WASHINGTON D.C. -- Army World War II veteran 106-year-old Alyce
Dixon was among the extraordinary women honored at the Pentagon for
their exceptional contributions to the Army and the nation.
World War II Army veteran 106-year-old
Alyce Dixon is seen at the Pentagon, after she was honored at a
women's history month event with a Department of the Army lifetime
achievement award and a certificate of appreciation, March 31, 2014.
Dixon, who was a member of the Women's Army Corps, served in Europe
during World War II as a member of the 6888th Central Postal
Directory Battalion. The 6888th was the only unit of
African-American women in the WAC to serve overseas in England and
France during World War II. (Army News Service photo by Lisa
The Department of Defense honored Dixon and two others --
Sexual Assault Prevention advocate Spc. Natasha Schuette,
and Tracey Pinson, director of the Army's Small Business
Program -- March 31, for their exceptional character,
courage, and commitment to Army values.
received a Lifetime Achievement "Women of Character, Courage
and Commitment" award, and a Women's History Month
certificate of appreciation.
At 106-years old, Dixon
has seen the nation and the world go through monumental
She said she was proud to be at the Pentagon
receiving the award and is thrilled at the great things that
women have achieved in her lifetime.
Dixon was born
when Theodore Roosevelt was president, lived through the
Great Depression, witnessed six major American wars, and saw
18 presidents elected, including the first African-American
president, said Barbara Stansbury, the master of ceremonies
at the event, and a staffer with the Army's Directorate of
Equal Employment Opportunity.
Dixon served the nation
faithfully as a member of the Women's Army Corps, or WAC,
during World War II, and then for 35 years as a federal
She began that service more than 70 years
ago, when she was one of the first African-American women to
join the WAC, Stansbury said.
Dixon has traveled the
world and is known for her jokes and quick wit, she said.
"Her philosophy is 'You've got to laugh a little bit,'"
"Ms. Dixon is truly an amazing woman
of extraordinary character, courage and commitment," she
"I want to say thank you very much for all
those kind words," Dixon said.
"I'm still hanging on
at 106 years, and I'm very happy to be here. I joined the
Army in 1943, before a lot of you were born even, and things
were not good at that time," she said.
War II, Dixon served in Europe as a member of the 6888th
Central Postal Directory Battalion.
The 6888th was
the only unit of African-American women in the WAC to serve
overseas in England and France during World War II.
The women were charged with eliminating the enormous backlog
of floor-to-ceiling stacks of undelivered mail and packages
addressed to U.S. service members, Stansbury said.
Mail delivery was hampered due to dangerous wartime actions
throughout Europe, and that had a major impact on morale.
Another difficulty was that many packages were addressed
to names like 'Junior,' or 'Buster,' U.S. Army. However,
with the Soldiers' identifying number on the letter, the
mail could be sent to the correct person.
the importance of this task, the 6888th worked tirelessly
each day and cleared a backlog of mail in half the time it
was expected to take. These amazing women cleared over 90
billion pieces of mail," Stansbury said.
war, Dixon worked in the Pentagon in requisitions, where she
purchased everything "from pencils to airplanes," and
retired from the Pentagon in 1972, after 35 memorable years,
Demonstrating the wit and good humor
she is known for, Dixon had the audience laughing throughout
"When I first went in, they wanted to
send me to the hospital to be a nurse. I said 'no, no, no.
I'm allergic to hospitals, [I] can't go there,'" she joked.
"I had a wonderful time in the service. I enjoyed it
very much," she said.
"When I joined, they asked me,
'Why did I join?' In 1943, I said 'They've taken all the
men, I got to follow them," she said to laughter, adding:
"If men can do it and help the country, we can too."
"We worked hard and did a lot of good things," she said.
Dixon said she is so proud to see such "beautiful
things" happening with African-American women, and all women
who are doing so much in the Army.
"I'm so pleased
about that; they've moved right on up to the top. Good for
you," she said.
By U.S. Army Lisa Ferdinando
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