CHARLOTTESVILLE, V.A. (WVIR) - One of the oldest U.S. Marine Corps officers received a special honor on Monday in Charlottesville. Ninety-two-year-old Marie Gilson was recognized for her service at the Hospice of the Piedmont with a pinning ceremony.
Gilson reached the rank of captain, only to resign when she married a career Marine, Col. Leslie A. Gilson. At that time, married women were not allowed to serve.
Many of her family members were on hand Monday, November 18, including her daughter, who says her mother paved the way for future female Marines.
"I used to brag to everybody my mother was a woman Marine and her posters were everywhere in the Marine Corps because she was the face of the Marine Corps. She would go on television shows and was on Coca-Cola posters and prided herself in being the face of the marines to try to recruit more women,” Meg Thompson, Gilson’s daughter, said.
Gilson received a pin, commemorative certificate, and a letter from Delegate Rob Bell.
Hospice of the Piedmont Press Release:
Charlottesville, VA – November 14, 2019 – On Monday, November 18, Hospice of the Piedmont will honor one of its patients and one of the oldest living female Marine Corps officers in the United States. Marie Gilson (née Marie Diamond), who currently resides at Rosewood Village Towncenter in Charlottesville, rose to the rank of Captain in the Marine Corps during her service in the 1950s. Mrs. Gilson resigned her Captain title upon marrying a career Marine, Col. Leslie A. Gilson. Mrs. Gilson is 92 years old.
During her several years of service prior to her marriage (married women were not allowed to serve in the Marine Corps during that time), Mrs. Gilson was the “face” of the Marines for recruitment. Her image was used in many photos, posters, and promotional materials.
The November 18 pinning ceremony, which will be attended by Mrs. Gilson’s family, residents of the Rosewood Village facility, and representatives from the Marine Corps Veterans Association, will take place at 4 p.m. in the library at Rosewood Village Town Center. Representatives from Hospice of the Piedmont and from Mrs. Gilson’s care team will also be in attendance. The pinning ceremony will be led by Hospice of the Piedmont veteran volunteer Chris Karls, who will present Mrs. Gilson with a pin and commemorative certificate after reflecting on her service and dedication to the Marine Corps.