Barbara E. Gove was born on 26 November 1935 in Malden, Massachusetts, and grew up in nearby Woburn. When she was thirteen years old, she joined the Civil Air Patrol and practiced flying in a Link Trainer. Gove graduated from Woburn High School in 1953 and then attended a few months of nurses’ training.
Gove joined the Women Marines in 1954. She went to boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina, in April and then had more training at the Naval Air Technical Training Center in Jacksonville, Florida. Gove also attended parachute rigger school in Lakehurst, New Jersey. She was then sent to Naval Air Depot Cherry Point, North Carolina, to do linotype. Gove had several negative experiences at Cherry Point, and when she asked for a transfer in 1955, she was discharged instead.
After a short stay in the Veterans Administration mental hospital in Brocton, Massachusetts, in 1955, Gove held several jobs. She worked in engineering and electronics in New England and California, for such companies as Browning Manufacturing, Anelex, Gray Manufacturing, Stromberg Data-graphics, General Dynamics, and Wave Tech. In 1978, she moved to Florida to take care of her mother. Gove started a veterans group, The William L. Gove Senior Veterans, in 1980, and has also been an officer in the Marine Corps League and the Disabled American Veterans. Gove passed away in January 2011.