Tully, New York – On Saturday, March 27, Honor Flight Syracuse threw a party for Margaret “Peg” Bandy, one of the first women to join the US Marine Corps after the US entered WWII. She was the very first woman in Syracuse to join the Marine reserves. And a party it was – with 77 units in a parade, fire trucks and flashing lights, and plenty of spectators to wave and holler “Hey Peg!” (Though she had to watch the fun from her son’s car). She was also a journalist and writer, which is likely how she stayed sharp to the age of 100.
“What a party! It was a wonderful day.”Peg Bandy
She received a flag from Congressman John Katko’s office, presented by a female Marine. The Birthday party highlighted a woman who was a “trailblazer” for her time in the Marine Corps. She was deployed stateside, but worked in logistics supporting military operations overseas.
When the United States entered World War II, though, her attention turned to the Marines.
An uncle in the Marine Corps not so gently dissuaded her.
“‘Margaret,’” she remembered him telling her, “there will never be women in the military.”
Undeterred, Bandy went to New York City to enlist immediately after women were allowed to to do so…
…Bandy was sent to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina to train and was the only woman attached to the 10th Tank Battalion.
She recalls once being on a plane with a group of male soldiers. “Are you the nurse?” she was asked.
“No, I’m up here on the plane just like you boys,” she replied.Stripes
She visited that Uncle again after she was in uniform and he was so proud of her that anyone who said something about her being in the Army was met with “No! She’s a Marine!”
Her awards included: Good Conduct, National Defense, World War II Victory, and American Defense medals.
She worked her way up to become a Sergeant. Eventually she married a fellow Marine, and they had two children together. Her brother was killed in WWII.
She worked as a journalist for a veterans section in the Chicago Herald-American. Later she joined the Syracuse Herald-Journal Women’s Department. She even once wrote about a baseball player even though she was unfamiliar with the game. She said she liked to “float around” and writing was something she loved to do.
Stripes noted that she is still sharp and remained active in veterans’ groups.
“If I don’t jump in at my age. I’ll lose what I’m thinking…I have had the privilege of doing everything I have wanted to do since I was eight years old. I don’t need a bucket list.”Margaret Bandy
Semper Fi, Peg Bandy, and Congratulations on making it to 100!
Featured photo: Margaret “Peg” Bandy. Screenshot via her Family
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