ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Like many young adults in the early 1950's, Helen Kevrick had a family member who had served in World War II.

Helen's Uncle Buddy was a Coast Guard veteran wounded in action and he was her hero. She wanted to be like Buddy and set out to enlist in the Coast Guard, but they weren't taking women.

That didn't stop Helen or Sarge, as she's known to most family and friends, from serving her country and going where women had not gone before.

After completing Marine boot camp, Sarge was recruited to become a drill instructor and became one of the first two women to attend Marine Drill Instructor school with all men. It prepared her well for her groundbreaking service.

Sarge spent the rest of her three years on active duty preparing other woman for life as a Marine. By her own admission, she was a tough but fair drill instructor, but confesses she had no patience for tears.

Sarge has been asked to speak to quite a few groups over the years after speaking to a group of high school students a few years ago, she doubted how much impact she had on them.

Until a letter came in the mail a few days later, it was from a female student who was in the audience that day. The letter said, "Thank you for walking so that our generation could run."

Copyright 2020 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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