The global COVID-19 pandemic, the September 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the moon landing are just a few of the memorable events a WWII veteran witnessed before his 100th birthday on the 29th. August.
âIt doesn’t feel real to be 100,â said Lorraine Mulvaney Vogelsang. “I have seen a lot of them in my life, but it seems time flies so quickly for the young, and even faster for the elderly.”
Vogelsang, from Fairfax, Ohio, grew up the third of eight siblings during the Great Depression. His father lost his job and his mother is said to be hungry so the children can eat.
âWe ate a lot of bologna in different ways,â she said. “The butcher asked us once if that was all we had eaten.”
Vogelsong did not finish high school because his mother fell ill and needed help with the children. When her mother recovered, she began working at a local laundromat as a hand presser until she joined the WAAC, the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps.
Vogelsang served in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps from February to August 1943. In January 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a law removing âauxiliaryâ from the name. On August 11, she transferred from WAAC to the Women’s Army Corps, where she served until her separation in August 1945 with the rank of sergeant.
She said her parents weren’t thrilled about her joining the military.
âMom and dad weren’t very happy about it,â she recalls. “But they never said they didn’t want me in.”
She departed for basic training in Fort Oglethorpe, Ga. From nearby Cincinnati, Ohio train station.
âI remember mom and dad taking me to the train station,â Vogelsang said. âOnce I got on the train, I couldn’t see them anymore and that was it. I was myself. “
During training, Vogelsang remembers spending much of his time on the parade ground.
âIt was a huge circle with houses all around that was used during the Civil War. It has been transformed into housing, âshe said. âWe occasionally received shows or visitors to our base. In fact, one of the visitors was President Franklin Roosevelt, and we marched for him.
After four weeks of basic training, which included parades, she worked as a military baker for seven months, clerk for almost a year and a half and a short stint as a butcher in training.
âWhen they tried me out as a butcher, they taught us how to use the sharp knives and which to use on which parts of the carcass,â Vogelsang said. âThen two men came from a truck outside carrying a dead lamb, and that’s all I remember. I guess I passed out because I can’t remember anything else after that. I did not last very long in this job.
After her stay at Fort Oglethorpe, she traveled to Lubbock Army Airfield in Texas for the remainder of her enlistment.
The military has already put its image on a recruitment poster, she said. However, she does not recall that the poster was ever officially used as the war ended before it could be distributed.
After the war, Vogelsong married and had three children. As she celebrated her centenary with her family, she had a tip for longevity.
âThe key to reaching 100 is to stay busy and keep your body moving,â she said.