Town of Arlington
Department of Health and Human Services
Christine Bongiorno, Director
27 Maple St.
Arlington, MA 02476
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016
Media Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Arlington Department of Veterans’ Services Celebrates Veteran’s 95th Birthday
ARLINGTON — The Arlington Department of Health and Human Services is pleased to announce that the Department of Veterans’ Services celebrated the 95th birthday of Marine Corps Veteran and Arlington resident, Catherine Farrell Adler this weekend.
On Sunday, Dec. 18., approximately 30 family members and friends attended the celebration, which was held at a family member’s home in Winchester. Adler will turn 95 early next year, but relatives wanted to celebrate while they were home for the holidays.
Jeffrey Chunglo, Arlington’s Director of Veterans’ Services, has known Adler since 2014.
“She is a remarkable woman and proud Marine Corps Veteran. These are the types of stories our younger generation needs to hear,” Chunglo said. “During her service, Catherine helped break down barriers for women serving in the military. For anyone serving as a member of a Funeral Honor Guard, it is a tremendous honor.”
Adler was born in 1922 in Fogo, Newfoundland and immigrated with her family to the United States in 1924. In May 1949, at age 27, Adler joined the United States Marine Corps. Upon completion of her initial training, she served as a Clerk at the Naval Yard in Washington D.C.
During the Korean War, the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve was mobilized, reaching a peak strength of 2,787 active duty women Marines. During this time, female Marines were restricted to administrative and clerical support roles. Concluding her obligated service, Adler continued to receive orders and extended her service.
As a result of her superior performance, Adler was hand-selected by the Office of the Commandant of the Marine Corps to serve as the first female member of the Marine Corps Honor Guard at Arlington National Cemetery.
“It was an honor. It was a sad duty, but it was a fitting tribute to the Marines and their families,” Adler said.
In addition to her regular duties, Adler provided funeral honors almost daily, ranging from one to five funerals per day for a year. In October 1952, Adler received an Honorable Discharge from the Marine Corps. Her military decorations include the Good Conduct Medal.
Surrounded by family and friends, Adler enjoyed her birthday celebration while sitting next to a tree decorated with pictures from her loved ones. “She’s an inspirational woman and I’m looking forward to her 100th birthday celebration,” Chunglo said.