1. LIBRARY CATALOG
  2. DATABASES
  3. JOURNAL A-Z List
  4. SUBJECT GUIDES
  5. LIBRARY SERVICES

The Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project

Oral history interview with Barbara Gove, 2000

Search the Collection


AND   OR   EXACT PHRASE

Object ID: WV0152.5.001

Description: Primarily documents Barbara Evelyn Gove’s childhood in Massachusetts during World War II and her interest in electronics; her experiences as a Woman Marine in the mid-1950s, and her extensive work with veterans groups.

Summary:

Gove talks about her family and her childhood. She comments on her father’s experiences in World War I; thinking that the Japanese were attacking Massachusetts after the bombing of Pearl Harbor; rationing and blackouts; German spies in Woburn; her fascination with planes and service with the Civil Air Patrol; learning to fly; awareness of the Korean War during high school; learning to fix cars and other objects as a child; volunteering at repair shops to learn more about engineering; and working and teaching at electronics companies.

Topics related to the Women Marines include her parents’ reactions when she joined the Marines and tricking them into signing the permission form; talking to a Marine recruiter; her going away party; boot camp at Parris Island; her difficult female drill instructor; living in barracks; cleaning the showers with a toothbrush; training in Jacksonville, including putting out fires and assembling machine guns; social life, including dancing, bowling, and movies; and delivering a baby while volunteering at the hosiptal.

Topics related to Gove’s work with veterans organizations include starting a veterans group promoting acceptance of Vietnam vets; her opinion of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and American Legion; visiting Veterans Administration hospitals and encouraging veterans to face their problems; the importance of women veterans organizations and the work of Joan Furey at the Center for Women Veterans; advice to people interested in joining the military; problems in VA hospitals; and advocating for veterans.

Gove also discusses her negative experiences in the military, including animosity and competition from navy women; a man who died during a parachute jump; the lack of teamwork, camaraderie, and respect at Cherry Point; rapes and suicide; male Marines’ resentment of the Women Marines; her opinion of women in combat; disrespect from civilians; being beaten up and threatened at Cherry Point; and her desire to help others who had bad experiences in the military.

Creator: Barbara Evelyn Gove

Biographical Info: Barbara E. Gove (1935-2011), of Woburn, Massachusetts, served in the Women Marines from 1954 to 1955.

Collection: Barbara E. Gove Papers

Rights: It is responsibility of the user to follow the copyright law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). Materials are not to be reproduced in published works without written consent, and any use should credit Jackson Library, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Full Text:

EE:

My name is Eric Elliott, and I am with the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and this is an interview for the Women Veteran's Project at the university. Today is Sunday, December 17 of the year 2000. We are at Horse Shoe [North Carolina].

BG:

Between Hendersonville and Asheville.

EE:

We're at the home of Barbara “Barb” Gove. Ms. Gove, I'm going to ask you the same question I do everybody. Where were you born and where did you grow up?

BG:

I was born in Malden, Massachusetts, November 26, 1935. A few younger years in Everett, Massachusetts, and then we moved to Woburn [Massachusetts], and that's where I spent the rest of my childhood and teenage years.

EE:

You were telling me before we started the tape that you have some brothers and sisters, were you not?

BG:

I have an older sister, a younger sister, and a younger brother.

EE:

Any of those in the military?

BG:

My brother. He was in the navy.

EE:

During World War II?

BG:

During the Cuba problems. I was in during the Korean conflict. He was in after me.

EE:

What about your folks, what did they do for a living?

BG:

My father, he started the Barrett division in Malden, which was they tar roads. B-a-r-r-e-t-t, in Malden, Massachusetts.

EE:

So this was a contract with the state?

BG:

No. It was his own business. He started out with one truck and two partners, and then they built up to a fleet.

EE:

What about your mom?

BG:

Well, my mother has a long history. You don't want to hear that, do you?

EE:

Did she work outside the home?

BG:

She was a nurse, an LPN [Licensed Practical Nurse], not an LRN.

EE:

You were telling me about your dad's military service. Was there a long history of being in the military in your family, or was he the first one?

BG:

Oh no, if you go back in genealogy you'll find that they go way back. I have a book that was printed in 1922 and it will tell you about all the military people in my direct family that will go all the way back to when they arrived here in the 1600s.

EE:

He was in World War I. It looks like he was in both England and Germany, and was wounded in Germany, came back here—

BG:

He had an interesting story about Germany. He got wounded and even the Germans got wounded. He led some of them into a cave, made them leave their guns outside the cave, and there were a couple of medics. The medics took care of each other. He had given the orders, I heard this from somebody else too, he had given the orders that when they were better, when they were bound up and could walk, that when you left the cave you did not look back, just take your rifle and leave. And they did. He kept in touch with a few of them, the Germans! After the war.

EE:

Wow. Apparently he [unclear].

BG:

My father was a fantastic man.

EE:

So you heard these stories when you were growing up?

BG:

Well, my dad wouldn't talk too much about the pain, the wound, wouldn't talk too much about killing. What he talked about was mainly how the Germans were no different than the Americans, because it's just a different country. They're all human, they all hurt the same, and everybody should help each other. It was hard for him to get across to each one because some didn't speak English. He never really hated people; that's why he flew a plane instead of fighting.

EE:

You went to school in Everett?

BG:

No, I started school in Woburn.

EE:

Were you somebody who liked school?

BG:

Oh yes, I enjoyed school.

EE:

Did you have a favorite subject?

BG:

History, geography, art.

EE:

Did you know at that time when you were in school, did you have an inkling about what you wanted to be when you grew up?

BG:

My mother wanted me to be a nurse. I wanted to be a physical therapist. I wanted to go into the service because I joined the Civil Air Patrol.

EE:

When did you join the Civil Air Patrol?

BG:

Thirteen years old.

EE:

Was that something run through the high school or separate?

BG:

No, that was separate. I enjoyed planes, doing different things that were going on. My father flew a plane and I was curious about that, to see why he enjoyed it so much.

EE:

You were showing me that he was a pilot trained during the war. Did he continue for recreational purposes to fly?

BG:

No.

EE:

He just knew how to do it.

BG:

He just knew how to do it. I think his name was Eddie Rickenbocker—asked if anybody wanted to be pilots. He really didn't talk too much about it, except I knew from the picture. He had another, there was another picture where a plane had crashed too. He was standing by that, so. He never took it up for recreational purposes though.

EE:

Do you remember Pearl Harbor day?

