Female WW II service veteran shares the feminine side of serving our country

HOUSTON — When you think of all the great heroes who defended our country, it's easy to forget that they weren't all just men.

The women's branch of the U.S. Naval Reserve were called WAVES, which stood for Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service.

Evelyn Parker, 95, recalls being eager to enlist.

"I decided it would be historical 'cause they never had women in the armed services before, so I thought that would be a historical thing to do," Parker said. "I think 30, 32 or 36 of us went from Houston at the same time."

Parker was stationed in Olathe, Kansas — also known as the Trade Winds of the USA — where she even learned to handle guns.

"We had to learn to march and do drills and stuff like that. That was part of our basic training," Parker said. "Where we learned the 'Navy' way of doing everything."

Not a Memorial Day goes by that Evelyn doesn't recall all the brave men and women she served with during the war and the sacrifices made to keep America the Land of the Free.

At the Kansas airbase where Parker was stationed, one tragic event stands out.

"We had one crash there which killed 11 people and that was very outstanding in my memory because it brought the war closer to us," Parker said.

She said she made just $50 a month, but $50 went a long way in those days.

"I was in the service two years and eight months," Parker said. "Almost three years, but the war was over and we got to come home."

And the rest, as they say, is history.