked with at Quantico, and they still remember me,” said Stanfield.

“I feel like I really left an impact."