FREEPORT, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — In the dining room of the Broken Arrow Tavern, Alice Fellows drew a crowd. She joined two of her daughters on Tuesday, along with grandchildren and great-grandchildren to mark her 100th birthday.
Other diners in the room may have heard about the birthday, but likely did not know they were also sitting next to a U.S. Marine.
Fellows served in the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve in World War II, stationed at Henderson Hall and the Navy Annex in Arlington, Virginia. There she was responsible for handling payment of final pay and benefits for families of thousands of Marines killed in the war.
“Another girl had to write the letters to the family telling about it,” she said. “What I did was determine the amount of pay and allowances due to the families.”
Fellows grew up in South Dakota and was 25 when she signed up for the Marine Corps.
“Why not?” she laughed, when asked about choosing the Marines. “They’re the best.”
She met her husband in the Marines, and they married after the war and settled in New York. Two of her daughters ended up in Maine, and Alice eventually moved here to join them. He husband passed away a number of years ago.
Fellows told NEWS CENTER she visited the National World War II Memorial in Washington last year with Honor Flight Maine, the first time she had seen the monument to her service and that of millions of others.
And while she is quick to dismiss the importance of her own role in the service — “Just doing what had to be done” — the war years are clearly still a big part of Fellow’s long life.
On Tuesday, she wore the bright red scarf that was part of her Marine uniform 74 years ago. She has the uniform packed away and has never put it back on, but still wears the scarf.
“I wouldn’t give it up,” Alice said. “I was a Marine.”