BG:

Yes, I remember my father on Pearl Harbor day. I remember this distinctly. I was little. I heard on the radio that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. I ran out of the house, went to get my mother, told her to get her rifle, because she used to shoot chipmunks herself, and she asked me why and I told her because the Japanese had bombed Horn Pond in Woburn, Massachusetts, and were coming up to us and where was her rifle. Yes, I remember Pearl Harbor. I was about six or seven then.

EE:

You thought it was a lot closer.

BG:

Yes, because I wasn't very old and I remember when I heard about it on the radio and thought it was happening in Woburn, Massachusetts.

EE:

Do you remember that time of the war, because it surely had to shape your school experience, because even in school they were raising money for war bonds and saving scraps and I guess, stamps, you guys had to have books?

BG:

I have some of those stamp books still, and the teachers also explained it to us.

EE:

In your household was your family afraid anytime during the war, or what do you remember about the wartime in your household?

BG:

We had to pull the shades down and keep the light out. In fact we lived on 36 Russell Street in Woburn and all of a sudden we saw cars and everything drew around and I couldn't figure out what it was. Found out later the people name of Schadle? Schadadle? and they turned out to be German spies. They lived on a farm down Russell Street in Woburn.

EE:

Right there in town.

BG:

They were right down the road, I would say about a mile—

EE:

How close were they to the navy yard?

BG:

You mean in Charleston [unclear]. Oh, I don't think they'd be too far. Twenty miles? It wasn't too far to Boston either.

EE:

Do you remember being aware of what was going on in the war, or was it just something that happened in your childhood?

BG:

It was something that happened. My mother and my father told us that we were not allowed to go out alone, we were not to go down the street, we were to stay in the house. If we were to go somewhere, we were to go with her. I was fascinated by the plane. Pretty much everything was coming at once and I didn't know what it was about, I thought it was a parade. But we were told we couldn't watch this parade. It was police and military going down the street after the German spies.

EE:

Well, do you remember any parades, any celebrations?

BG:

Well, I know my father took us down to Rigley. And everybody was jumping up and down and waving flags, so I danced too. Dancing and waving a flag, but I wasn't sure what it was all about. It was great. We got hot dogs.

EE:

Tell me about your Civil Air Patrol. How long were you in that and what was that like for you?

BG:

I went into the Civil Air Patrol at the end of thirteen or the age of fourteen to sixteen years old. I was too young to fly a plane. I remember being in the—what do you call that thing where you learn to fly but you're on the ground.

EE:

Link Trainer?

BG:

Link Trainer! [unclear]

EE:

Sort of like the video games today.

BG:

And I love photography so I took that course. And I worked at the, you know on Saturdays and Sundays I was driven up there, you know, where the cafeteria is, and I earned money so that I could learn to fly. I had to pay for the lessons.

EE:

How unusual was it for a woman to be in this class?

BG:

Very unusual. I think there was two of us girls and all these boys.

EE:

Were you the tomboy in the group? Were you all tomboys? How were you looked upon?

BG:

Both of us girls were, more or less. I was the youngest girl there. But I had this mad crush on this guy. I've still got his picture. Yes, it was hard, but after a while this boy who was about a year or two older than me and he was like a protector. There was his mother who worked in the cafeteria so that's how I got the job there. And he flew planes and he's the one that taught me a lot about planes.

EE:

So did he give you your first ride in an airplane?

BG:

No, I had an older instructor.

EE:

So you did get to go up in a plane?

BG:

I sure did. And when you bank a plane, your stomach comes up in your mouth. Also, I was let to be a co-pilot on a larger plane.

EE:

Were you in the Civil Air Patrol all through high school?

BG:

All the way until I was about sixteen. I've still got a bunch of those pictures too.

EE:

Did you graduate then from Woburn High School?

BG:

I did. In June of 1953.

EE:

During your high school time the Korean conflict was going on. Did you have people in your class who left to join the service?

BG:

Yes, a bunch of us from the Civil Air Patrol. We always discussed what was going on. What could we do? But the boys always turned to me and say there was nothing a woman could ever do, it has to be the men. That aggravated me and I had to prove them different.

EE:

So did you have a pretty clear idea that you wanted to go into service when you got out of school?

BG:

Yes I did but my mother had other ideas. My mother signed me up for nurses training. I only went to nurses training for about six or seven months. And I came home for one weekend and they were changing you know, they were cleaning hospital rooms and everything, you know, from the nurses going from a probe [unclear] to a junior. And my mother said, “No, your dad and I are going away so you can't stay here.” And I said, “Really?” She said, “No, you'll have to go back.” I says, “Wow. I can't until they change around the rooms.” So I turned around that day, went into Boston and decided here's my chance, and I signed up for the Marines. But I was too young. I came back home and I told my mother and father, “Okay, I'll only stay here for the weekend but you have to sign my papers.” They thought they were from Lynn General Hospital, Lynn, Massachusetts, Nursing School. They signed the papers, I went back to Boston, a sergeant said, “When would you like to start boot camp?” I said, “How about Monday?” [laughs] When my mother and father found out what they had signed they were very angry with me. But I was thrilled.

EE:

At one point you had to be twenty-one to join the service. Was it eighteen for the Marines?

BG:

Yes, it was eighteen.

EE:

I think the Marines always had a younger entrance date than the other branches.

BG:

Well, I don't know about the other branches.

EE:

Your dad was in the army. How come you didn't want to join the WACs [Women's Army Corps]? What made you—You could have joined the air force.

BG:

I was thinking of the air force, but the first recruiter I met was a Marine, and I was very impressed by them, and I liked the uniforms.

EE:

It was in Boston.

BG:

Yes, it was in Boston, Massachusetts.

EE:

What did he say about when you went in, did he talk about what kind of work you might be doing? Did you express any preferences about where you wanted to be stationed?

BG:

No, I didn't know anything about where to be stationed or anything like that. But he asked me what I liked to do and when I told him that I liked to care for people he said, “Well, you could do that in here, in your spare time. You know, people need help.” And he said, “What else do you like?” and I said, “I like to drive. I like driving trucks, or anything, cars, or what have you. I'm interested in building things, doing things.” And he said, “Well, I think we can find a place for you.”

EE:

Obviously from the talent, from what you've showed me today with the doll houses, you're obviously a very hands-on person. Did you have that skill early on? That interest? You worked around planes and mechanical stuff.

