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Dorothy Williams Rogers video interview on experiences in World War II (transcript)

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View at Kansas Memory

Creator: Rogers, Dorothy

Date: October 15, 2007

Level of Description: Item

Material Type: Manuscripts

Call Number: World War II Oral Histories Project

Unit ID: 218613

Biographical sketch: For a year and a half after she graduated from high school in 1942, Dorothy Rogers worked in Holton and said she was "bored." All the men were in the service and there was nothing going on in the town so she decided to take training at KU to be an assistant in a defense plant and learned how to read blueprints. Then she decided to join the Marine Corps Women's Reserve because she like their uniforms better that the other services. In September 1944 she was called to active duty and rode a troop train from Seattle to Camp LeJuene, North Carolina where she took her basic training. It took three days on the train and she remembers how the women were all sitting around in their pajamas and robes having a talk fest, and said she was kind of embarrassed later when she found out that some of the women were officers. She had marched in band four years in high school and the sergeant made her the platoon leader in charge of marching them to meals and wherever they had to go. When they finished their training they were asked if they wanted to go to the West Coast or the East Coast. She requested the West Coast because her father was out there and was sent to Washington, D.C. to be a clerk-typist, the last thing she wanted to do. When she got there, however, she was sent to headquarters to work with a Marine that drew up floor plans for all the bases in the country. "I loved that idea; I thought that was fun!" Dorothy had learned to read blueprints at KU and had worked for three months at a defense plant in Kansas City where they built B25s so that was why they sent her to Washington. She said it was very interesting working in Washington, D.C. because other allied countries would send officers to meet with our officers and there were lots of colorful uniforms around. The embassies would hold open house and the servicemen were invited to come and never had to pay. At the barracks where she stayed she was made platoon leader for her group of 80 women and had to make sure that they were always ready for inspection. At Christmas time one year she couldn't go home because she had mess duty and a boy from Holton came by and along with two others they went out and had dinner and then rode around in a taxi cab until time for midnight mass. They sung Christmas carols while the cab driver drove them around all evening and he wouldn't take any pay because he said it was the best Christmas he ever had. The women felt like sisters, she said and there was a "great bonding just like the men have." One time she and a friend took a vacation to Florida because they got a chance to ride free on a plane but they had to ride the train back. It was really crowded because there were a bunch of sailors coming back from overseas so they had to sit on their suitcases. It was a long trip and the men talked about their families and their wives and the girls talked and sang with them. When they got off the train a Navy officer tapped her on the shoulder and said, "I just want to congratulate you girls because you conducted yourselves like ladies on that whole trip. And you entertained those men and they can feel good about themselves. I just thought your behavior was outstanding!" Dorothy says she has never forgotten that. When President Roosevelt died, the girls that were over 5'7" or 5'8" were expected to volunteer to march in the procession, so she volunteered and was very proud of it. She wrote to her Mother about it and always wished she could see a film of it but never saw one with the Women Marines in it. She was in Washington until May, 1946 and then returned home.

Summary: Dorothy Williams Rogers enlisted in the Women Marines in 1944 and served until 1946. After training at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina, she was stationed in Washington, D. C. for the rest of her military service. She worked in an office that dealt with building plans. She was born in Wichita, Kansas, on March 13, 1924, but her family moved to Holton when she was a child. She graduated from Holton High School in 1942. Her parents separated when she was a child and her mother's family was from Holton. Her husband was in the Navy during WWII and his interview is item 218614. She was interviewed by Suzette McCord-Rogers on Oct 15, 2007. The 2005 Kansas Legislature passed a bill funding the WWII Veterans Oral History grant program. This transcript is from one of the community institutions receiving grants. The transcript of the interview is presented here; the original video copy of the interview is available through the Doniphan County Historical Society (Troy) and through the Kansas State Historical Society.

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Title (Main title): Dorothy Williams Rogers video interview on experiences in World War II (transcript)

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019-14-04-01  DVD (2) 
019-14-04-11  Cassette Audio Tape 

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