The Luck of the Irish

We’re taking another break today from our series of military firsts. This time, we want to talk about St. Patrick’s Day.

Spunky World War II WAVE Josette Dermody was a gunner’s mate based in San Francisco during World War II. And one St. Patrick’s Day she decided to celebrate her heritage by personalizing her uniform.

Everybody was talking about how they could wear green, a green slip or something. I put on – I didn’t have a hat. I had a little tiny green hair bow.  And I was down looking for my pay and went across a quarter deck. The master at arms, who didn’t like WAVES, was chasing me and I got on the stairway and he couldn’t touch me. There were all kinds of ways of learning about rules.  (laughs) Because it was out of his domain. And I was just toodling up the stairs and some lieutenant, some middle aged, it looked like a middle aged dentist who had been drafted to to dental work or something. A perfectly innocent looking man.  But he said, “Young lady, you’re out of uniform!”  They made fusses about things like that. And I said, I just looked at him, “No sir.  It’s St. Patrick’s Day. The skipper is Irish and this is the uniform of the day” (laughs). And then I scooted upstairs.

This photograph comes from the collection of Josette Dermody Wingo.

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