Doris Brander and the Fight to Honor Women’s Military Service

Doris Brander, shown here in her enlistment photo, joined the navy’s Women’s Auxiliary Voluntary Expeditionary Service (WAVES) in 1942, shortly after Pearl Harbor.

Doris Brander, shown here in her enlistment photo, joined the navy’s Women’s Auxiliary Voluntary Expeditionary Service (WAVES) in 1942, shortly after Pearl Harbor. Courtesy Linda Brander

Born in Malta, Montana, on August 29, 1921, Doris I. Palm Brander graduated from Malta High School, joined the navy’s Women’s Auxiliary Voluntary Expeditionary Service (WAVES) in 1942, shortly after Pearl Harbor, and attended the U.S. Naval Training School in New York.

Like most of her compatriots, Brander enlisted in the navy out of the dual desires: for adventure and to contribute to the war effort. As she recalled, “I think most of us women that volunteered in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and coast guard did it out of a sense of adventure, but also because we knew that until the war was over, both in Europe and in Asia, things would not go back to normal. So by pitching in and helping, we felt we would get things back to normal faster. We wanted to do what we could to stop the war.”

As reasonable as she found these goals, she discovered that her male comrades often questioned her motives and abilities. “Because we were cutting a new path in history with our volunteering for the service, we were really looked at with question marks as to what our purpose was, what our motive was, what our morals were,” she recalled.

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