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 BARBARA CAROLYN KESSLER CHEW COOK

USNR, PHM1/c

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My name is Barbara Carolyn Kessler Chew Cook. I was born on May 8, 1924 in Ellensburg, WA. When I was two we moved to Seattle. I was raised in the West Seattle District, grade school, junior high and graduated in 1942.

I had a girl friend from Junior High and we thought it would be just great to join the Marine Corps Hospital Corps. Of course we found out: 1. We were too young and 2. No Hospital Corps in the Marines. So we both went to work. I started at the telephone company August 1942.

It was surprising to us how fast those two years went. On August 1st, 1944, we were sworn in the Navy but had to wait till October for boot camp. I took a military leave from the telephone company.

We left Seattle on October 1st. Of course we had a physical plus entrance exams so we were ready. It took five days by train to get to New York City, stopping all along the way to pick up other girls. The train consisted mostly of new recruits. I thoroughly enjoyed the six weeks at Hunter College. There are so many stories to tell, but not at this time.

My friend and I put in for Hospital Corps School and were very lucky to get our first choice, so off we went to Bethesda Naval Hospital in Bainbridge, Maryland. Another six weeks of extensive training and, of course, more stories. I sure learned how to give an orange a shot. Ha Ha!

We were hoping to get stationed in either Florida or California, but no such luck, we went right back to Naval Hospital Annex in Seattle.

We moved to 13th Naval District out-patient clinic in late 1945. When the war was over we were asked to extend for another year, which meant an upgrade in rate and pay. So I became a Pharmacist Mate First Class. I had done really well and each time a test was offered for a new rate, I passed.

I married a Navy man on August 19, 1946 in San Francisco. On October 27, 1946, I was discharged. My then husband was getting orders for an overseas billet, but as luck would have it, his ship went to Newport, RI. I joined him there and in January of 1948 the ship left for six months, so I went back to Seattle. I was with child, a girl was born August 1948. Two years later twin sons. We were stationed at Great Lakes, Illinois, Bainbridge, Maryland, Kodiak, Alaska, Newport, Rhode Island second time and Seattle.

After 24 years my husband and I divorced. I remarried a wonderful man to whom we have 28 years together and going on 29 real soon.

I wouldn’t give up my time in the WAVES for all the water in the oceans. It was a glorious time. One of my sons retired as a Lt. Commander three years ago.

We now live in our 32-foot motor home full-time. My husband retired from the telephone company, after 37 years, in 1983. We lived in Winthrop, Washington and in 1990 we started the life of NOMADS. We winter in Desert Hot Springs, California, and summer in the Seattle area. Due to our age and health we are not traveling as much as we once did. I am sorry I don’t have any pictures, they are in storage in Seattle.

I almost forgot, I have three grown grandsons, with wives, no babies as yet. . . I enjoy the White Caps and of course the newsletters I receive from the unit.


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