By Ross Guidotti

GREENSBURG, Pa. (KDKA) – Wednesday is the United States Marine Corps’ birthday. The Marines were formed 246 years ago in a bar in Philadelphia.

Marines old and young across the U.S. are celebrating their special day, including a 103-year-old Marine from Greensburg. KDKA’s resident Marine Ross Guidotti spent some time with Madeline Buchek, whose service in World War II helped pave the way for future female Marines.

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Although it’s been 78 years, Buchek says her memories of her time as a Marine are as vivid as ever.

It doesn’t matter how old they are, every Marine remembers the moment they decided to enlist, including Cpl. Madeline Buchek.

(Photo: KDKA)

She joined in 1943. And why the Marines? Well, the Navy was out of the question.

“My friends were going and they were going into the waves. I didn’t know how to swim,” she said.

With male Marines being shipped out to the Pacific to fight, female Marines were tasked with stateside duties. Just like their male counterparts, female Marines went to boot camp and were trained on weapons systems. While she was a crack shot, Buchek ended up running a switchboard where Marines were training pilots.

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“There were 10,000 men and 40 women,” she said.

Buchek says her days as a Marine were fun and at times humorous, but the accommodations were typically Marine Corps in nature: bare minimum.

“We relieved the men there, it was sort of like an old stable,” she said.

Buchek takes great pride in her service. Trailblazers like her would eventually open doors to opportunities for today’s female Marines.

“I think it’s wonderful,” she said. “I think it’s remarkable they permit that now.”

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Marines have a tradition where on the Marine Corp’s birthday, the oldest and youngest Marines present get the first pieces of cake. Buchek and Ross Guidotti didn’t have any cake nor a big party, but in the tradition of their beloved corps, they made due with cupcakes.