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Groundbreaking female World War II Marine celebrates a milestone Screenshot/KNSD

Gladys Ruth Gallivan was one of the first women to serve as a Marine in World War II. She left a manufacturing job in 1943 to join the force and do her part to contribute to the country.

Saturday, Gallivan celebrated a milestone: she turned 100. Family, friends and Gallivan’s fellow Marines joined her for a tea party to celebrate in San Diego.

“I cannot believe it,” she told KNSD. “It’s amazing to think someone would do this just for me.”

Gallivan said she decided to enlist because there wasn’t much hope for moving up the ranks in manufacturing back then.

“I was just tired of my job,” she said.

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At 26 years old, Gallivan joined during the “Free a Man to Fight” campaign, serving in North Carolina before being transferred to Miramar, Calif., She never got to travel overseas with the Marines.

“We couldn’t go overseas,” Gallivan explained. “Wherever they could put us, they put us. Going into the Marine Corps today is entirely different.”
Gallivan’s Marine career ended in 1946, and she went on to marry and have two sons.

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Gallivan said the big secret to longevity is to “forget about getting older.”

Yolanda R. Arrington is a content editor for Rare. Tweet her @iamyolanda and like her on Facebook.
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