Brewer Twins Home for Christmas in 1943

Article excerpt

This story, written by BDN reporter Nelle C. Penley, appeared in the Dec. 25, 1943, issue of the Bangor Daily News:

BREWER, Maine -- "Home for Christmas" is a reality today for Sergeants Madelene and Irene Spencer, twin daughters of Mr. and Mrs. James A. Spencer of Brewer, who have completed five months of active service with the U.S. Marine Corps Women's Reserve. They will leave tonight for their base at Philadelphia, but the holiday will be a gay one as their parents are holding open house during the day in order that relatives and friends may have the opportunity of seeing them. The highlight of the holiday will be a family dinner party at noon.

The Spencer twins are most enthusiastic over the Marine Corps and their own duties as recruiting officers for the Eastern Procurement Division. Both held office positions before enlisting, Madelene that of a bookkeeper for the Bangor Hydro-Electric corporation, and Irene as a stenographer for the Gordon Insurance and Real Estate Agency. They find their present work entirely different from that which they pursued in Bangor, but they love it. In fact, they hope that if the Women's Reserve is retained after the war, they may continue in the service. They would like to visit places all over the world where the Marine Corps has made history in the present struggle.

Identical twins, the girls asked for service together when they enlisted and they have been granted this request except for a couple of weeks. "It was the only request we made," said Irene, as she pointed out the fact that they had met other Marine Corps twins who were being kept together.

Since receiving their basic training at Camp Lejeune, New River, N.C., the twins have traveled more than 5,000 miles and have met a parade of governors and mayors of states and cities where they have been recruiting. It is no exaggeration to say that they attracted nationwide attention, and their pictures have appeared in scores of newspapers and magazines. They have met many celebrities and have photographed most of them, including Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, [wife of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt] [movie stars] James Cagney, Dick Powell, Greer Garson, Lucille Ball, Kay Kayser and Betty Hutton; Gunnery Sergeant Joe Basilone, the famous Marine [who distinguished himself at the Battle of Guadalcanal, the only enlisted man in the Marines ever to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor and the Navy Cross, and who died in 1945 on Iwo Jima]; Sgt. Al Schmid [who was the subject of the film "Pride of the Marines" released in 1945]; John Roberts Powers [an actor and founder of a New York City modeling agency] and a group of his models; and others. …