By Kim Glovas
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Pennsylvania’s oldest living Marine from World War II is celebrating a milestone today. She — yes, she — is marking her 97th birthday.READ MORE: First Responders, Family, Friends Attend Viewing For Fallen Firefighter Lt. Sean Williamson In South Philadelphia
Grace Ricci Bergman of Blue Bell served in the Marines at a time when women had limited options in the services. Bergman’s fiance and brother were serving in the military at the time, and she decided to join as well, unbeknown to her parents. When Bergman was accepted, she told her parents she had a new job. Bergman eventually told them what that job was, and off she went.
Bergman served in the records department during the war, and knew where all the troops were every day. “We kept records in the Navy Annex Building in Washington DC, of all the Marines and we had to report every morning from every company.”
“We weren’t sworn to secrecy but in our training we learned that we did not talk about anything that was going on. I mean it just was not done, that’s all.”READ MORE: 21-Year-Old Woman Dies During Crash In Philadelphia's Mayfair Section
She says being a Marine is, and was, a rewarding experience.
“Whenever I hear that there’s a Marine in the area wherever we are, I’d like to meet them and speak with them and feel as though I know them.”
She served from August of 1943 through December 1945.MORE NEWS: GUIDE: Where To Watch Fourth Of July Fireworks In Philadelphia Region