BG:

My father taught us—a lot of people probably wouldn't believe that when we were younger my father took us out, all of us, girls and boy, he would take the wheel bearings off the car, pack them with his hands, then put them back, and he would say, “Now, you remember what I'm showing you.” When we got older, he would pull a wire or something, the car wouldn't start, and he'd want us to find the problem. He would get the screen off a window, which in those days was the wood with the screen, he would bust one, fix it, then bust another one and tell you to fix it. He also took us out on survival trips and camping. My mother stayed in the hotel.

EE:

He made it fun, it sounds like.

BG:

It was, it was. And then my mother would take us all inside to learn things. We had a little cooking, a little sewing, cleaning, things like that.

EE:

It wasn't near as fun.

BG:

No, it wasn't. And my brother, when he got married, he makes snowsuits for his kids and he got very embarrassed about it because he didn't want anyone to know, and they'd say, “Where did your kids get these snowsuits?” and hed say, “Don't ask me, ask my wife. She bought them somewhere.” He would not ever admit that he knew how to sew.

EE:

You say your folks weren't terribly thrilled with your decision once they found out about it. How did your brothers and sisters, how did your friends react to the news of you joining?

BG:

Well, they did throw a party for me. I have a picture of that too that was in the newspaper. My older sister had a party with a lot of the girls and the nurses came because after they signed the papers they had no choice. But my father, he told me, which, what was it? Twenty. I cant remember. He gave me advice. I forgot what he told me. To remember all I learned. But you see, I knew the general orders already from Civil Air Patrol. He asked me questions and I can't remember what he told me but it was funny. You don't do that in the service.

EE:

Had you ever been far away from home before? Getting on I guess it was a train out of Boston, headed to Parris [Island, South Carolina], had you ever been out of state before?

BG:

Well, my father used to take us down to Connecticut, up to New Hampshire and Vermont.

EE:

But certainly never down South.

BG:

No, never down South.

EE:

And you weren't going in with anybody you knew.

BG:

No.

EE:

Tell me what your experience at boot camp was like.

BG:

Well, boot camp was a little rough. My sergeant, my DI [drill instructor], was Master Sergeant Barbara Jean DeLinsky, and she got very upset with me all the way from the beginning because she—I remember her first saying was naturally everybody had to go up the ladder and I didn't know what it was, then she pointed it out, the stairs. Then we had to go to the squad bay and we had to find out what that was, and about a day later she handed out the general orders and she said, “I shall return in one half hour and you all better know it.” So I looked at them and I knew them. I put them aside, you know, and asked if anyone needed any help. Master Sergeant DeLinsky walked in on us. She came up to me and said, “Well, I guess we have a wise guy in this group. If you're so smart, stand up and tell us.” She had come in about twenty minutes later. And I stood up at attention and I recited them right down to the last order and remember the other eleven. With that she took her hand like that, she was going to hit me one, and I ducked. And then she said to me, “Did I give you an order?” and I said, “No ma'am, but you're not going to hit me.” “You don't talk unless I ask you to.” So it was a bad start with her right from the start. But, she did many things that to me was not proper. The more that she said, the more I tried to be the best there was. I was going to show her that I was going to be a tough Marine. And believe it or not, our group made honor platoon. It was platoon 4A, April 1954, and we made honor platoon and we all got our PFC [private first class] stripes right out of boot camp. I have a video of that too.

EE:

There's not a lot of privacy in boot camp. How did you adjust to that?

BG:

Well, this was easy for me. Everybody takes a shower, everybody in these open showers, but the last one in has to clean the showers. So I was always the last one. I didn't mind though, and because I didn't mind, Master Sergeant DeLinsky got mad and she had me wash the floors, with a toothbrush. So I did that and I was singing hymns. So she got angry at that because I was not supposed to enjoy it, but I would just smile and keep right on going.

EE:

You were aggravating her, the fact that she couldn't aggravate you, it sounds like.

BG:

That's it. She got very angry because I wouldn't talk back to her again.

EE:

When did the day start for you? Were all your instructors women, by the way?

BG:

No, we had one man later for drills, et cetera. I have a picture of that too with the names on it.

EE:

I know the day is part drill, part classwork.

BG:

A lot of classwork.

EE:

Did you have much free time during the day?

BG:

No. No, there was always something to do, not only the schooling, but the drilling, and cleaning the barracks, washing and ironing our clothes, and spit shining our shoes.

EE:

Besides the personality conflict, what was the toughest thing in basic for you?

BG:

It was knowing that I couldn't contradict Sergeant DeLinsky. [laughter] I was trying to prove I was right and she was trying to prove she was right. Also, the gas chamber [drill] and crawling under wires and they said a machine gun was firing over our heads so keep down.

EE:

You learned quickly that right and wrong was all a matter of rank.

BG:

In other words, just keep your mouth shut.

EE:

Right. You were there for what? Six, eight weeks?

BG:

Eight weeks.

EE:

Did you have to go to a special school, a parachute rigger school?

BG:

Oh, I missed one. Jacksonville, Florida. I was stationed there too. That was the first one out of boot camp.

EE:

Is that where you went to learn parachute rigging?

BG:

No, Lakehurst, New Jersey, for parachute rigger school. At Jacksonville, Florida—I've got pictures of that too—we had to go to school, we had to put a plane that was on fire out, and there was only two of us, Joan and myself. We were the only girls on that one. And we had to put the fire out. They also had us take a 30-automatic Brownie machine gun, take it apart, put it together, and fire it. Now, I got it together but I put the magazine with bullets in backwards and a sergeant pushed me away before I fired it. And I turned around and I looked at him and I said, “Well, this would be a good for civilian, won't it?” That was down in Jacksonville, Florida, but I graduated.

EE:

What in the world? Were you going to be using a firearm? Why were they training you in that?

BG:

That's what I asked. I got a graduation picture of that one too. I didn't know you'd be interested in that.

EE:

What's interesting is, this was a class with men and women?

BG:

There was only Joan and myself—

EE:

In about thirty?

BG:

Yes, there were a lot of us.

EE:

One of the things that is happening at the time you are in the service is that in Washington [D.C.] they have decided they don't really know what to do with women in the service, like you probably found out. And they're actually cutting the number of women they're allowing in the service. They figure they're going to scale them back out. It's difficult figuring out what to do, and that's why I asked you how many women were instructors for you, and how much special treatment did you get?

BG:

It was not all men, in Jacksonville, Florida, many WAVES [Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service—U.S. Navy] and Women Marines on different schooling, et cetera.

EE:

You were there for about six weeks?

BG:

About something like that. I'd have to look in the pictures to get the dates.

EE:

Okay. What was the name of that school called?

BG:

Naval Air Technical Training Center. NATTC. I don' think it's in existence now.

EE:

Then you went to Lakehurst.

