AFRH-W Veteran Highlight – Trudy Millward
By Christine Baldwin, Librarian
Trudy Millward was born in Pennsylvania. She attended grade school in a one-room school house and ended up graduating from York Springs High School. There was no money for college, but the Hershey Company was hiring people to make K and C rations for the troops during World War 2. So Trudy got a job there. Unfortunately, due to trouble getting cocoa beans from South America, Hershey started laying off workers. Trudy and several of her friends went to the Middletown Air Base and filled out applications to work for the Civil Service. She got a job working in a warehouse, building boxes for guns and ammunition to ship overseas and sometimes even went to the flight line to check off the inventory of these boxes. While there, Trudy saw recruiting posters for women to join the services and decided to join the U.S. Navy. She had Boot Camp in the Bronx, NY and lived in apartments taken over by the Navy. Trudy remembers taking the troop train to Oklahoma, where again there were special women’s dorms. She had Yeoman training there and was sent to Washington, DC to the Naval Security Station, where she worked in the Photo Lab, developing and printing confiscated Japanese film. Later, Trudy actually typed and decoded Japanese messages!
After being discharged at the end of the war, she went to the Navy Department in the Post-War Planning Office. She then attended Photography School in Philadelphia under the G.I. Bill. After graduation, Trudy went back to Middletown Air Base in the Special Services Office in charge of a newspaper for the GIs stationed there. She lived in Harrisburg and joined the Navy Reserves. Trudy was recalled to active service during the Korean Conflict and her status was changed from Yeoman to Communication Technician. She reported to Washington, DC and when asked to volunteer to go to Hawaii, Trudy said yes. It was here that Trudy learned to teletype and she took a class to recognize the Russian language as a Radio Operator. On duty one Saturday, Trudy got a phone call and a man said “Will you marry me?” “No!” she replied, “I’m not getting married and who are you?” It turns out that this man was always behind her in the inspection line and was very interested in dating her. He was her instructor for the Radio Operator class and 10 months later, she and Blaine were married in a chapel at Schofield Barracks by a Methodist Chaplain. They moved into an unfinished house and shortly after Trudy got a call that her Mother had died. She flew out on the Tiger Line with GI’s flying home and half way there the plane had to turn back with mechanical problems. On the second attempt, they got stopped at the end of the runway. Third time was a charm as Trudy flew out with Admirals and Generals! Trudy put in for a transfer back to Washington, DC and while on this bereavement leave, it came through. She checked into WAVES Quarters until her husband could get a transfer. She worked out of Arlington Hall Station. In fact, Trudy had to get permission to move out of the barracks, when Blaine reported in. Other memories include surviving a typhoon in the Philippines, avoiding being evacuated in the last minutes.
When her husband retired from the Navy, they both worked for the National Security Administration. They were stationed in Alaska, where Trudy remembers being in the famous Good Friday earthquake in 1964. When they both retired, they moved to Albuquerque, NM, where they lived for the next 30 years. Trudy has always been an active person. She learned to ice skate and golf in Alaska and square dance in New Mexico. Also, she and her husband kept a dark room in their mobile home in New Mexico for their photography. She took courses in Parliamentary Rules when she was a WAVE and used these skills for many years in different organizations. In fact she was the parliamentarian for the National Association of WAVES for 30 years. She had also written the by-laws for the Booster club. Trudy also became State President of the New Mexico Chapter of the National Association of Retired Federal Employees and was also President of New Mexico Mobile Home Owners. She also belonged to the “Young at Heart” choir. Her most enjoyable non-work trip was to The Holy Lands in 1996. Trudy came to AFRH-W in July because it’s located near family.