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'Raging Granny' Gets Marine Recruitment Letter


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'Raging Granny' Gets Marine Recruitment Letter

By Associated Press

October 20, 2005, 5:18 PM EDT

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Sally-Alice Thompson had to laugh when she got a letter from the Marine Corps' commanding general, telling her the military "is in need of your service" and inviting her to find out more by sending in an enclosed card.

"What else could I do? I mean, I'm 82 years old," Thompson said.

Not only that, Thompson is a well-known local peace activist who is a charter member of the Center for Peace & Justice in Albuquerque and belongs to Veterans for Peace and Raging Grannies.

So instead of sending in the card, she plans to visit the Marine recruiting center with other Raging Grannies, which Thompson describes as "a group of women unhappy about wars of aggression and about nuclear armaments."

"I don't know what kind of reception we'll get," said Thompson, who served in the Navy in World War II.

She began questioning government actions when the United States went to war in Vietnam. She's since taken part in the Great Peace March of 1986 across the United States, participated in a similar march from Leningrad to Moscow the following year. She's been in more than a dozen marches since President Bush took office and went to Crawford, Texas, in August in support of anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan when Sheehan tried to talk with the president on his vacation to Texas.

The letter from Brig. Gen. Walter E. Gaskin told Thompson that "now is the time to put your unique language skills to the test as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps. Your command of the Arabic language will be invaluable among the elite few."

Thompson, who said she knows two words of Arabic, said she has no idea why she got the letter.

But she's heard similar stories.

"A number of older women have been getting these letters," she said. "So I think someone is pulling the Marines' leg."

Copyright 2005 Newsday Inc.

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