The Lubbock VFW honored a very special woman on Veterans Day, a woman whose service has never been officially recognized by the federal government. Her name is Catherine Royalty, and she was a member of the WAVES.
The WAVES, Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, were a division of the navy that began in July of 1942. In the first year of its existence 27,000 women volunteered to help the war effort. Lubbock teacher Catherine Royalty was one of them.
"The schools were singing patriotic songs, teams of football players were joining together and I thought I just wanted to do my part," Royalty said.
She left Lubbock in 1942 and made her way to Dallas before taking a train to New York City to begin her training.
"We trained at Hunter College in New York in the Bronx, then we were sent to Sampson - it's on Lake Geneva in upper New York - for the naval part of our training," she said.
After training, Royalty was sent to the fleet post office in San Francisco to begin work.
"We sent the letters to the right place, got the packages there. When peace was declared I was in the department called locater. We were locked into a room without windows and coded and decoded ship movements," Royalty said.
After three years of volunteering, Royalty returned to Lubbock to continue working as an English and Journalism teacher, always making sure to keep in contact with her friends.
She says she was extremely honored by the ceremony on Sunday.
"It's wonderful. It's very surprising and very humbling to get the award," Royalty said.
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