1LT Eileen Merullo, USA joined the Women’s Army Corp in 1944 after graduating from Boston University. She was eager to serve her country after witnessing 15 of her neighbors deploy to war. She joined the Army as a registered physical therapist and served helping wounded veterans returned from war at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington D.C. and at the Amputee Rehabilitation Center in Maryland. She was later honorably discharged as a 1st lieutenant in 1946. She spent the next four years as the head therapist of rehabilitation at the Naval Hospital in Chelsea, MA. In that capacity she invented a “pronation and supination” piece of equipment of which she won an award but never pursued a patent. Instead she gave ownership to the naval hospital and left her employment there to raise a family. In 1969 she began her 25 year career in the Revere public school system as a science teacher. Her students and colleagues describe her as an inspiration. She later volunteered at Generations which matches retirees with students in need of academic support. As years passed and other wars arose, Eileen realized that there was not much recognition for women veterans of all generations, especially the women veterans who served during WWII. Since there are no archives of women who served during WII in Revere, Eileen began her search to find all the women veterans who served in Revere through newspaper articles, spoke at social groups and continued her campaign through local cable access television. She then raised over 10,000 dollars for a monument and was able to acquire over 154 names. The foundation for the monument was poured on the American Legion lawn in August 7th, 2013 and the WWII Women Veterans’ monument was erected on September 2nd, 2013. In only nine months, Eileen was able to see her vision come to life. On September 7th, 2013 the unveiling of the monument was attending by over 300 residents, veterans, family members and members of the legislature. She is an example that one person can make a difference and shine the light on generations of women past, present and future.
MSG (Ret) Carin Smith, Mass ARNG joined the Massachusetts Army National Guard on December
16, 1989 during her senior year in High School. In 1999, MSG Smith joined a volunteer honor guard group now known
as the Massachusetts 54th Volunteer Regiment, in which she earned the Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal for all the hours she volunteered in honoring fallen
Soldiers, as well as supporting our Governor and other dignitaries in many high profile events. In 2000, she earned her 4th MOS as an Aviation
Operations NCO. She worked at the State Aviation Office for over 4 years until she volunteered to deploy with the 3rd Battalion 126th Aviation in support of Operation
Iraqi Freedom in August 2005 as their Senior Human Resources NCO. Upon her return in November 2006, she accepted a new position within the
Aviation Battalion as their Senior Aviation Operations NCO. During this time she was a trained as a Victim Advocate and Equal Opportunity Leader.
She wanted more of her Soldiers to attend school so she developed a plan with State Headquarters and Endicott College to create a program in which local
soldiers could attend classes held locally on the base by Endicott Professors. Upon her retirement from the Army National Guard in May 2011, she decided to find ways
to continue to care for her soldiers, veterans and the community. She began volunteering with the Plymouth Career Center and Nathan Hale Veterans Foundation and Badger Basecamp. She owns a Soldier and Family Support group on LinkedIn so she can continue to reach out to Soldiers and provide information to them
through social media. As a current employee of Nathan Hale Foundation, she caters to Veterans and their issues, providing them personal support they deserve.
She has also become trained in CPR and has become a Notary Public in order to offer these services free to her veteran clients. She continues reach out
to any veteran, soldier or family in need as well as support the Plymouth Career Center in their programs.
COL Andrea Gayle-Bennett, (USANG) served from 1990-Present: Deputy Commander, Medical Command Massachusetts Army National Guard. COL Andrea Gayle-Bennett earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from City College of New York’s Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education in Physician Assistant Studies, and a Master of Education degree from Lesley College in Business Management. COL Gayle-Bennett has served over 28 years in the Massachusetts Army National Guard. She was commissioned as a warrant officer in 1983 as a Physician’s Assistant in the Headquarters Company, 114th Medical Battalion. COL Gayle-Bennett was commissioned as a 1LT in 1990. In 2009 she deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom with the 101st Engineer Battalion. LTC Gayle-Bennett served in various leadership positions within Medical Command, and now serves as Deputy Commander. In the civilian sector COL Gayle-Bennett works as a Physician Assistant with Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates in Boston, MA. COL Gayle-Bennett has also been active within her community. She has served on the Schwartz Center Compassionate Caregiver award committee through Mass General Hospital. She has also started a military ministry program at her church. In her deployment to Iraq, she worked as a PA providing medical care for her soldiers. She as the officer in charge of the Battalion Aid Station and spent countless hours reorganizing and developing protocols that met the ever changing needs of the military. While on deployment she was involved in a motor vehicle accident and sustained knee injuries. The knee injuries did not slow her down as she completed her tour. She continues to remain in contact with the soldiers that remained behind and supports their efforts. She resides in Lynn, MA with her husband and four children.
