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Millie Dunn Veasey

Discussion in 'WWII Obituaries' started by The_Historian, Mar 17, 2018.

  1. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist Patron  

    Oct 26, 2003
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    Stirling, Scotland
    "When Millie Dunn Veasey joined the US military it wasn't the most auspicious of starts.
    "I didn't weigh more than 102 pounds (46kg) and didn't know how to tie my tie," she later recalled.
    But she was making history: it was 1942 and she would go on to serve in the only all-female, all-black unit in World War Two.
    After that, she would return to her native North Carolina and play a leading role in the burgeoning civil rights movement.
    Dunn Veasey died on Friday, 9 March, a little more than a month after her 100th birthday. She was one of the last surviving African-American women to have served in WW2."
    Born Millie Dunn in Raleigh, she was one of six children. Her grandparents had been born into slavery, but did not speak about it.
    In December 1942, a year after the US had joined World War Two, she saw posters - all featuring beautiful white women - encouraging women to join the military.
    At that time, few African-American men joined the Army - and it was even more unusual for an African-American woman to do so.
    "I thought to myself that if those white women can do it, so can I," she said shortly before her 100th birthday. "And besides that, my country needs me."
    Dunn Veasey went on to join the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps, based first in North Carolina then Colorado.
    By late 1944, the US military was facing a shortage of manpower and troop morale was low, with an enormous backlog of mail ensuring many had been left with no news or packages from home for years.
    First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, spurred by black activist Mary McLeod Bethune, pushed the War Department to make use of the women's corps, and a new all-black unit was formed from it: the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, also known as The Six Triple Eight.
    "It was huge," Beth-Ann Koelsch, the curator of the Women Veterans Historical Project at the University of North Carolina, told the BBC.
    "A lot of these women were very educated but the only jobs commanding officers had thought they could do were janitorial, or working in the kitchen.
    "They were not storming the ramparts, but the work that they did do was huge.""
    Obituary: The pioneering sergeant turned activist
    JJWilson likes this.

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