As America celebrates Veterans Day, many may be shocked to learn that their favorite Golden Girl paved the way for women in the military.
Bernice Frankel, better known as Bea Arthur, enlisted in the Marine Corps after women across America were encouraged to join the military. Frankel was born in New York to European immigrants and lived across the east coast with her two younger sisters and parents.
She served as a food analyst at Phillips Packing Company, where she tested products for mold and bacteria. Then she moved to New York where she participated in civilian war efforts such as working as an air-raid warden.
In Arthur’s Official Military Personnel File, it was revealed that she attended the first Women Reservists school at Hunter College in New York. She spent 1944 and 1945 at USMCAS (US Marine Corps Air Station) Cherry Point, North Carolina, where she worked as a driver and a dispatcher. She was discharged in September 1945 and had the rank of Staff Sergeant.
Her discharge notes indicated the path forward for her as ‘she desired to attend dramatics school.’
While America might remember Arthur as one of their favorite Golden Girls, she also was one of the few and the proud. We honor and support those who have lost their lives, and those who have been impacted by war.
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