Captain Mary Jo (O'Dwyer) Majors joined the Navy through the Navy Nurse Corps Officer Candidate scholarship program in her junior year at St. Anselm's College in Manchester, NH. She was commissioned an Ensign in the Navy Nurse Corps on December 11, 1968 during her senior year and she began serving on active duty at the Naval Hospital in Memphis, TN after receiving her BS Degree in Nursing. She cared for many wounded Navy and Marine Corps warriors returning from the Vietnam War until she was transferred to the Naval Hospital in Naples, Italy where she remained until released from active duty and affiliation with the Navy Reserves in 1973. She has since then served in both medical and line reserve units and on command staffs and on numerous sets of active duty orders which included Bethesda Naval Hospital during ODS/S, and to the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, the Bureau of Naval Personnel, and the Director of the Navy Reserve. CAPT Majors was promoted to Captain in June 1991 and is currently assigned to NR-VTU in Quincy Massachusetts. She performs additional duties with Navy ROTC Boston Consortium, the Navy Recruiting District New England, and the United States Naval Academy. She was awarded the Joint Service Achievement Medal for her work as Special Assistant to the DNNC as staff to the Secretary of Health and Human Services National Commission on the Nursing Shortage, and she was awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal for her work when assigned to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs in the Pentagon. CAPT Majors' civilian position is currently the Director of Clinical Operations and Director of Nursing at South Cove Community Health Center in Boston, Massachusetts.
Michelle Wilmot served as a medic, mental health sergeant, and retention NCO in the US Army for 8 years. While on her year-long deployment to Ramadi, Iraq in 2004-2005 she served as a member of Team Lioness, the first female team that was attached to Marine infantry units to perform checkpoint operations, house raids, and personnel searches on women and children for weapons and explosives. Wilmot was featured in the documentary film Lioness and Kirsten Holmstedt's book The Girls Come Marching Home in the chapter entitled "Quixote in Ramadi." She has a unique understanding of the needs of returning veterans and continues to write and speak on various issues particularly those surrounding returning OIF and OEF veterans, minority, and female veteran issues. Wilmot speaks seven languages and holds a BS in political science with a specialty in Middle Eastern studies and is working on her first book about facing injustice during combat, overcoming strife, and the importance of self-empowerment. Wilmot is currently the Program Director for the Northeast Veteran Training and Rehabilitation Center (NVTRC) in Gardner, MA which specializes in treating Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans who suffer from PTSD, homelessness, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and other physiological or psychological ailments.
Phyllis Santangelo Galeaz enlisted in the Army Nurse Corps in 1941 at the age of 22. She hoped to see a little of the world while doing something that was needed. When Pearl Harbor was attacked, she volunteered for overseas duty and was sent to the jungles of New Guinea. She was stationed at the 10 th Evacuation Hospital, which the Japanese bombed nightly in 1942. On leave in Sydney, Australia, Galeaz met Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt who thanked the nurses individually for doing such a "magnificent and courageous job in taking care of the men." Galeaz returned home from New Guinea after three years, suffering from malaria, dengue fever, and exhaustion. She left the service as a Captain and received the American Campaign Medal, the American Defense Service Medal, the Distinguished Unit Citation, the World War II Victory Medal, and the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal. Currently, Galeaz at the age of 90 is an active member of the Lillian M. Jennings American Legion Post 243 in Lynn, MA.
