Ethel "Sally" Stoner Blythe
Ethel "Sally" Stoner Blythe

Ethel "Sally" Stoner Blythe

AFRH-W Resident Highlight – Ethel "Sally" Stoner Blythe
By Lori Kerns | Librarian

Ethel “Sally” Stoner Blythe was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1923. Her military heritage was engrained early on with her father and mother both serving in the Navy during WWI. Sally and her brother continued the legacy by serving in WWII. She had felt an obligation to enlist with the Army Air Corps because they were needing women to relieve the men for overseas duty.

Sally was sent to Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia for basic training. She was then sent to Sheppard Field, Texas to begin her job as a control tower operator. She stayed in the state of Texas for the three years she served. During this time she had a couple of memorable experiences. When hearing that a ship had blown up near Galveston, she volunteered to help. However, she was not allowed to help because she was a woman. She was on duty when one of the first jet planes came to Biggs Field. As the plane took off to leave, she reported fire coming out of the back of the plane. The pilot radioed back, “We’d be in a helluva mess if there wasn’t!”

While stationed at Kelly Field in San Antonio Sally met Billie, a ground to air radio operator. The couple started dating and married in 1946. When the couple found out they were expecting their first child, Sally separated, at the rank of E-4 Sgt, from the Army Air Corps to be home with the baby. Billie stayed with the Air Force and Sally followed him around the world to his duty stations raising their four children, William, Robert, Janet, and Beverly.

Sally decided to go to business college once her children were a little older. She trained to become a clerk typist. Her job as a typist included proofreading and typing textbooks at Keesler AFB on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, working in the legal department at the VA in Houston, Texas, and as a bookkeeper and payroll clerk at Clay’s Marine in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

When Billie and Sally retired, they bought an RV and traveled throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico. They eventually decided to settle down and put in to become residents at AFRH-G. They lived happily in the home until Hurricane Katrina displaced them. The couple moved to AFRH-W to await the reopening of the Gulfport Home in 2010.

In 2012, Billie passed away one month before his 90th birthday. Billie and Sally stayed happily married for 65 years, nine months, and two days. From their four children, they have numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren.

Sally’s decision to continue her family’s military heritage to our country was not only a benefit to the efforts of WWII, it also led to a happy marriage to Billie, in addition to spending her well-earned retirement at AFRH-G.