Rosemary McMahon is one of the few women currently represented by a Veterans Honor Banner in Downtown Rapid City. McMahon served as a WAVE (Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service) to the Navy, and she carries her legacy with great pride.
When she was just 20 years-old, McMahon made the move from Niles, Michigan to a Navy base in Norfolk, Virginia. Although the trek halfway across the country sounds daunting, she was not alone in her journey.
“The thing of it was, you weren’t by yourself,” said McMahon. “After I got to Virginia, I took the train got to Chicago; in Chicago, there was a Navy guy waiting to join all the women that were coming, and then they took us to Virginia. So, you weren’t by yourself.”
According to McMahon, her schedule as a WAVE was rigorous at first, but she found her stride as a clerk in the Norfolk Fleet Service School’s dispersing office where she worked for two years.
McMahon enjoyed her time serving as a WAVE, but her service came to an abrupt stop when she and her husband became pregnant.
“You know, I was happy when I was in there,” said McMahon. “Oh, except when— well, then I met this guy and we fell in love. We got married and I got pregnant, and I got out.”
Despite her somewhat forced retirement, McMahon remembers fondly her time in uniform, and she is proud to have served her country in whatever capacity she could.
“You’re darn tootin’ I wore my uniform proudly!” said McMahon.
McMahon and her husband, Dalton, both served in Norfolk, but when their baby was born, they relocated to Rapid City, and the rest is history!
To read more about the American heroes who have served our country, visit the Veterans Honor Banner Project website here.