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Wishing a WWII WAC a Happy 104th

Maureen Lamm Davis

Maureen Lamm Davis is celebrating 104 years on February 22 and wants you to celebrate with her. 

Davis is an official star with two newspaper articles published about her 100th and 103rd birthdays.  Both articles (citations below) reveal she has always been feisty and ready to take the bull by the horns!  And Davis is no stranger to bulls as she recalls a personal encounter in the 2017 article.  Her Texas hometown had bulls roaming the streets, and 10-year old Davis had to jump a fence to get away from a charging bull — a feat she was quite proud of despite not being considered lady-like by her parents.

Davis, a middle child, was born in 1917 to Walter and Gennie Lamm in Haskell, Texas with the family later moving to George West.  Being her high school salutatorian, she pursued further education and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Education from the Texas State College for Women. 

When the war started, Davis decided to join the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, and graduated as a member of the 1st Regiment, 29th O.C. Class, 1st WAAC Training Facility Center, Fort Des Moines IA, on May 23, 1943.  During her service, Davis had administrative duties to induct and discharge men from the service. She trained in Des Moines, Iowa then went on to Fort Mason, California, and eventually ended up at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, where she inducted the men of Tennessee.  She separated from the military in 1946 as a Captain having served her country proudly. 

In 1949, she married Bill Davis and they were together for 53 years until his passing in 2002.  Always active, Davis returned to work after her military service and also received a Master’s Degree in education.  She continues to be active even after deciding to move to an assisted-living facility as evidenced by the gardening picture shared by the Facility Staff.    

Should you want to send birthday wishes to Maureen, her address is:  Mrs. Maureen Davis, Argent Court, 1951 Texas Highway 97 E, Jourdanton, Texas 78026

Sources:

-The Progress, Feature, “100 Years Young”, Nikki Weithauer, Mar 5, 2017 Updated May 1, 2017 (The Progress, 501 N. Harborth Ave., Ste D, Three Rivers, TX)

-Pleasanton Express, “HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MAUREEN!”, Pleasonton Staff, on February 12, 2020 (Pleasonton Express, 114 E. Goodwin, Pleasonton, TX)


WAAC Veteran Celebrates 103rd Birthday

Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps veteran Edna Keiper Sheeler has seen many historical events since her World War II service. Now, Edna is about to become a part of history herself, as she celebrates her 103rd birthday on January 3, 2021.

Sheeler, who lives with her daughter in Philadelphia, joined the Army at a time when patriotic women were coming to the defense of their country. She enlisted in March 1943 and was sent first to Camp Ruskin in Louisiana and then to Camp Denton in Texas for training. She was then sent to Ft Benjamin Harrison, Indiana to the hospital supply unit where Sheeler
said she worked until it closed.

“I got sent overseas to Port Moresby, New Guinea, where I worked in mail,” she says. “Then to the Philippine Islands where I met my husband…at the end of the war I went to Manila for 3 weeks, then home.”

“I remember when it was announced the war was over I was on a Philippine Island with my future husband and thinking no one would
make bed check so stayed out.” However, Sheeler’s commanding officer found out and told her to stay in for 4 days but then dropped it to 2 taking into account the good news of the war ending.

Edna, one of The Greatest Generation, returned home after the war as a T5 “between a private first class and corporal,” she says. “I loved every minute of it,” she added. Edna retired from the Philadelphia Post Office. Now she spends her days watching TV, playing Rummy and writing pen pals until early this year when her fingers began to bother her.

Sheeler has been honored with a Tribute Brick at the U.S. Army Women’s Museum, Fort Lee, VA. “It’s the least one could do for her,” says one of her pen pals. “After all, she paved the way for the rest of us who have served in the Army.

Edna was able to celebrate her birthday happily with multiple cards
delivered to her.


Staff Sergeant Daniel M. O’Rourke Remembered

Members of the Star Spangled Unit of the WAC Exhibit Team including SSGT O’Rourke in Honolulu, Hawaii on February 28, 1967 with LTC Mildred Bailey and Mrs. Beatrice Burns, wife of Hawaii’s Governor and Army Nurse Corps veteran.

Member of 1966-67 Star Spangled WAC Unit Remembered.

Staff Sergeant Daniel M. O’Rourke had a varied military career but his most memorable tour was with the Women’s Army Corps Exhibit Team as it traveled the country with the Star Spangled Pageant.  The pageant started in 1963, the 21st anniversary of the WAC, as part of an Army public relations program to promote the future of women in the military.  Lieutenant Colonel Mildred I.C. Bailey was selected to head the team with a mission to educate people about WAC life, talk about the jobs open to women and to increase recruitment.  The small team of WACs, with LTC Bailey and O’Rourke, traveled the US giving presentations to clubs, schools, civic organizations and other groups.  The WACs modeled historic outfits as well as women’s military uniforms from the past and present – all to tell the brave stories of women’s contributions to this country. 

No exhibiting tour is complete without an excellent narrator that can tell the stories of the women that helped create the United States.  O’Rourke was chosen as the narrator during the 1966-1967 timeframe and he was a superb storyteller. His job was considered to be the envy of many soldiers with one officer signing a promotional picture of the pageant addressed to O’Rourke with the quote “The only man I would change jobs with”.  O’Rourke had very fond memories of LTC Bailey, who was later promoted to Brigadier General and became WAC Director from 1971-75. According to his son, Tom, his dad felt a sense of duty and dedication to LTC Bailey and a strong bond with the WAC team.

During O’Rourke’s assignment to the Exhibit Team, he visited many places to include Texas, North Dakota, Florida, California, Hawaii and Wisconsin and had an opportunity to meet Vice President Hubert Humphrey. O’Rourke’s narration skills and enthusiasm were top-notch and attracted the attention of a primetime news network, says his son. Although offered the job, O’Rourke declined as it wasn’t his dream.

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O’Rourke served in the Army from 1962 to 1968 then moved back to civilian life where he spent 40 years in the transportation business in Wisconsin.  Daniel Martin O’Rourke (age 79) passed on in November. His family was well aware of his fond memories of his time as the WAC Exhibit narrator, and has asked that donations be made to support the Army Women’s Museum at Ft Lee.  O’Rourke was in attendance at the dedication of the Museum in 2001 when it was relocated to Ft Lee, Va.  Information on donating is at armywomensmuseum.org/donate/ or can be mailed to Friends of the Army Women’s Museum Association (FAWMA), PO Box 1027, Prince George, VA 23875.

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