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Marine Corp veteran celebrates her 100th birthday

Service members salute the American flag during a retreat ceremony Oct. 2, 2014, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Harry Brexel)
July 25, 2018

Florence Bieber, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps, celebrated her 100th birthday on Thursday.

Bieber, from Berks County, Pennsylvania, was honored with cake and flowers at the Amity Place Senior Home in Amity Township.

Sen. Judy Schwank and Rep. Mark Gillen dropped in to congratulate her.

In 1943, Bieber, who was a store clerk at Reading Hardware, enlisted to help the war effort at 25 years old, the Reading Eagle reported.

Bieber’s duty was to correct the spelling errors of high-ranking officers, but she said they cussed a lot and she wouldn’t type any curse words, ABC 27 News reported.

She rose from Private to Master Gunnery Sergeant, which is the highest non-commissioned officer’s rank in the U.S. Marine Corps.

She has worked in Washington, D.C., and Hawaii, and many other places during her career.

When asked why she chose to join the Marines, Bieber said: “There was something about being a Marine that I liked.”

One thing she really liked was the hat issued to female Marines. It has a red ribbon draped across the peak beneath the Marine Corps emblem, and an eagle atop a globe entwined with an anchor.

“That hat can’t be beat. That’s one of the reasons I went into the service,” Bieber said.

On Jan. 4, 1946, Bieber was honorably discharged from her service.

She then joined a Marine Reserve unit in Texas, where she served from 1947 to 1958.

She attended Texas Christian University and graduated with a degree in physical education.

During the party, Bieber shared her secret for a long, happy life.

“Keep active, keep involved. And do what you can do,” Bieber said.

In honor of her birthday, the Women Veterans of Berks County group declared Thursday “Florence Day.”