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Page 52
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VVAW Member Ages Well

By Joe Miller

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On November 28th, we mark the 100th birthday of one of VVAW's oldest members and supporters. Eleanor M. Wayman was born in Chicago in 1916, one of four siblings (an older brother and sister and a younger sister). Her father served in the Chicago Police force for some time. Her mother died at the age of forty. Of the four siblings, Eleanor and her older brother James served in the military during World War II.

As she tells it, Eleanor just decided to get away from home and away from an uninteresting job, joining the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) in March of 1943 at the age of twenty-six. Within that year, the Army had decided to disband the WAAC and replace it with the Women's Army Corps (WAC). So, Eleanor and others in the defunct WAAC were honorably discharged "For the convenience of the Government" after serving only four months and twenty days. They had the option of joining the WAC, but Eleanor decided to wait on this. For the next year and a half, she went to work as a file clerk for the Hartford Insurance Company in Chicago.

She got restless again and decided to join the WAC in March of 1945. She received better training than had been the case in the WAAC, and she was able to travel to different parts of the country as a Company Clerk. Her final duty station was with the WAC Detachment 9955th Technical Service Unit at William Beaumont General Hospital in El Paso, Texas. She was separated from the service with an Honorable Discharge as a Tech 4 (Corporal) at Fort Sam Houston on 29 October 1946. She then joined the inactive reserves and returned to Chicago to work.

Four years later, on 20 October 1950, she received "Orders for Extended Active Duty" from the Headquarters of the Fifth Army in Chicago. She was to report to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, no later than 15 November. During this next period of active service she was posted to Tokyo for about four months in 1951. By 22 November 1951, she was back in the US and separated from active duty once again. She remained in the inactive reserves until her final Honorable Discharge in August 1952. So, she is a veteran of both World War II service and Korean War service.

Upon her return to Chicago, she went back to work at Hartford. She also became active with her local American Legion post, being chosen as Post Commander sometime in the late 1950s. She never married and has remained independent to this day.

Eleanor became an active supporter and member of VVAW in the early 1990s. She attended Chicago VVAW's Memorial Day and Veterans Day events every year while she could still get around. She was honored with a standing ovation at VVAW's 40th Anniversary Event in Chicago in 2007.

Over the past couple of years, as her physical health has weakened, she is unable to participate in our events, but she proudly carries her lifetime membership card in her wallet. Her mind is still very sharp, and she follows politics closely. We wanted to give her some recognition here in The Veteran, as a comrade and friend for many years. We salute you, Eleanor!

Joe Miller is a National Board Member of VVAW. He served in the US Navy from 1961 to 1968 and is a veteran of the Gulf of Tonkin "Incidents" of 1964. Eleanor Wayman is his aunt, and they both live in the Chicago area.

Eleanor Wayman, 2012.
Eleanor with WAC comrade, 1945.

Eleanor on the night of her installation as American Legion Post Commander in 1956.

Eleanor (Aunt Shorty), Joe Miller, Dorothy Day, and
Meg Miner at a Chicago Memorial Day event, 2007.

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