Sgt. Dot Cole, the oldest living U.S. Marine, recently celebrated her 107th birthday in Kannapolis, N.C.
She is confirmed to be the oldest living female U.S. Marine, and currently, she is the oldest living person to have served in the Corps. According to Independent Tribune, “her service in the corps began in a time when few women had served as Marines.”
Born on September 19, 1913, in Warren, Penn., Dorothy Schmidt Cole joined the Marines in 1943 and trained at Camp Lejeune. She then went to Quantico for an administrative role.
“Originally I had chosen the Navy, but they said I was too short,” Cole said. “So I decided to go with the Marines. I even took flying lessons of about 200 hours, thinking it would impress the Marines. But it didn’t. They put me behind a typewriter instead of an airplane.”
The Military Career of Cole
— Coy Holcombe (@CoyHolcombe) September 23, 2020
Fox News reported that she enlisted following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
“Everyone was out doing something,” she said in a video posted on the Marine Corps’s official Facebook page. “The women helping the Red Cross – or even in churches, they were knitting things. So I decided that I wanted to do something, and I would go into the Marine Corps.”
Cole was one of the 350,000 American women who served in the armed forces during the war. The National World War II Museum explained that women only served in the Army or Navy Nurse Corps at the beginning of the war, but the branches of the military eventually opened to females.
Her daughter, Beth Kluttz, said the military impacted her mother’s life “by making her dedicated to whatever she was doing. When she was younger and more able, she would do anything for other people.”
“She loves God and country and feels it is our duty to stand up and protect our country. We are so very fortunate to be in a country where we all have our freedom,” Kluttz added.