Battle Rattle

Commandant wishes female Marine vet a happy 100th birthday

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Mary Cochrane enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1944 to “free a man to fight” in World War II by serving as a truck driver.

Mary Cochrane/U.S. Marines

On April 18 she celebrated her 100th birthday–made sweeter with a cake brought to her home by a detachment of reserve Marines, and a letter of congratulation from Marine commandant Gen. Jim Amos.

Mary Cochrane presented

1st Sgt. Gregory Zieba and Capt Timothy Chun examine Cochrane’s boot camp photograph /U.S. Marines


The Marines, an inspector-instructor detachment from Peru, Indiana, spent time discussing Marine Corps memories with Cochrane and reviewing photos from her time as a young Marine.

“I had never seen a Marine, by the way,” Cochrane said of arriving in San Diego for the first time after training. “But I read about them. I thought…that’s for me.”

Mary Cochrane cake

U.S. Marines


The Marines from Lima were not the only ones to celebrate Cochrane on her big birthday. An email exchange between Amos, Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Mike Barrett, and staff director for Headquarters Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Michael Regner reviewed by Marine Corps Times shows that the Corps’ senior leaders took time to honor Cochrane’s service.

“Amazing,” wrote Amos. “Thank you to all of your Marines who make this kind of thing happen across America.  This is our heritage.  Can you imagine what it must have been like for a woman to join the Corps in the ’40s? She was a true pioneer.  Thank you to you and the I&I out of Lima for being ‘always faithful.’”

Mary Cochrane Letter

U.S. Marines

Watch the video the Marines produced of Cochrane’s birthday presentation below.



  1. Richard W. Morrison Says:
    April 25th, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    Happy Birthday Mary. Semper Fi and may you have many more.
    Rich Morrison, GySgt USMC (Retd)

  2. Leon cox Says:
    April 25th, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Happy Birthday Mary. God Bless, Semper Fi Marine.

  3. Bobby Wilder Says:
    April 25th, 2014 at 2:52 pm


  4. Calvin Gilliam Says:
    April 25th, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    Happy Birthday Mary, and may you have a joyous and blessed birthday! Semper Fi Marine!!

    C.Gilliam SSgt (Retd)

  5. Tim Romero Says:
    April 25th, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    Happy Birthday, Marine. God bless and as always, Semper Fi

  6. Eric nance Says:
    April 25th, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    Happy birthday toung lady and i wish many more happy years to come

  7. Sonya C. Torres Says:
    April 25th, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    Happy Birthday Marine!!!! May God Bless you Always. Semper Fi :)

  8. Vincent Shannon Says:
    April 25th, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    Happy Birthday Marine. Fabulous to see you on your birthday video. You are an inspiration.
    Thank you for your service.
    God bless you and Semper Fi.
    Vince Shannon

  9. GySgt Robert E. Olivarez Retired Says:
    April 26th, 2014 at 7:35 am

    Happy Birthday Marine

  10. SSGT Eddie Leach Says:
    April 26th, 2014 at 8:49 am

    Happy Birthday Marine, great to see you and thanks for your service

  11. Reg Earley Says:
    April 26th, 2014 at 9:35 am

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARY, I am the Sr. Vice Commandant of Detachment 1151 marine corps league Bangor Maine and we also have a 90 years young LADY MARINE IN OUR DETACHMENT, SHE IS SO PROUD AS WE KNOW YOU ARE.SEMPER FIDELIS MARY!!!

  12. Michelle Pisciotta Says:
    April 26th, 2014 at 11:20 am

    Happy Birthday 100th Mary. Semper Fi

  13. Gary Cochrane Says:
    April 26th, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    Happy birthday Mary and Thank You, hugs!!

  14. John Voracek Says:
    April 26th, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    Way to go May, Looking Good + Semper Fi Marine…! No doubt ” Chesty ” is Proud of you….as we all are…!!!!

  15. SSGT Tom Stella Says:
    April 26th, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    Happy birthday MARINE! You rock. From another former marine

  16. Peter Devereau Says:
    April 26th, 2014 at 10:55 pm

    Happy Birthday Marine. You’re not getting older, just better and the best is yet to come. God bless. Semper Fi

  17. Audra smith Says:
    April 29th, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    A salute and a Happy belated birthday with the utmost respect, adoration and celebration of and for you!!!!

  18. Trudie Turner Says:
    May 2nd, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    Happy Birthday from one Woman Marine to Another! 1973-1977.