Gertrude M. Oldfield Kent

Private Gertrude M. Oldfield, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ray C. Oldfield of 1311 Pershing Street, has completed her basic training at the Third WAC Training Center at Fort Oglethorpe, GA and has been transferred to the Fifth Service Command at Camp Breckenridge, KY.

PVT. GERTRUDE KENT
Private Gertrude Oldfield Kent has arrived in Australia, according to word received by her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ray Oldfield, 311 Pershing Street.

She enlisted in the WAACs in August 1943 and received her training at Fort Oglethorpe, GA and Camp Breckenridge, KY.

She has a brother, Private First Class Thomas Oldfield in the service in England.


Contributed by Gertrude M. Kent

GERTRUDE M. OLDFIELD KENT
Gertrude enlisted in the WAAC, the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps, at Milwaukee, WI on May 5, 1943 and had her basic training at Fort Oglethorpe, GA in Company 10, 21st Regiment from August 1943 to October 1943. She was sent to Camp Breckenridge, KY; then back to Fort Oglethorpe for overseas training. She prepared for overseas training at Camp Stoneman, CA POE (port of entry) from October 1943 to June 1944.

In June 1944, Gertrude sailed on the Matsonia to Brisbane, Australia and served there from June 1944 to October 1944.

She sailed on the USS David C. Shanks to Hollandia, New Guinea and served there from October 1944 to January 1945.

In January 1945, she sailed home on the Monterey and was discharged in San Francisco, CA on January 22, 1945.


Back Row: Esther Sharp from Ohio (Theatre), Daisy Rodriquez from Louisiana (Commissary), Doris Otto, Chicago, IL (Motor Corp); Gertrude Kent from WI (Office).

Front Row: Eileen Walsh from New York (Rental) and Virginia Dunn Lindecomp from Texas (Ordnance) and Gertrude's best friend.


HIGHLIGHTS OF ONE WOMAN'S TOUR OF DUTY

An article from the March 2002 newsletter at the High Ground in Neillsville, Wisconsin
Highlights Of One Woman's Tour Of Duty
In 1988, Eau Claire native and World War II Veteran Gertrude Kent visited The Highground with her nephew William J. Oldfield, a US Marine from Arkansas.

Today, Gertrude lives in the veteran's home in Union Grove. She is the only female veteran in the facility and finds it to be "a very cheerful place." 

"I have a burial site in Veterans Southern Cemetery where my husband of 54 years is buried," Gertrude Kent said.

She and her nephew are not the only veterans in their family. Gertrude's three brothers, Thomas, Raymond, and Bruce Oldfield, were in service, and her nephew, Carl Oldfield, was killed in Vietnam. "I think his name is on a chime on the monument at the Highground," she writes.

Gertrude "enjoyed [her] service time" and is a member of American Legion Post 448 in Milwaukee, the United Women's Veterans in Madison, and a charter member of the Women's Memorial in Washington, DC. The highlights of her tour of duty are shared here in her own words—a peek into a time when few women served.

"I was in World War II. I served in WAAC—the Women's Army Auxiliary Corp. It was later changed to WAC—Women's Army Corp.

"I had my training at Fort Oglethorpe, GA; then went to Camp Breckenridge, KY. I was then sent [back] to Fort  Oglethorpe for my overseas training. We [did] every training a male soldier [did], except shoot guns.

"My next stop was Camp Stoneman, CA, POE (port of entry), where we got ready for overseas duty. We had German prisoners of war in our camp. They went on five-mile hikes and had plenty of exercise.

"I went to Brisbane, Australia on a ship named the USS Matsonia. I met some very nice Australian civilians; I still correspond with one after 57 years.  It is a beautiful city. I also saluted General Douglas MacArthur, when he headquartered there.

"I then went to Hollandia, New Guinea on the USS David C. Shanks. I found out the chef on the ship, Donald Ruskins, was from my hometown, Eau Claire. 

"We had to pass an island where there were supposedly Japanese. Our ship was blacked out and we all got out of bed at midnight in pjs and life jackets and stood on deck until we passed the island. 

"One of my most frightening moments...My overseas training came useful as we had to depart from our ship by climbing down a rope ladder to a landing barge. The ship was rocking back and forth from the barge. I made it!

"The jungle was mountains, rain, mud; heat. Our water to drink was warm in Listerbags (canvas bags on a rock). There were snakes, spiders, and laughing hyenas.

"Our showers were outside—when I'd walk to the shower room, I'd hear laughter. I thought natives were laughing at me until I found out it was laughing hyenas.

"I went home on the USS Monterey. It was a sistership to the USS Matsonia. We had a burial at sea."


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Gertrude remembers, "I got an 'A' in English at Eau Claire Senior High. I got 'A' or 'A+' on my themes. I had an 'A+' in my German class, so I was ahead and got to translate German library books into English. My teacher was Miss Gower" (02-23-04).

Gertrude is pictured sitting in the lawn swing in the promotional brochure below.

WISCONSIN VETERANS HOME AT UNION GROVE

Union Grove Veterans Home

More low-cost assisted living (efficiency apartments) now available for Veterans ...
No Waiting!

Aging Wisconsin Veterans -- Veterans Home at Union Grove posterOverview

We are in the process of establishing a range of services to meet the full continuum of long-term care needs for elderly and disabled veterans (assisted living, skilled nursing, day health care programs).

Services

Efficiency apartments are currently available for veterans or couples seeking assisted living, many private as well as some double rooms, all with private showers.

  • A safe environment with 24-hour support, and the camaraderie of fellow veterans.
  • Primary care available through the USDVA Community Based Outpatient Clinic on campus.
  • Pharmaceuticals available from the VA, frequently at no additional cost to the veteran.
  • 24-hour nursing services.
  • All meals, recreational and social services included.
  • Lots of community volunteers.

Financing

Overall rates for assisted living care are competitive with the private sector.

  • Federal veterans entitlements help make this affordable for many veterans (regardless of current income).
  • Most veterans will find economic as well as quality reasons to consider application.

Application

See your County Veterans Service Officer, or contact Steve Stead at Wisconsin Veterans Home--Union Grove; 21425 C Spring Street; Union Grove, WI 53182; telephone number (262) 878-5668.

Application forms are available on our Web site in two formats -- Microsoft Word fillable format (you can access, complete, and print from your computer) and Adobe Acrobat PDF format (print from your computer, complete by hand). You will need Microsoft Word 97 or Adobe Acrobat Reader 4.0, or later versions, to use these forms as they were created. The Adobe Acrobat Reader can be downloaded at no cost from Adobe.

Take a tour of the Union Grove Veterans Home.
The Wisconsin Veterans Home--Union Grove
21425 C Spring Street
Union Grove, WI 53182
(262) 878-6749 or (262) 878-5668
e-mail: Joan.Clark@dva.state.wi.us
or Steve.Stead@dva.state.wi.us