Dorothy Schmidt Cole, oldest living Marine, dies at 107

A North Carolina girl acknowledged because the oldest dwelling U.S. Marine has died at age 107

KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — Dorothy Schmidt Cole, acknowledged final yr because the oldest dwelling U.S. Marine, has died at age 107.

Beth Kluttz, Cole’s solely baby, confirmed Friday that her mom died of a coronary heart assault at Kluttz’s dwelling in Kannapolis, North Carolina, on Jan. 7.

The Charlotte Observer reviews Cole enlisted as one of many earliest feminine Marine reservists following the bombing of Pearl Harbor. She had left her Ohio dwelling to move to Pittsburgh, the place she hoped to volunteer for the Navy, however as a result of she was solely four ft, 11 inches tall, she was deemed too quick to fulfill Navy requirements.

Undaunted by her rejection, Cole determined to learn to fly an airplane and persuade the Marine Corps to let her be a pilot.

In July 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Marine Corps Girls’s Reserve into regulation, giving ladies the prospect to fill positions left open by males headed to fight. The Corps delayed formation of the department till February 1943, and Cole enlisted 5 months later at age 29, changing into one of many earliest volunteers for the department.

Regardless of placing in 200 hours within the cockpit of a Piper Cub, Cole accomplished six weeks of boot camp at Camp Lejeune with the Girls’s Reserve’s First Battalion and wound up “behind a typewriter as a substitute of an airplane.”

Cole’s husband, Wiley, was within the Navy and served on the plane service USS Hornet, which sailed in each the Pacific Theater and the Solomon Islands marketing campaign throughout World Warfare II earlier than it was torpedoed and sunk in October 1942.

Cole moved to San Francisco after the battle to be with Wiley. They married and had their solely baby in 1953. The couple had been each employed by the Ames Analysis Middle in Silicon Valley in California earlier than Wiley Cole died of a coronary heart assault in 1955.

Kluttz moved from California to North Carolina in 1976 and Cole adopted her to the realm round 1979.

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