Individual stories of women who chose to serve their country voluntarily in war and peace. These stories have been sent to me by friends and relatives who are so very proud of the accomplishments of the military woman whose path has crossed theirs in some way.

1st Lt. Grace E. Stewart, US Army Nurse Corps, WWII

Dear Capt. Barb:

As her personal friend, and in daily contact with her, I would like to offer a biography for your pages of this interesting WWII Army Combat Nurse who served in England in WWII during the German blitz, and the Normandy invasion era.

Grace Evory Stewart, 1st Lt. US Army Nurse Corps, 78th and 32nd General Hospitals, WWII. England, and later until her separation, Walter Reed Army Hospital.

* Her father, an RCA civilian employee was a Japanese POW from the time Manila fell until the war ended. He was about to be executed when the US 11th Airborne jumped in, and freed him, and his American large POW group.

* Her late husband Captain Raymond, Stewart was a Company Commander of K Company 363rd Infantry Regiment, 91st Division, Italy WWII. He was injured in the spine at the battle to breach the German Gothic Line 20 miles north of Florence, Italy, and become a paraplegic for life. He passed away in the mid 70's. She has no children.

* She attended the only two known survivors of the infamous Melmady, Belgium disaster of the machine gunning of almost 200 GI's from an American artillery unit during the early days of The Battle Of The Bulge.

* At almost 82, and in excellent health. She now lives in Oklahoma.

* An Honorary Choctaw Indian, and member of the tribe Grace is actively engaged today in sponsoring disadvantage tribal members in becoming Licensed Practical Nurses. With her own resources she is responsible in recently graduating 5 young women, has 5 more enrolled in school, and plans 5 more in January 2001. The Choctaw tribe built, with bingo funds, a 25 million dollar modern medical facility. A medical ward in this hospital is to be named in her honor.

* She commissioned a prominent Oklahoma artist to paint a likeness of Sgt. Oscar G. Johnson, 363rd Infantry Regiment awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. This panting now hangs in the Greater Southwest Historical and Military Museum in Ardmore, Oklahoma. Brig. Gen. Donovan Ret. WWII, Museum Curator accepted the donation. She knew Johnson quite well.

* She was the Hostess for the 1998, 91st Division Association's Reunion at Houston, TX. almost 200 veterans attended, she knows them all. She declined to accept any reimbursement for her personal expenses for this event.

A unique and outstanding woman who seeks nothing for herself, but in this writers opinion deserves to be historically remembered.

Jim Bell Former Sergeant B Company 363rd Inf. Regt. WWII icjbbco@brightok.net

Ruby Keller, Woman Marine to Naval Officer

In 1968 or 69 (my memory is not precise) a young Woman Marine named Ruby Keller was stationed at Quantico, Va. She was a black woman from Baton Rouge. She had four years of college and when she joined the Marine Corps she was assigned as a cook. We had the show case of mess halls at Quantico because of her efforts.

When I met her she was a Corporal. She was the most refined woman I have ever met and I'm 52 years old now. She saved my life and taught me a great deal about being a lady. A true friend.

One day while at the dentist she was discussing her plight and the fact that she couldn't use her education, the dentist took an interest. About a year later she became the first woman to move from enlisted in the Marine Corps to an officer in the Navy. She made the front pages of the papers all around D.C.

I was the first one to salute her and she gave me a very special silver dollar from the 1800's. Her story and the medal along with a book of paper clippings about her career in the Navy were all sent to the Women's Memorial in Washington D.C.

I try every chance I get to tell her story. To the best of my knowledge while in the Navy she assessed the dietary qualities of Navy hospital food and helped them develop better menus.

She retired from the Navy and the last I knew was in Orlando, but I have lost touch again. Her name now is Homayssi.

Submitted by Paula Sarlls

Please note: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is displayed without profit or payment for those who have expressed an interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. Photos and images are from the National Archives, The Naval History Center, The U.S. Army, USMC, U.S. Navy, USAF, U.S. Coast Guard, the Defense Visual Information Center, The Army Nurse Corps, and the personal collections of this author. Nothing on this site is for sale nor is it a commercial venture of any kind - it is a one person page for, and about military women - by one retired military woman. Contents copyrighted 2000 by Captain Barbara A. Wilson, USAF (Ret).

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