Former Marine speaks to women’s group
By Staff Sgt. Kali L. Gradishar, 460th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 28, 2013
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Approximately 30 women gathered for the Women's Empowerment Group to hear life stories from a former member of the Marine Corps Women's Reserve June 26 in the Panther Den.
Marge Alexander, who served during World War II, shared accounts of her time in the reserves and answered questions asked by attendees of the event.
Raised on a farm in Iowa, Alexander always wanted to be a cowboy's wife, she said. However, when the creation of the Marine Corps Women's Reserve coincided with her 20th birthday, the age at which women were allowed to join the service, she signed up.
Alexander set out to discover they ways of a Marine and learn her trade in motor transportation.
From February 1943 to October 1945, Alexander and other women Marines supported the war efforts at home to allow more men to fight overseas. Then, when the war ended, the women's units were disbanded, and the women returned to their lives outside the Marine Corps.
"I was like a fish out of water then," Alexander recalled. "I didn't know what I wanted to do."
She held undesirable jobs before she found her niche as a teacher. Teaching physical education at a newly built school, she applied some of her Marine Corps knowledge to the job.
"We had nothing. We didn't even have jump ropes," she said with a laugh. "Guess what we did... I put them on a drill team and I marched them on the sidewalk."
Besides teaching, Alexander danced, traveled and painted. During the Women's Empowerment Group she revealed her latest painting, which depicts a series of infamous World War II battles and the roles women played at home stations.
Alexander explained her painting and responded to questions from the audience, inciting reactions from awe to laughter.
"Looking at where our military has come from when you served, what advice do you have for our military women now?" Col. DeAnna Burt, 460th Operations Group commander, asked as she read questions requested by the audience.
"Keep your camaraderie," Alexander replied. "Keep your friends, and keep in touch."