Although the role of women in the military has changed tremendously over the years, the dedication of those women who served has not.

Tyler resident Nancy Martin, who will be participating in Saturday’s Veterans Day Parade in downtown Palestine, fondly remembers her time as a Navy hospital corpsman during the Korean War.

“I signed up as a corpsman in 1952, attended boot camp for three months and had another six months of training at Navy corps hospitals,” Martin said. “I was stationed at the hospital in Quantico, Va. for my entire three years of service.”

Although the hospital oversaw the care and treatment of soldiers wounded in Korea, Martin said she worked in every ward of the hospital, delivering babies and caring for families of those stationed in the area.

“Those injured at the nearby FBI training center were also cared for at Quantico,” she recalled. “It was also a favorite golf spot for then President Dwight Eisenhower.

“He would drive by and wave at us and we would just wave, or salute, back,” she added. “Back then we thought nothing of it, but it really was quite something.”

Toward the conclusion of her service Martin met and married her husband, U.S. Marine R.C. Martin, and requested and was granted a “Discharge for Reasons of Marriage.”

“Back then you pretty much had to get a discharge if you got married or became pregnant,” Martin said. “Now it is OK.”

Martin spent the next several years supporting her husband in his military career, moving with him and their two children 11 times before he was officially discharged in 1962.

“He was from Tyler, so we moved here and made it our home,” she said. “I have lived here ever since.”

Martin says her time in the military was a good part of her life, and even though things are very different now, she would not hesitate to encourage women to join the armed forces.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the Navy and being a military wife,” she said. “It is something nice to sit back and remember.”

Martin is a member of the American Legion and the Korean War Veterans in Tyler. She was asked by her post commander to participate in Saturday’s parade in Palestine.

“I feel very proud to have been asked,” she said. “Even though I feel like there are those who are much more deserving than I am.

“But at the same time I also feel like I am representing those people,” she added. “Including my husband who passed away several years ago.”

The Palestine Veterans Day Parade begins at 10 a.m. Saturday in downtown Palestine. This parade salutes women who have and continue to serve in the military.


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