BG:

Then I went to Lakehurst, New Jersey.

EE:

You were stationed with other Women Marines in the barracks?

BG:

Yes, and mostly navy.

EE:

Okay. How many women were there in one barracks?

BG:

I don't know, but there was only one floor. To me it seemed like quite a few.

EE:

Okay. Maybe forty?

BG:

Could be. Maybe more.

EE:

What was your day-to-day job, and what were your hours?

BG:

Well, I can remember getting up in the morning, stand for inspection, and then sent off for work, and we went to school to be a parachute rigger. The navy women, most of them, that was Emily [unclear] and myself was the women parachute rigging for the Marines, and the rest of the navy women went for weather schooling, et cetera.

EE:

So how long were you doing that particular training for that, on a six-week cycle?

BG:

I can't say. I don't remember.

EE:

You women, where did you all go on the weekend, for free time?

BG:

Mostly everybody—I went out a few times with dancing because I love to dance. But when they started drinking, I didn't drink and I don't care for the drinking, so most of my weekends I volunteered at the naval officer's maternity ward. Because I had some training, so I figured I might as well use it to the best of my ability, instead of going out, since I didn't care for the drinking. I went bowling once in a while, or a movie. I remember—

EE:

Were most of the things on base, or did you go into town?

BG:

Most of my time I stayed on base. When I was on the maternity ward, and actually I didn't have that much nurse's training, I remember an officer saying to me, “If Mrs. Maiden has any sudden pains, get her on the delivery table immediately and call me.” Okay, that sounded like an easy instruction. So Mrs. Maiden had her sudden pains, I got her on the delivery table, the water broke, and I crowned the baby. I'd seen it. I'd never done anything before, but I'd seen it so much that I'd seen them go right through that procedure. They had a little round disc, you know, when you cut the cord, then you have to get the suction and clean the baby off. Well, I had gone through getting the baby all cleaned up, and I'm heading back for the afterbirth when all of a sudden a doctor said, “Well! Congratulations!” and I looked at her and I looked at the baby and I passed out cold.

EE:

You were handling it before you knew what you were doing, and then, “Oh my God, what have I done?” [laughter]

BG:

It was a shock. But I enjoyed it being there. To me, it was a lot of fun. I had people to talk to. Now, I don't think this was right, but I think it was a lot of fun. When the officers would have a party with their wives, I came in civilian clothes, but I was invited to their party, and I enjoyed talking to them all.

EE:

I guess the NCO [non-commissioned officers] clubs, things like that, I guess was that mostly around having a drink?

BG:

Yes, the clubs, they mainly had drinks, not too much eating or anything like that. Not the officer's club, they had food also.

EE:

You worked first shift, nine to five?

BG:

Yes, I had to go in in the morning to parachute rigger school, then it was nighttime. I think I went to the nursing one about, maybe about seven at night. I'd go from seven to twelve.

EE:

In your day-to-day work, how did the folks you worked with treat you and other women?

BG:

Well, they sort of didn't care too much for Joan and I. Because Joan was about as big as I am. And Joan was the same, the two of us would go in, and we liked to do the same things. We dated navy men but there weren't that many Marines men around. So sometimes the navy women would be a little rough on us and I had a bunk mate, Noreen LaPearl, and we got along real well and are still friends to this day.

EE:

They didn't like you dating navy men?

BG:

I don't know what they didn't like. They just got a little bit rough. In fact I still have a badge that the navy, I think it was the officer, somebody, gave me a badge that put me in control of other Wwomen Marines. I still have that badge today. I'll show it to you later. And they didn't like that either.

EE:

[laughter]

BG:

But, we did pretty good. And that was until that [unclear] a jumping time to test the parachutes; one didn't open.

EE:

One thing I've read about during the fifties with the Women Marines is that they were very particular about a look.

BG:

Oh yes, definitely, definitely. You had to be sharp, and everything had to be just so. You had to have the crease in your outfit. You had to be immaculate.

EE:

Even going into town?

BG:

No, we went in civilian clothes mostly.

EE:

I think Revlon made a particular shade of red to match the gray—

BG:

I don't know about that. I never used make-up or lipstick.

EE:

At some point Revlon came out with this shade of red that looks like the beret—

BG:

And we still have that today, the color on our covers. We still have that in the Women Marines Association.

EE:

You were telling me before we started that there was an accident that shook you up pretty bad.

BG:

Well, once we learned how to pack parachutes. But then in order to prove this you had to jump in the chute you packed, a free-fall jump. I've got pictures of that too. What it was, you had to jump out at the free-fall to prove you trusted the chute you packed. You fall at 176 feet per second, twenty miles an hour at top speed, I think we were three miles up. So we all had to jump out and pull our own chutes, you know, ripcord. And I had jumped out, it was fine. I landed. But the last one was, I think it was Dean McDaniel, no he was the one who was killed in Korea—well, this boy jumped out—I was going with him, I know that—and he, his chute didn't open, it wasn't packed right, it didn't open, and he freaked out all the way to the ground, but he hit trees in the meantime, which ripped off an arm. He later died. After that I don't remember too much. They just told me that I ran all the way back to the barracks, which we had to take a bus out, I ran all the way back to the barracks and locked myself in the room and refused to come out.

EE:

So, had you and Joan packed all the chutes?

BG:

No, you packed your own chute to jump free-fall.

EE:

Everybody packed their own chutes, is that what happened?

BG:

Yes, to be a parachute rigger, you had to pack your own chute.

EE:

Had this fellow packed his own chute?

BG:

Yes, and that was the problem. But I think the chutes all should have been more inspected as you pack them, but I don't know. So that's what happened there, and that's when I was sent Cherry Point [Marine Corps Air Station, North Carolina].

EE:

Did you ask to be switched?

BG:

No, I didn't ask to be.

EE:

And at Cherry Point, you were telling me you were doing line type?

BG:

Linotype. At an aircraft building.

EE:

Were there a lot of Women Marines officers?

BG:

Oh yes. Yes. They had their own quarters.

EE:

So unlike Linhurst where you—

BG:

Lakehurst.

EE:

Lakehurst, where you sort of felt out, just the two of you, with all these navy women, there was a lot more sense of camaraderie once you got to Cherry Point.

BG:

It was a lot rougher.

EE:

Was it really?

BG:

Yes. It was a lot rougher. Everybody, what I didn't like was, everybody acted like they were the one in charge. It should have been more of a teamwork, as far as I was concerned.

