Women on the Warfront: GJ Woman Shares Her WWII Story

By: Jessica Zartler Email
By: Jessica Zartler Email

More than 250,000 women served in World War II breaking barriers and making way for future generations of girls in uniform.

Lorna Jean Cooper was 18-years-old and living on a farm in Iowa when she enlisted.

Fighting back tears, she said, "I signed up for the Navy because my brother was a prisoner of war in Italty."

Her brother, Edgar, escaped but touched by his experience, she left on her own.

"I was excited and since it was my first time away from home I was kind of scared."

Cooper was a WAVE, Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service. She was stationed in Pearl Harbor just three years after it was bombed.

"We did what we had to do. We were there to serve and we served to the best of our ability."

She worked on base as a switchboard operator from sun up to sun down for a year until the news of victory came.

"It came over the radio first and then the switchboard lit up."

The war over, she headed home to her husband who had returned from the Army. They had been seperated while he did his duty and she did hers.

When asked what it was like to be with her husband again she said, "Wild!"

63 years later her black hair has turned gray but her eyes and smile are the same as they were when she was 18.

"I'm proud to think that I could serve my country."

On this Veteran's Day she's hoping for peace.

"I would hope the wars would be over, believe me I want them over."

But she says if she was 18 again and the call of duty came, her decision would be the same.

"If I were younger I would go back in, in a heartbeat."

Lorna Jean Cooper says leaving the farm to serve her country was something she will always remember and she hopes everyone will remember the veterans of her generation.


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