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The Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project

VIOLA BROWN SANDERS PAPERS

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BIOABSTRACT

Viola Brown Sanders (1921-2013) of Sidon, Mississippi, served in the U.S. Navy WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) from 1943 to 1966, the last four years as Director of Women in the Navy.


BIOGRAPHY

Viola Brown Sanders, daughter of John S. and Viola Brown Sanders, was born on February 21, 1921 in Sidon, Mississippi. She graduated from Greenwood High School and went on to attend Sunflower Junior College (now Mississippi Delta Community College) in Moorhead, Mississippi, for two years. In 1941, she received a BS in education from Delta State Teachers College (now Delta State University) in Cleveland, Mississippi, and was later chosen as the college’s first outstanding alumna. She then taught grades seven to twelve in Glen Allan, Mississippi.

Sanders enlisted in the WAVES in March of 1943. She attended Officer Candidate School at Smith College in Massachusetts, and completed communications training at nearby Mount Holyoke College. On October 19, 1943, she was assigned as communications officer at Naval Air Station in New Orleans, Louisiana. She was next transferred to Naval Station Great Lakes, where she worked in recruit training. When women’s recruit training was transferred to Naval Training Center, Bainbridge, Maryland, in late 1951, Sanders was assigned to set up the facilities for the women’s regiment. After completing the move, she became the regimental commander in Bainbridge, a position she held for a year.

In 1953, Sanders was sent abroad to Naval Supply Depot, Yokosuka, Japan, where she served as a naval intelligence officer. She returned to the U.S. in 1955 as administrative officer for U.S. Antarctic Programs, and aided in the office of Admiral Richard E. Byrd in Washington, D.C. In 1958, she was asked to be deputy director for Winifred Quick, the Director of Women in the Navy. She later worked with the Naval Reserve at Norfolk, Virginia, for a year. She was then called back to Washington to serve as Director of Women in the Navy in 1962. Sanders retired from the navy on August 31, 1966.

After her retirement Sanders lived in Southern Pines, North Carolina, for a short time before returning to Greenwood, Mississippi, where she was very active in civic and veterans affairs. Sanders died on April 28, 2013


CONTENTS AVAILABLE ONLINE:
Item
Portrait of Viola Brown Sanders, 1966
Item # WV0323.6.023
From the Viola Brown Sanders Papers
Retirement ceremony for Viola Brown Sanders, 1966
Item # WV0323.6.024
From the Viola Brown Sanders Papers
Viola Brown Sanders arrives at her retirement, 1966
Item # WV0323.6.025
From the Viola Brown Sanders Papers
Oral history interview with Viola Sanders, 2005
Item # WV0323.5.001
From the Viola Brown Sanders Papers
Viola Brown Sanders swears in WAVES, 1949
Item # WV0323.6.001
From the Viola Brown Sanders Papers
Viola Brown Sanders teaches reserve officer candidates, 1951
Item # WV0323.6.002
From the Viola Brown Sanders Papers
WAVES company passing in review, 1951
Item # WV0323.6.003
From the Viola Brown Sanders Papers
Viola Brown Sanders salutes, circa 1963
Item # WV0323.6.004
From the Viola Brown Sanders Papers
Four WAVES officers at 18th anniversary party, 1960
Item # WV0323.6.005
From the Viola Brown Sanders Papers
U.S. and foriegn servicewomen in Copenhagen, Denmark, 1961
Item # WV0323.6.006
From the Viola Brown Sanders Papers
U.S. and foriegn servicewomen at museum in Copenhagen, Denmark, 1961
Item # WV0323.6.007
From the Viola Brown Sanders Papers
Viola Brown Sanders at a Navy Day celebration, 1962
Item # WV0323.6.008
From the Viola Brown Sanders Papers
Viola Brown Sanders in the office of Captain Stultz, 1962
Item # WV0323.6.009
From the Viola Brown Sanders Papers
WAVES in the office of Captain Stultz, 1962
Item # WV0323.6.010
From the Viola Brown Sanders Papers
Viola Brown Sanders presents award, 1963
Item # WV0323.6.011
From the Viola Brown Sanders Papers
Viola Brown Sanders and Lucille Ball, 1963
Item # WV0323.6.012
From the Viola Brown Sanders Papers
Viola Brown Sanders reviewing sailors, 1963
Item # WV0323.6.013
From the Viola Brown Sanders Papers
WAVES around a piano, 1963
Item # WV0323.6.014
From the Viola Brown Sanders Papers
Viola Brown Sanders at officer's reception, 1963
Item # WV0323.6.015
From the Viola Brown Sanders Papers
Viola Brown Sanders reviews WAVES, 1964
Item # WV0323.6.016
From the Viola Brown Sanders Papers
Anne Ducey and admiral at groundbreaking ceremony, 1965
Item # WV0323.6.017
From the Viola Brown Sanders Papers
Viola Brown Sanders at a groundbreaking ceremony, 1965
Item # WV0323.6.018
From the Viola Brown Sanders Papers
Viola Brown Sanders and Anne Ducey at groundbreaking, 1965
Item # WV0323.6.019
From the Viola Brown Sanders Papers
U.S. female military directors, 1966
Item # WV0323.6.020
From the Viola Brown Sanders Papers
Members appointed to DACOWITS, 1966
Item # WV0323.6.021
From the Viola Brown Sanders Papers
Women in the Navy Directors, 1966
Item # WV0323.6.022
From the Viola Brown Sanders Papers

ADDITIONAL CONTENTS:
Newspaper clippings, 1971, 1999-2005; Letters, 1967, 1975, 2005