EE:

You know, that's something the military does to everybody that comes in, they take you no matter—I mean this is why I can take people who are currently living in North Carolina and get stories of women working around the world because the service takes you and basically shakes you up with a whole bunch of other people and you're mixed in with people from all different parts of the country, all different walks of life, all different experiences and values, and it sounds like your experience with that was not as pleasant as you would have hoped.

BG:

Not Cherry Point. The women up at Lakehurst, New Jersey, the navy girls—the one way we did get along a lot better, they were more down to earth, even though they didn't like some of the things that were going, but being out at Cherry Point, it seemed like everybody wanted to be the top dog.

EE:

I assume at Lakehurst your CO [commanding officer] was a man. Was the CO at Cherry Point a man or a woman?

BG:

I think it was a woman named Jean Fleming. She was the head of the Marines at that time, the Women Marines. The men resented the women Marines down there, too.

EE:

Did they?

BG:

So much happened at that base. After a while I realized it was different from the others I had been on.

EE:

I know during World War II there was a resentment based on the fact that, you know, that phrase “Free a man to fight,” the women coming in meant that you were going to the front and literal danger. Was a similar thing going on during Korea? People worried about the same problem, the women were coming in taking the jobs from men?

BG:

That could be. I know that there was a lot of resentment down there. I mean, I couldn't understand it because we were all Marines and stand by each other as a team.

EE:

Something else that happened, and I don't know if it was still the case ten years later, when the services started having women as part of the regular forces, a lot of innuendo that was not very nice about the character of women who joined the service. Was there still that kind of scuttlebutt in the fifties?

BG:

A lot of women that should not have been in the service were there. A lot of things that I had seen and heard did not give us very much honor there as far as I was concerned.

EE:

Do you think they were not as tough on the women entering the service or—

BG:

Oh no, they were tough. They were tough on the women. But when you even lived up to their specifications, they still were inconsiderate. There were two women at Cherry Point who got raped. One girl hung herself. There was a lot that went on. That's the part that I don't really remember too much about.

EE:

This is a stressful environment to go into for women to be—You say, you go in wanting to be part of a team, and when you're not welcomed as part of a team it's very unnerving. You're there to help. You want—

BG:

Right. We were there to serve our country and help each other and stand beside each other. Something happened at Cherry Point that—it freaked me out. They should have had more concentration on what was going on in the women's barracks.

EE:

More supervision, maybe?

BG:

I don't know if you'd call it supervision. They should have had more classes on teamwork.

EE:

Yes, they do that nowadays, I think, especially as—I guess one of the things that's different and I just thought I'd ask you about it because the kinds of work that women were allowed to do has changed so much from the beginning where it might have been clerical work in the office to just, what was it, Christmas ago we had the bombing of Baghdad and they sent the first combat woman pilot into action. How do you feel about that change? Are there certain jobs in the military that ought to be off-limits to women, or should women be open—?

BG:

I'll give you my straight opinion. Number one: for example, say you and I are out on the battlefield. Yes, I can drive a jeep or a car, whatever. I can carry the rifle and I can march just as good as a man. But, now you and I are going in combat. But I am a woman. And you are a man. And this happens to be a time when the woman cannot handle things too well. You know, the woman's time? So all of a sudden I can't carry the rifle or anything. What choice do you have? Continue into battle? Or take me back? That's a very, very hard decision.

EE:

That's a very practical problem.

BG:

I can understand what women can do. We can do a lot of things. But to be in actual battle. No. Women have different feelings about the men, as the men with the women. Would you come up against me with a rifle, and want to kill me? I think you're going to think twice, that I might be your sister or your something like that. I mean, you're a lot closer to the female than you are to the male. So I do not approve of women going into battle. I think it's very wrong.

EE:

When you were in service, was there ever any time that you were afraid?

BG:

Only at Cherry Point. Anything else, no, I could do anything. I felt so proud when I hear about these guys who fought and I knew about some of them coming back from the war and went to the hospital to visit the people, and when I see some of the boys coming back with the wounds, like no arms and no legs, and I wanted to help so much. And some of the women say, “That's not your job. Mind your own business. Don't go to the hospital.” I couldn't understand their feelings.

EE:

You come from a family where military service was obviously valued and meant a lot to your household. Some people when they look at the fifties and said, you know, after all the patriotic fervor of the forties people just wanted to move on and not worry about the military stuff. They were building their homes, having, you know, the suburbs, enjoying life, and patriotism may not have been in the sense of the military as high as [unclear]. How was your experience with patriotism during the time there? Did people around you think what you were doing was patriotic?

BG:

I don't think so. I remember even when I came home on leave, I walked down the street wearing my uniform so proudly, you know, so proudly, and even at that time people looked at me and said, “What are you, some big shot or something? What are you trying to prove?” And that used to hurt, too.

EE:

[?] respect for the uniform and what it stood for, even then.

BG:

Even then, a lot of people did not have respect for especially the women in service. I could question that on people today.

EE:

You were at Cherry Point and you then had a medical discharge.

BG:

I was sent to Camp Lejeune [North Carolina], the hospital. Other things had happened at Cherry Point and it was very hard for me to take some of this stuff, so they sent me to Camp Lejeune and they questioned me about what was going on at Cherry Point. Well, I knew, because I was beat up at Cherry Point. What they call a “blanket party” [BG adds: they throw a blanket over your head and beat you up and they threw me in a dumpster used for garbage] and when I went to Camp Lejeune some of the girls came in and as they walked by my room they said, “Open up your mouth, you're going to be dead.” Well, that scared me, so all I asked when I was brought before the medical board was, “Can I be transferred? I don't want Cherry Point, [and] not Camp Lejeune. Can I go someplace else?” Instead of that, they discharged me.

EE:

What you were trying to do was just avoid the troublemakers, and instead they just said—

BG:

“Your problems have taken a toll on you and it's best to discharge you.”

EE:

Made it as if you were the troublemaker, basically—

BG:

Well, you see—no, I think they thought I wasn't tough enough to handle it.

EE:

Which amazes me that you're so active and take such pride given that which could have been a very, very bitter experience for you, but you didn't treat it that way.

BG:

No, because look what happened—Parris Island was great; Jacksonville, Florida; Lakehurst, New Jersey. I enjoyed all this, and I knew that things could be different. But the thing is, is that what was going on at Cherry Point included officers, and some of the civilians that were causing all these problems also. A lot of problems down there. Lots of problems. Which I've wiped out of my mind. I don't really want to say what all the problems are because I can feel myself now getting upset.

EE:

What's inspiring is that you took this service experience and had made the best parts of it into a continuing blessing in your life and for others that you value—

BG:

Right!

