Madison World War II veteran celebrates 100th birthday

MADISON, Wis. — Marjorie Marshman couldn’t quite tell you why she joined the Marine Corps, but looking back she says she’s happy that she did.

Marshman was born in Bayard, Iowa, one of nine children. Five of her brothers joined the military when the Second World War broke out, and she followed suit.

“I was so eternally grateful for my parents for what I was taught,” she said. “It really was very simple for me.”

Marshman turned 100 years old Wednesday, and the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs took the time to celebrate her and her service. She was a member of the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve from December 1943 to January 1946.

“She’s just an incredible woman,” Veterans Affairs Secretary Mary Kolar said. “When our world was in a crisis, there was Marge, ready to dedicate her life, risk her life to serve her country.”

She completed basic training at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and was stationed at Cherry Point.

“What you would call a secretary, but they would call it something else,” Marshman said when asked about her role. “But we did boot camp like the men!”

She ended her service as a Marine having earned the rank of corporal. After her service, she moved to Madison and worked as a chaplain for American Legion Post 501. She also worked at the VA Hospital and was the first woman to join the Madison Veterans Firing Squad.

In 2009 she was presented with the WDVA Women Veteran of the Year award in recognition of her service and work in the community.