By: Dwayne Wingfield
On September 11, Ms. Alyce Dixon, became108-year-old, the WWII Veteran celebrated another milestone birthday at the Washington DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center’s Community Living Center where she resides.
She is one of the nation’s oldest living Veterans and is a celebrity around town; known for her strong opinions, quick wit and a talent for telling eyebrow-raising jokes.
World War II Veteran Alyce Dixon, affectionately known as “Queen Bee” by those who know her and care for her at the Washington, D.C., VA Medical Center. Cpl. Dixon has quite a story and quite a personality. Rocking a tiara on top of her head for the occasion, she was queen for the day at the D.C. VAMC. Fellow Veterans, volunteers, staff and family members celebrated her life at a special ceremony held Sept.11. Wearing her stylish clothes, matching jewelry and her perfectly manicured nails, Veterans and staff look for her as she makes daily rounds at the medical center.
Born Alice Lillian Ellis in 1907, the Boston native has always lived life on her own terms. At 16, she saw a movie starring actress Alyce Mills. “I thought it was so pretty spelled like that, so I changed my name to Alyce,” she said. One of the oldest of nine children, Ms. Dixon helped her mother raise her younger siblings.
“After I got married, I never wanted children, I felt like I’d already raised a family.” Ms. Dixon would later divorce her husband over an $18 grocery allowance. “I used to manage his paycheck until he found out I was sending money home to my family,” she said. He then started managing the money and gave her an allowance, a move which did not sit well with the independent young woman. “I found myself a job, an apartment and a roommate. I didn’t need him or his money,” she said with no trace of regret in her voice.
After joining the military in 1943, she served for three years as a member of the Women’s Army Corps. She was stationed in England and France where she played an important role in the postal services as part of the 6888th Battalion. The “Six-Triple-Eight” was the only unit of African-American women in the WAC to serve overseas during WWII.
She returned home to Washington, DC after the war and has always supported herself, as a secretary at Lincoln Theater, for the Census Bureau and eventually for the Pentagon where she served as a purchasing agent buying everything.
World War II Veteran Alyce Dixon, affectionately known as “Queen Bee” by those who know her and care for her at the Washington, D.C., VA Medical Center, is now 108-years young.
Cpl. Dixon has quite a story and quite a personality. Rocking a tiara on top of her head for the occasion, she was queen for the day at the D.C. VAMC. Fellow Veterans, volunteers, staff and family members celebrated her life at a special ceremony held Sept 11.
“God has been so good,” Dixon said. “He left me here with all these lovely people and all these nice things they’re saying. I hope they mean it.”
Dixon is now the oldest living female World War II veteran according to VA records. She joined the military in 1943 and was stationed in both England and France with the postal services. She was one of the first African-American women in the Army as part of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion – the only unit of African-American women in the WAC to serve overseas during WWII.
“This has been a marvelous day. I feel real special,” Dixon said regarding the celebration that included flowers and gifts from family and friends.