Kathleen M. Splinter joined the United States Army in 1966 while she was a junior nursing student at St. Luke's Hospital School of Nursing in New Bedford. She did this to earn tuition money for her last year of nursing school. After graduating in June 1967, and passing her State Board certification exam she was commissioned in the Army Nurse Corps as a 2 nd Lieutenant. Splinter went to Fort Sam Houston for Basic Training and was stationed at Fort Bragg until her deployment to Vietnam. She arrived in Vietnam in October of 1968 and was stationed in the medical unit of the 312 th Evacuation Hospital of Chu Lai, Vietnam. Splinter also served on the intensive care unit and recovery room and the Vietnamese Ward. During her time in Vietnam she was promoted to 1 st Lieutenant. Upon returning home Splinter was awarded the Bronze Star in 1969 for her extraordinary efforts on behalf of her patients. Splinter is a life member of both the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 6643 in Freetown, MA and the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 449 in New Bedford, MA. She is currently the president of Welcome Home Housing, an initiative to purchase, build, and develop 19 apartments for disabled veterans in the city of New Bedford.
Mary L. Anderson looked to further develop her skills and wanted to join the Army in 1975. However, at this point in time, single mothers could not join active duty, so she did the next best thing and joined the U.S. Army Reserves. In 1991, still a single parent and full-time employee, she was called to active duty to serve in Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War. Anderson and her unit completed the mission with honors and returned home after four months. Anderson completed 22 years of service. After her retirement from the Army Reserves, Anderson became active in the American Legion and the women's Vet to Vet group at the VA Boston Healthcare System. Anderson's commitment to serving her country and her fellow veterans demonstrates outstanding sacrifice and dedication.
Sara Payne Hayden entered the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) program in 1944, was commissioned to the Air Force Reserves in 1949, and was called up to active duty from 1951-53 as a recruiting officer. Hayden's love of flying and commitment to women veterans' issues has been her lodestar. She has been active in the WASP service organization and presently serves as their Military/Veterans Affairs Liaison to help members and their families. Since 1947, she has been a member of The Ninety Nines, Inc., an international organization of women pilots. She is a 50-year member of the American Legion. She volunteers a great deal of her time to raise awareness about women pilot's military history and to support and assist women veterans in Massachusetts.
Lillian J. Eaton felt the stirrings of patriotism at the age of 18, when our country was in a time of war. She joined the Navy in May of 1943 and served till the end of the World War II in 1946. She has given over 40 years of volunteer service to the veteran community. In 1965, Mrs. Eaton joined the American Legion. She served in all officer positions and in 1968 became the first woman commander of an American Legion Post. Mrs. Eaton is a member of the Women Veterans Network and a member of WAVES National, Old Ironsides, Unit 17. Mrs. Eaton has been a member the Governor's Advisory Committee since 1986 and is currently the President of the committee. She also serves as the President of the Haverhill Veterans Council.
MaryBeth O'Sullivan is a Commander in the Navy Nurse Corps. As an officer recruiter for almost 12 years, she was twice awarded Officer Recruiter of the Year, and selected as the National Director for the Command's marketing program. Due to a serious family issue, CDR O'Sullivan declined these orders and transferred to the Reserves. Her assignments included the Naval Hospital in Bethesda and the Naval War College in Newport. CDR O'Sullivan is currently the Outreach Advisor at Veterans Upward Bound, UMass Boston. She is the first woman to serve on the Board of Governors for the Wardroom Club, a 100-year-old Navy, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marine organization.
Alice Morrison served as an Army nurse from 1944-1946, on the islands of Tinian and Saipan during World War II. Her duties included caring for those wounded in the campaign to invade Japan at the Army's general hospitals. She met her late husband when assigned as his nurse to treat wounds from an encounter with Japanese troops. An active member of her Needham community, Morrison has been a participant in the American Legion, a representative of World War II veterans at local commemorative and holiday events, a Girl Scout leader, and a consultant with Needham's "Support Our Troops" initiative. Morrison stresses her work with the Girl Scouts as a way to teach young women about the importance of dedicated service for others' good, and the strength of women.
Kaye Yoon served in the Women's Army Corps from December 1972 until March 1976. She gave up a full college scholarship and dream of studying nursing to join the Army during the Vietnam conflict. She earned her medical training at Brook Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, TX, where she cared for Vietnam veterans with severe burns or amputees. Yoon was later stationed at Yongsun, South Korea, at the 8 th Army 121 evacuation hospital, where she worked 12-18 hour shifts as a combat medic. A Brockton resident, Yoon volunteers at the Women's Health Center at the Brockton campus of VA Boston Healthcare System. In addition to her work as a receptionist, Yoon works with fellow women veterans to help them navigate their way through the VA system.