Home News Marine celebrates 100th birthday who did this critical job in WWII

Marine celebrates 100th birthday who did this critical job in WWII

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Women Marine testing parachutes
Women Marines are learning how to rig parachutes at the training school at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. U.S. Marine Corps Marine Corps Archives/flickr.com

A California city recently celebrated the 100th birthday of a Parris Island Marine who performed a critical job during World War II and went on to serve her West Coast community.

Palmdale, Calif., honored Sgt. Patricia “Pat” Murray’s centennial with a birthday bash at the city’s American Legion Post 348 on Saturday, according to a news release from the city.

Murray, who, according to the Antelope Valley Times, is believed to be the oldest Marine in the valley — where Palmdale is located, about 60 miles north of Los Angeles — trained at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

“When she was just 24 years old … she hung up her competition roller skates and left Toledo, Ohio, for boot camp at Parris Island,” Palmdale’s news release said.

She was a parachute rigger during World War II and was promoted to sergeant for her work.

“Murray is credited with getting a flagpole and flag erected at the Antelope Valley Mall, and with launching the drive to spruce up Palmdale’s historic cemetery with its interments of dozens of servicemen from conflicts back to World War I,” the release said.

In 2014 she was named both Woman of the Year and Veteran of the Year for the 36th Assembly District, according to the release.

Her birthday comes just months before the 100th anniversary of Opha Mae Johnson’s — the first female Marine — enlistment.

Johnson enlisted in August 1918, according to a Marine Corps history of servicewomen in World War I.

She was the first of some 300 women who joined the Corps that year to assume clerical duties so other Marines could be sent overseas to fight in World War I, according to the Women Marines Association.

By war’s end, Johnson was the senior enlisted woman, having been promoted to sergeant.

Wade Livingston: 843-706-8153, @WadeGLivingston
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