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Former Marine speaks to women’s group

Marge Alexander, member of the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve during World War II, left, talks with Christina Stump, 460th Space Wing community support coordinator, center, and Senior Airman Reagan Dowell, 460th Comptroller Squadron, June 26, 2013, at the Panther Den on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Alexander joined the Women’s Reserve in 1943, the same year women were finally allowed in the Marine Corps. She shared her life story with approximately 30 participants in the Women’s Empowerment Group on base formed to empower women and provide professional networking and camaraderie. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kali L. Gradishar/Released)

Marge Alexander, member of the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve during World War II, left, talks with Christina Stump, 460th Space Wing community support coordinator, center, and Senior Airman Reagan Dowell, 460th Comptroller Squadron, June 26, 2013, at the Panther Den on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Alexander joined the Women’s Reserve in 1943, the same year women were finally allowed in the Marine Corps. She shared her life story with approximately 30 participants in the Women’s Empowerment Group on base formed to empower women and provide professional networking and camaraderie. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kali L. Gradishar/Released)

Women attending the Women’s Empowerment Group gathering listen as Col. DeAnna Burt, 460th Operations Group commander, back left, asks questions provided by the audience to Marge Alexander, member of the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve during World War II, back right, June 26, 2013, at the Panther Den on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Alexander joined the Marine Corps the first year women were allowed in the branch of service to support the war effort. Women provided needed support at home stations to free up men to fight overseas. Alexander answered questions about her military service and her life following her time in the Marine Corps. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kali L. Gradishar/Released)

Women attending the Women’s Empowerment Group gathering listen as Col. DeAnna Burt, 460th Operations Group commander, back left, asks questions provided by the audience to Marge Alexander, member of the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve during World War II, back right, June 26, 2013, at the Panther Den on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Alexander joined the Marine Corps the first year women were allowed in the branch of service to support the war effort. Women provided needed support at home stations to free up men to fight overseas. Alexander answered questions about her military service and her life following her time in the Marine Corps. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kali L. Gradishar/Released)

Marge Alexander, member of the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve during World War II, left, talks to a crowd of approximately 30 women during a Women’s Empowerment Group gathering June 26, 2013, at the Panther Den on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Alexander joined the Women’s Reserve in 1943, the same year women were finally allowed in the Marine Corps. She joined the Marine Corps to support that war effort because more men were needed to fight overseas. Alexander answered questions about her military service and her life following her time in the Marine Corps. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kali L. Gradishar/Released)

Marge Alexander, member of the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve during World War II, left, talks to a crowd of approximately 30 women during a Women’s Empowerment Group gathering June 26, 2013, at the Panther Den on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Alexander joined the Women’s Reserve in 1943, the same year women were finally allowed in the Marine Corps. She joined the Marine Corps to support that war effort because more men were needed to fight overseas. Alexander answered questions about her military service and her life following her time in the Marine Corps. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kali L. Gradishar/Released)

Women who attended the Women’s Empowerment Group gathering view the painting of Marge Alexander, member of the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve during World War II, June 26, 2013, at the Panther Den on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. At the event, Alexander unveiled the painting, which depicts various battles of World War II as well as the roles of women in the Women’s Reserve. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kali L. Gradishar/Released)

Women who attended the Women’s Empowerment Group gathering view the painting of Marge Alexander, member of the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve during World War II, June 26, 2013, at the Panther Den on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. At the event, Alexander unveiled the painting, which depicts various battles of World War II as well as the roles of women in the Women’s Reserve. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kali L. Gradishar/Released)

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."
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