In 2011 Senator Jane Nelson authored a bill, which the 82nd Texas Legislature subsequently signed, designating the month of March as Women Veterans Month in tribute to the countless contributions that women in the military have made to this nation. In honor of Women Veterans Month the Texas Veterans Land Board (VLB) would like to share some of the stories and experiences that women Veterans have recorded with the Voices of Veterans oral history program.
Millie Dalrymple entered the military as a WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) in 1943 after her husband was shot down and killed over Europe. A graduate of the University of Texas, Mrs. Dalrymple would go on to fly countless hours ferrying planes across the United States in support of the war effort. She was later awarded a Congressional Gold Medal for her actions.
Lorrie Henderson was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and attended Cornell College in Mount Vernon as an art major, which was where she elected to take an engineering drawing course as her math requirement. She was living in New York when she joined the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) after being inspired by a WAVES poster of a woman launching a weather balloon. Mrs. Henderson served as a draftsman in 1945, during the last year of World War II. She was stationed aboard Treasure Island Naval Base in northern California and reached the rank of Seaman 2nd Class.
In 1943, Frances Relyea, a native central Texan and graduate of Waco High School, also joined the U.S. Navy as a part of the WAVES. She was assigned to Whiting Field, a naval air station near Milton, Florida where she met her husband. Mrs. Relyea now resides in Temple.
Sharon Frederick, a native of Abilene, served in the U.S. Air Force as an MP guarding an airbase in Dubai during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. In 1998 she joined the Army’s Medical Corps and in 2005 deployed to Kosovo in support of Operation Enduring Freedom where she worked as a medical planner at a hospital. Ms. Frederick also conducted community action programs within the various small villages in the area, so the local residents could have free access to medical and dental services.
We commend and celebrate these brave and resourceful women and all the women who have served in the military, as well as those who have supported members of the military as spouses, mothers, grandmothers, sisters, daughters, granddaughters, aunts and nieces.
If you are a Veteran and would like to share your story of service with the Voices of Veterans oral history program, please contact the Texas Veterans Land Board at 1-800-252-8387 or submit an online screening form or send an email to program coordinator James Crabtree at email@example.com.