EE:

—what was good about it and cause other folks—. You were out in '55 I guess it was, was when you came away? And how soon after that did you get pulled back into veterans' groups? I'm curious.

BG:

I was put in the VA [Veterans Administration] mental hospital in Brocton, Massachusetts, from May to October 1955. I would say it was maybe about two years at the most and I joined the DAV [Disabled American Veterans], MCL [Marine Corps League], NOLA, WMA [Women Marines Association], to see if I could help others who may have had the same experience.

EE:

Okay. So you did it in much less time.

BG:

I had—[requests that tape be turned off]

EE:

—fifty-five. Eisenhower is president. You're back home in Massachusetts. You were telling me before we started this that for a while you were in Connecticut taking care of your grandmother, I believe.

BG:

Yes, Avon, Connecticut. That wasn't in the beginning though. I went to take care of her afterwards. I was home for a while. I tried odd jobs, and the first job I got in electronics was, I'd bought a radio for six dollars. It didn't work. I took it to a man and he said he'd charge me six dollars to repair it, and I told him, “This is ridiculous.” And so I went to a friend who I knew did electronics and all it was only a loose wire. He soldered it back and the radio worked. And he was an engineer at Browning Manufacturing and that's where I got my first electronics experience in Winchester, Massachusetts.

EE:

Now, was Browning, is that where you wrote this book on—

BG:

No, no.

EE:

Where'd you go after Browning then?

BG:

After Browning I went to Anelex in Boston. In order to learn more, on my time off, like at nighttime, I would go to, you know, where there they repaired old TVs. I'd say that you have a shop and you know a lot about transformers. You teach me about transformers and I'll work for nothing. When I learned all I could from you, I'd get another job—it wasn't a job, it was volunteering—with someone who could teach me all about diodes, resistors and printed circuit boards and everything and all about how they worked. I did this for about a year, but I worked at Anelex during the day. And that's where I got my experience also in electronics.

EE:

Then you went to California after—

BG:

Let's see, it was Browning,—

EE:

Then Anelex?

BG:

Then I went to Gray Manufacturing in Hartford, Connecticut. That's where I took care of my grandmother and worked also.

EE:

Gray is where you wrote the book [unclear]?

BG:

Gray Manufacturing, yes, but not at work. The book is called The Wiring and Soldering Art and Practice Precision.

EE:

Unfortunately, it's like a lot of people find out, they write something when it's on company time, the company takes your work, doesn't give you the credit for it.

BG:

That's not true. They gave me seventy-five dollars for the rights of it.

EE:

That's not bad [unclear].

BG:

I could use the seventy-five. I never thought about the book. I had a friend who held a soldering iron the way I wanted her to do and then made a drawing to show people what I was saying. So we put drawings in there too.

EE:

So you were working in, basically, I guess the shop at these different places, the shop floor?

BG:

Yes. Assembler.

EE:

Even when you went to California, you did the same kind of work?

BG:

Right. That was my first job for instructor.

EE:

This was when you were at General Dynamics?

BG:

No, it was an aircraft plant by Long Beach, California, where I found out they were using the book I wrote and they bought for Gray Manufacturing. And they had a layoff, but they sent me down to—I went down to San Diego to see what it was like, and I liked it down there better than I did L.A., and I moved to El Cajon, California, and I got my job there at Stromberg Data-graphics. That was in El Cajon.

EE:

That was where you were lent out I guess to General Dynamics?

BG:

They were doing computers at Stromberg. I worked quite a long time, and then they started loaning me out to General Dynamics to teach others.

EE:

Were you working at Stromberg through the sixties, then?

BG:

Yes, I think late fifties, sixties. I can't remember the exact dates. And I was at Wave Tech after that.

EE:

Now what's at Wave Tech?

BG:

Wave Tech is also electronics, in Balboa Park, California. That's the pictures I showed you.

EE:

That's also the San Diego area?

BG:

Yes, Balboa Park, north of San Diego.

EE:

When was it that you moved from California back to Florida?

BG:

That was in the seventies, about 1979.

[End Tape 1, Side A—Begin Tape 1, Side B]

EE:

You're in Florida taking care of your mom. This would have been from the early seventies, I guess, when you got down to Tampa?

BG:

No, Valrico, Florida, and not the early but the late seventies. I think it was '78.

EE:

You were in San Diego as late as '74.

BG:

I think it was about '78 I went. The other reason was, I was in California, I took care of a woman with Lou Gehrig's Disease. I kept her from going in a nursing home. And when she died, she was close to death and we had to put her in a nursing home. I couldn't stand to be around someone who was dying, and I knew my mother needed help, so I just moved out of San Diego and went home.

EE:

You were working again with Lake Conis Field[?] when you come back?

BG:

No. What happened to the woman with Lou Gehrig's Disease, I cared for her and her husband. Her husband was in a nursing home, and I got under a lot of stress, so I just applied for Social Security disability. And by doing this I was also able to take care of my mother after the woman died.

EE:

So you had enough income you didn't need to worry about income but you could take care of her time-wise. You showed me a picture earlier of you and her and the veterans group that you named after your dad.

BG:

That was done in 1980. I started a group called The William L. Gove Senior Veterans, mainly because there were no organizations that really wanted the Vietnam vets. There was a problem going on with Agent Orange, so I decided to have a veterans organization where everybody would accept each other as a family and help each other, and I really put a strict thing on this, and we had quite a few going, mainly in Florida. We had one that started little chapters. But that's how that got started.

EE:

We were talking before the interview [unclear] just heard about how women veterans were have such a hard time getting acknowledgement and getting benefits [unclear]. What do you think about groups like VFW [Veterans of Foriegn Wars] and the [American] Legion and how they treat women?

BG:

Well, I think it was about the same way they never really fought for women's rights. See, most of the laws were on men's problems, just like I talked about that battle. It was hard, they couldn't seem to distinguish. We understand that they can have problems, but we have the problem too, which were different, and that's why there was no law because even service officers didn't understand what you were trying to say to them, and I fought forty-eight years for my service connected.

EE:

So, the group that you started had no affiliation with either of these two.

BG:

No, it was a separate one all together.

EE:

But you have been involved with Women Marines Association now for some time, have you not? How did you get started with that group? In Florida?

BG:

First in California.

EE:

What's the best thing you could tell other veterans about being part of Women Marines Association?

