By Jim Forsyth
SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) - Lucy Coffey, the oldest living woman U.S. military veteran who served with the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps in the Pacific Theater during World War Two, has died at the age of 108, veterans officials in San Antonio said.
Coffey, a native of Indiana who retired in Texas after nearly three decades of military-related service, was working at an A&P store in Dallas in 1943 when she joined the newly formed Women's Army Auxiliary Corps, according to her Department of Defense biography.
She served in Japan, New Guinea and the Philippines, where she was promoted to staff sergeant and received the Philippine Liberation Ribbon for service during the Luzon Campaign, according to the department.
"It is with great sadness we learned that our beloved Ms. Lucy Coffey, our nation's oldest female veteran, passed away this morning," the Bexar County Veterans Service Office in Texas said in a statement late on Thursday.
"Her contributions to our country and community will never be forgotten," it said.
After the war, Coffey remained in the Pacific region, working as an Army civilian in Japan. She then transferred to Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio in 1958, where she worked as an accountant until retiring in 1971.
Honor Flight, a group that provides trips to Washington for World War Two veterans, flew Coffey to the nation's capital last summer, where she met President Barack Obama at the White House.
The WAAC accepted women aged 21 and 45 to fill military support roles and free up more men for combat, according to the U.S. Army. About 400,000 women served in uniform during World War Two, the White House said.
(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Susan Heavey)