IDAHO FALLS — Wednesday is a special day for one of the few female World War II veterans still living.
Sgt. Marge Hoffman is spending Veterans Day in her quiet Idaho Falls home – remembering the years she sacrificed for the country she loves.
“I joined the U.S. Marines when I was 20 living in Allentown, Pennsylvania,” the now 90-year-old Hoffman tells EastIdahoNews.com. “None of my girlfriends joined but I guess I wanted to see the world.”
Hoffman was stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina for a year and a half. She worked as a paymaster and did office duties with other female soldiers.
Over 16 million Americans served in World War II, but only 350,000 of them were women. As the minority, Hoffman said women in the military were often discriminated against and treated poorly.
But Hoffman says the harassment didn’t bother her and she developed a feisty attitude that quickly earned her the nickname, “Sergeant Marge is in Charge.”
After the war, the military sent Hoffman to Virginia for about a year.
When she was discharged, Marge married Allen Hoffman, a U.S. Air Force veteran. The couple moved to Idaho Falls and Marge became actively involved in the community.
She volunteered at schools and held prominent positions on several civil boards.
“Marge was one of those pioneer ladies who went into the Marines when it wasn’t fashionable for women to be in uniform,” says Robert Skinner, Commander of the Idaho Falls American Legion. “She’s probably the oldest woman veteran in Idaho.”
Allen Hoffman died 20 years ago but Marge, who turns 91 in December and lives alone in the couple’s home, is still holding strong.
“I do everything myself, but I hate being old,” Hoffman says. “Last month they took away my drivers license, because they thought I was too old to drive. I hate it!”
Hoffman knows her decision to serve in the military was unusual at the time but she’s thankful she could be example. Her goal is to inspire other women to make a difference.
“I was proud of being a Marine,” Hoffman says. “I wouldn’t change it for anything.”