BG:

You will find there were other women who had approximately the same problems you had but they don't want to speak out, and in order to help yourself you must talk about it to somebody. You cannot talk about it to a man, a male psychiatrist, psychologist, because they do not understand. What I also found out, and I brought some women with me, we went to the Saint Petersburg VA Hospital for Vietnam veterans and I talked with some of the guys on the problems—I can give you one instance if you want to hear about it.

This one Marine, he was sitting in the fetal position on the floor, he wouldn't speak, he wouldn't do anything. Well, I just stood up and I said, “You know, I think that you guys all have been in the same problems together.” See, I was remembering how I did. I said, “You've all been through the war together. You're all in here for the same reason, because you all know each other. You may not have been in the same place, same time, [but] you know each other now. And in order to do something, you have to start talking to each other.” “Well, the doctors don't understand, the nurses—” I said, “Naturally they don't. They weren't there. You were.” So my first thing was, who was getting discharged soon? A young man said, “I am.” I said, “Fine. You're the doctor. Stand up front. You guys tell him. Talk with him.”

Then we noticed this guy inside in the fetal position, and he wouldn't talk, he wouldn't do anything. And they said, “Well.” They challenged me. And they said, “If you think you're so smart, let's see what you can do with him.” Well.

I went up to him and I said, “Well, well.” This may not sound very nice, but it worked. I said, “Well, well, look at this. We have a Marine here. Let me tell you something, buddy. I'm a better Marine than you ever thought of being.” And I insulted him right and left. “You're not even a man. Look at you sitting there doing nothing.” And I worked on him for about maybe twenty minutes, half an hour or more, and finally I said, “Well,” and I knew that if I couldn't get through to him then I won't. I said, “You know something, I don't think you're even worth talking to, Buster. Sit there! You're not even a Marine. I am the Marine, kid.” And I turned around and walked away, very slowly. And when I did, I heard, “Hmmf.” And I turned around and walked back. I mean, I was shocked to hear this. I turned around and walked back, and I said, “Yeah, what do you want, boy?” He hadn't talked in so long. I said, “Oh, you think you're a Marine, huh? Well, if you're a Marine, get off that floor.”

And actually he was in that position so long, that his muscles and everything were stiff. So I said, “Would you like to be put in a chair?” You know, grunting, you know, naturally, because he couldn't talk. So I called some of the guys to help me get him in a wheelchair or something, you know, because he always wanted to be on that floor. So then the guys came to help, and the guy goes to me, “[grunt]” to me, saying “You.” Me. [Meaning, you pick me up.] How am I going to do this? Well, I got the men to bring the chair right beside him. And naturally with his hands like that, how are you going to get him up? So I get his hands gripped round by my neck, which he almost choked the daylights out of me, and I got up against him, and I had the guys get on the side, sort of give him a push, you know, and between the three of us, we got him into that chair. I mean, he was like this, too. It wasn't even easy to keep him in the chair, you had to tie him in the chair. And I said, “Now, you're trying to prove something to me, aren't you?” He goes moaning again. And I said, “Okay. Then what you've got to do, and you're going to take orders from me until I'm ready to take orders from you, boy. You're going to go to physical therapy. You're going to learn if you can talk to me, then I will listen, but right now you grunt, and I don't listen to grunts.” I said, “I want to see a man.”

Well. It was hard. I kept going back and forth to the ward. I would say it was maybe eight months later I went back and this boy was standing up with crutches, you know, he still had to be helped up, and he says, “Look who's here.”

And I said, “Oh,”—you know, I knew his name by then.

And he said, “You see me now?”

I said, “I see you now.”

He said, “You proud of me?”

I said, “Yes, sir!” and I stood up straight and I saluted the man.

And he said, “Thank you. And I'll be better soon.”

I said, “You go out and prove you can do it. That's what you need. You've got to prove to the others, that you could have stayed there the rest of your life, but now you're a man. Prove it!”

And he did great. I felt so proud about that one, you know? But as one would get discharged, another would take over, as “doctor.” You'd get discharged, so then we'd appoint the next one that was due to be discharged.

EE:

You have a wonderful mix of experiences where you—

BG:

“She's got good common sense, doesn't she?” Yes, I had a lot of common sense. I am a survivor.

EE:

Yes. I mean her mom may have wanted her to be a nurse, but I'm telling you, she's a natural care-giver, because all these experiences that you've had, whether or not you're getting paid for it, that's what you're doing, you're taking care of people.

BG:

There were things to do that no money in the world can pay you.

EE:

Probably the most important things in life are that way. A lot of people that I talk with, they come from military families like yours, but you know, we have enjoyed peacetime fortunately for some time. Fewer and fewer households have people in their households that are in the military. If you were to talk to a group of people who have no connection to the military, what would you say to them is the biggest misconception about—

BG:

Male or female?

EE:

Well, either one, or both.

BG:

Okay, the first thing I'd say to both of them, is if anything happens to you at all, and you go to any infirmary or anything else, be sure to get a copy of the records, because you're going to need them when you're older. Two: Do not be disillusioned. What you might expect now and what you would see then are two different things. If you can't take orders, do not go at all. If you really know that we're trying to keep the country safe, then that's the time to go in, but be sure of what you're doing. Don't go for profit, don't go for high recognition, I don't care if you stay a private all your life, just do the best you can do. But I think you'd better talk it over with friends and people who have been in the service first. Because they could tell you their experiences, and then without the knowledge of what can happen, how can you fight it? If you're on the lookout, then you'll be able to get help.

I have a little saying quickly for this: If I told you there's a hole in the road and you ran out and fell in, whose fault is it? Yours. If you go up to this road and feel around and there's no hole there, then you can come back and call me a liar. But you don't call me a liar first. And that's what I try to get across to people.

EE:

Women. If a young girl came to you today and said, “I'm thinking about joining the Marines—”.

BG:

I've had them do this.

EE:

What do you tell them?

BG:

First of all, I tell them how rough it is, and I do have some videos on the modern-day boot camp, and I like to show them that first and tell them what they're going to have to be going through. So don't think it's you're standing there in glamour and get all you want, because you're in there to learn, you're in there to become a strong and dependable person. I have some videos on that. It's a little bit different than us. In our boot camp, we did not carry rifles then. I don't know why they gave me other weapons like the machine gun to take apart and fire in Jacksonville, North Carolina.

EE:

Boot camp experiences are a lot more alike, both genders, nowadays, isn't it?

BG:

And I don't approve of it. I don't approve of women and men being in the same barracks. How can you concentrate? If you and I were in the same barracks and I think you were really nice and you thought I was nice—

EE:

And we're eighteen to twenty.

BG:

Yes, then there could be problems.

