14 Epilogue

Throughout this story I have referred to Joyce, so this would be a good time to explain just who she is. Many of you reading this know her. Those of you who don't have no doubt deduced by now that she is my wife. A bit more information, however, should be included.

Joyce is also a native Oregonian, having grown up near Oakland. Women were just as patriotic as men were and she also wanted to help in the war effort. The Armed Services had just opened their doors to women, but, unlike men, the minimum age to join was twenty. Joyce turned twenty in June 1943, and the following month got up enough courage to join the Marine Corps, being sworn in July 30th.

She was placed on home standby until being activated on September 17th, when she and eleven other young women from the Northwest were sent by train to Boot Camp at Camp Lejeune, New River, North Carolina.

Boot Camp lasted from September 22nd to November lst. Upon graduation, just as I, her first assignment was to mess duty and she was transferred to Henderson Hall, Arlington, Virginia. Her mess duty was only two weeks' duration, then she was instructed to report to the new women's barracks at the Marine Base in Quantico, Virginia. She was one of the first women to be stationed at this major East Coast base. She was assigned as a stenographer at the Post Auditor's office for the full period of her enlistment.

Joyce not only performed a necessary function, releasing a man for combat duty, but also she had the opportunity to meet a host of what she describes as "wonderful girls from all parts of the United States." Some of those people she still remains in contact with. She also had the opportunity to explore nearby Washington, D.C., and visit historic sites in the area, which she found enjoyable as well as educational.

In one aspect she beat me as she was successful in being promoted to sergeant. On V-J Day (Victory over Japan), she and a group of other women marines celebrated at the NCO club. Everyone knew they would soon be discharged and were making plans for civilian life, including passing around pictures of boy friends they were planning to marry. Joyce had my picture and passed it around stating this was the man she was going to marry. Remember, we had not even met yet. I thought we were just pen pals!

Figure 78. The future Mrs. Skinner, but then known as Joyce Elinor Thornton.

In December she was transferred to the Marine Base at San Diego for discharge. She was luckier than I, and the Separation Company had her record book so she was discharged December 20, 1945. One additional coincidence. The lieutenant who signed her discharge papers was the same one who had signed mine. She arrived home just in time for a Merry Christmas with her family.

We met for the first time a week later on New Year's Day, 1946. Her prediction was correct and we were married on August 25th of that year. Not only have we revisited most of the places where I was stationed during the war, but in 1993 we also went to Quantico. Some of the older buildings were familiar to Joyce, such as the one she had worked in. Her mess hall was still in use, but the brand new barracks she lived in now stands empty. It was posted as condemned and was scheduled for destruction. From the front of her old barracks the view of the Potomac River was still beautiful.

Figure 79. This is the barracks where Joyce used to live. It was brand new at that time, but upon our visit in 1993 it had been condemned.

One last coincidence for my story. The FBI Academy is located on the grounds at the Quantico Marine Base. While I had never been to Quantico as a Marine, because of my law enforcement career I have been to the FBI Academy on three occasions, the last time as an instructor. I was able to show this complex to Joyce as it was built after the war years.

In 1996, we celebrated our 50th Wedding Anniversary by spending two weeks in Hawaii. We were joined in this by our son, daughter-in-law, grandson and other family members. We spent the entire time on the Island of Kauai, so we were unable to visit my old camp site which is on the Big Island. However, I did take the little ivory elephant along to ensure an unscathed journey and a safe return home.

The End

Last Modified: 01/01/2024
One Man's View by Leonard E. Skinner (2001)