Her enlistment came half a century after Susan B. Anthony championed women's rights, and about twenty years after Alice Paul fought for the same cause. Johnson began to be seen as another example of early women rights movement fighters.
She was enlisted as a reservist, and she got the category of "F" (for female). She obtained those categories because, even as women were being allowed into the Marines, they were still not allowed to go to war. Opha Mae Johnson may have worked as a secretary, cook, military nurse or other jobs that the first Marine women were allowed to do. Meanwhile, her male colleagues were being sent to fight in France.
It would not be until the 1940s that female Marines were actually allowed to serve in a war zone.