EE:

[laughter] Hard to remember those days, but yes, I do remember that feeling.

BG:

So I do not think that women should be in the same barracks, especially any boot camp or anything else. Women are not the same as men. Now when the people start getting this across, we're not all women, we're not all men, we are both, built separate. Different muscles, the whole idea, the brain, everything is different. So we've got to treat each other different. I'm not going to out and beat up you, and I don't think you ought to try to beat up me.

EE:

You lived during a time, not just in the service, but in all walks of life, women are doing so many more different kinds of jobs these days. A lot of people they look and they say, “Well, if you want to see where all that started, you look in the services, because it was in the services that women started doing jobs that had always been done by men, whether it was in wartime emergency and then later on in a day-to-day basis.” Do you think that's an accurate statement, that the military helped pave the way for women's rights?

BG:

Yes, in a way. Joan Furey who's in the Vietnam vets, she's now head of the [Center for] Women Veterans in Washington, D.C., she stood up for the women and she [unclear] in 1993 for women in the service and military. She's the one who had put out many films about it and I'll tell you, I think she's a fantastic person. Never met her, but just having the talks between us, you know, through mail. And if there were more women that would stand up—I mean, we shouldn't consider ourselves equal with men or getting the men's—the men should get more honor than what some of them get, too. I've seen this. I've seen some of the men that have so many wounds and problems. I go to the VA hospital a lot myself. It seems like they're ignored and I don't like this. The hospital's got to be changed.

EE:

The VA doesn't get a high rating from a lot of people I talk to. Like you say, you have to ask for it, and you figure that as part of the [unclear] they'd come telling you what you need, but too many times you have to ask for it.

BG:

Well, to give you an example, about a year ago, and this is how it works out, I told the doctor I was having a pain and I knew it had to be the gall bladder, pancreas, or kidney. They put me in the hospital for one day and checked out if I was a diabetic. I was not a diabetic. I went to a private doctor two days later and he took tests and found out I had a very bad inflamed gall bladder. Now, if they had checked that out first they would have found out. But they didn't. You see, they presume something different than—

EE:

When, if I were to ask you to name the song or the movie that comes to mind when you think of your service time, what would it be? Is there a song or a movie that when you hear it or see it, it makes you think—

BG:

I'm always standing up at attention when they have the Marine Corps hymn.

EE:

Which because of your veterans involvement happens on a regular basis.

BG:

And there's woman veterans [unclear] “United States Marine Corps, we are proud to still act the way we did then. Proud of who we are and always will be.”

EE:

The men, “Semper Fi” is a special phrase for the men. With the passing of time and with all the friends that you've made in the service, after being discharged from the service, has that phrase come to mean more to you over the years?

BG:

Yes, I have learned a lot more from former Marines also. I have friends who are generals now, as you saw. I have friends of all rank. And I have talked to them and they have asked questions similar to what you're saying, “What do you think about the women?” and I've been telling them and they said, “We've got to think about it,” because they still have pull somewhere, and they need help also. And this is my main reason of keeping in contact with them. They'll ask me and I'll tell them, exactly, because I'll just come right out and tell them just how I feel about it. I don't know if that answered your question.

EE:

Oh, that did, that did. I have the task of doing an interview with you. It's not something that I relish [unclear] in an hour's time I have to go through your whole life, because nobody could go through their life in an hour. But you have done an excellent job of giving me a sense of where it was that you were, that got you into the service, and how you felt during the time. Is there anything about your service experience and what it meant to you going through it and then afterwards that I haven't asked you about that maybe you'd like to say something about?

BG:

Okay. The old saying is, you're never a former Marine, I mean an ex-Marine, you're always a former Marine, because be proud, be proud of what we're doing, and be proud of yourself. I've always tried to bring this wherever I go. Like, I make something, I've got to be proud of it. And then when I give it to someone, I feel very proud when they say, “Thank you” and the gleam in their eye. I became a service officer, for that one main purpose too. I became a service officer many years ago and that main reason was, to help people get help. I know how to fill out their claims, I know how to talk to them as woman to woman. If you were a service officer as a man and you talked to me, I'm not going to come out and say things, if I'm only younger, you know. As you get older sometimes it's different, but when you're younger, I've had many of them talk to me outright. And even I've got some of the young men now, to help with their cases: “And what do you care? What's it to you?” they go, you know. I say, “What's it to me? It's because things happened to me, too. And if we don't stick together as a family”—I mean I do service officer's work for every branch, but I say, “If we don't all stick together as a family, we're never going to get ahead.”

EE:

Are you doing the service officer work now?

BG:

No, not as much as I did. But one man I helped many years ago called me three years later and thanked me for helping him get his service connected.

EE:

Where would you do that through, the local hospitals, or through the agencies?

BG:

Private. Because it's through the Marine Corps League. I'm a service officer in the Marine Corps League. I was a service officer for the DAV also. Women and men veterans. So, you know, it's actually private. But you've got to be elected as a service officer and go to a school to become a service officer.

EE:

So that's something that you volunteer your time to do.

BG:

Right. Because I think that, like Joan Furey, if I didn't keep asking for help years ago, then a lot of people wouldn't have gotten some help. Everybody's got to put out their hand, I mean, you can either accept it or you can slap it. But at least I'm going to try. And I can't get discouraged by your answer or somebody else's, because maybe the one that I talk to may get very angry and say, “Well, you didn't help me with this,” or “You didn't help me with that,” and you could get discouraged and say, “Well, I don't want to be a service officer any more.” But that wasn't my case, because maybe you're the one who holds a lot more anger than someone else, and you've got to listen, you've got to listen to some of the questions. But I go beyond a little bit of the questions of what they ask, so I can get more of a profile on them. But I feel proud. I did over four hundred cases as a veteran's service officer in the MCL in I don't know how many years, and I would say about eighty five percent of them won. That made me feel like I have accomplished it.

EE:

You have been an advocate for a lot of people who didn't know they needed an advocate, probably, when they came in to you. Half of them, I guess, wouldn't know what was going on with things, but I thank you for spending a Sunday afternoon/evening here with me. And the nice thing about this is that this will be on file for folks to go back through and look for many years to come. So, as somebody who values history, thank you for helping make it today.

BG:

Well, I appreciate you for coming all this way just to talk to me. I'm not able to travel because my mother's cousin here is eighty two years old and she can't travel that much.

EE:

Well, you guys are delightful to be with today, and I thank you for letting me share your home for an hour or two.

BG:

You're welcome and appreciated, and I enjoyed talking to you.

[End of interview]