• 50°

Kannapolis resident Dorothy Schmidt Cole was oldest Marine when she died at 107

KANNAPOLIS (AP) — Dorothy Schmidt Cole, recognized last year as the oldest living U.S. Marine, has died at age 107.

Beth Kluttz, Cole’s only child, confirmed Friday that her mother died of a heart attack at Kluttz’s home in Kannapolis on Jan. 7.

The Charlotte Observer reports Cole enlisted as one of the earliest female Marine reservists following the bombing of Pearl Harbor. She had left her Ohio home to head to Pittsburgh, where she hoped to volunteer for the Navy, but because she was only 4 feet, 11 inches tall, she was deemed too short to meet Navy standards.

Undaunted by her rejection, Cole decided to learn how to fly an airplane and persuade the Marine Corps to let her be a pilot.

In July 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve into law, giving women the chance to fill positions left open by men headed to combat. The Corps delayed formation of the branch until February 1943, and Cole enlisted five months later at age 29, becoming one of the earliest volunteers for the branch.

Despite putting in 200 hours in the cockpit of a Piper Cub, Cole completed six weeks of boot camp at Camp Lejeune with the Women’s Reserve’s First Battalion and wound up “behind a typewriter instead of an airplane.”

Cole’s husband, Wiley, was in the Navy and served on the aircraft carrier USS Hornet, which sailed in both the Pacific Theater and the Solomon Islands campaign during World War II before it was torpedoed and sunk in October 1942.

Cole moved to San Francisco after the war to be with Wiley. They married and had their only child in 1953. The couple were both hired by the Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley in California before Wiley Cole died of a heart attack in 1955.

Kluttz moved from California to North Carolina in 1976 and Cole followed her to the area around 1979.

Comments

Crime

In letter, PETA criticizes Salisbury Police for K-9 video

Coronavirus

Three deaths, 29 new COVID-19 positives reported

Crime

Blotter: Bullet holes found in woman’s Park Avenue apartment

Crime

Man faces assault charges for domestic incident

High School

Photo gallery: Carson girls win West Regional, headed to state championship

High School

High school basketball: Carson girls headed to state championship game

Local

Commissioners set date for public hearing on potential solar energy system rule changes

Health

Two of Rep. Sasser’s bills successfully pass through Health Committee

Local

Rep. Warren’s measure to allow removal of public notices from newspapers put on back burner

China Grove

China Grove Town Council weighs future of previously rejected housing development

Local

Salisbury City Council hears public comments, receives presentation on Main Street reconfiguration

Crime

Blotter: Man charged with felony drug offenses

Nation/World

California crash kills 13 of 25 people crammed into SUV

Nation/World

Biden vows enough vaccines by end of May

Coronavirus

State to vaccinate medically vulnerable starting March 24

Coronavirus

One new death, 20 new COVID-19 positives reported in Rowan

Kannapolis

Kannapolis man dies in moped crash

Crime

Salisbury Police chief addresses K-9 video, says officer separated from animal

Local

Rowan Rescue Squad sets record straight on fundraising typo

Local

City approves DOT agreement, Salisbury Station project could begin next year

Local

County plans to use vulture effigy, enforce violations to remedy animal carcass feeding problem

Education

Two weeks after ending enhanced protocols, Catawba has no COVID-19 cases

News

Council to hear revised version of Downtown Main Street Plan

Local

Veto override of NC school reopening bill fails in Senate