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    Navy Sailors Discuss Work

    Bossier City, Shreveport Navy Week

    Photo By Petty Officer 1st Class Chris Fahey | 150428-N-VN372-007 BOSSIER CITY, La. (April 28, 2015) Mary Melson, a former Navy Women...... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    Navy Office of Community Outreach

    BOSSIER CITY, La. - When Mary Melson joined the Navy’s Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, or WAVES, program May 4, 1944, the now 91 year-old woman wasn’t thinking about blazing a trail, raising the glass ceiling or strengthening women’s civil rights – she just wanted to be in the Navy.

    “We were in a terrible war, things were awful, and I loved my country … I wanted to help if I could,” she said.

    Similarly, more than 70 years later, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Maura Thompson wasn’t thinking about the profound statement of progress she was making on behalf of the Navy when she was accepted as one of the first female officers to serve aboard a submarine – USS Louisiana (SSBN 734).

    “It’s never about the glory of the individual, it’s about the mission … the real joy is the work and the Sailors,” she said.

    Despite not setting out to be standouts in the ever progressing diversification of the Navy, these two women are examples of exactly that. However, when they had the opportunity to meet during April 28’s Navy Night at Airline High School in Bossier City, La., as part of the Bossier City, Shreveport Navy Week, the two women didn’t discuss their shared place in history as pioneers – they spoke about the true thing they each had in common.

    “We were just two women in the Navy, talking about what we were passionate about – we talked about work,” said Thompson. “It was awesome.”

    This shared passion of being in the service - being of service - and trying to better the shared circumstances of their country is the bond that links all military members.

    Thompson and Melson certainly are pioneers who helped open doors for others to follow so they too can enjoy that singular tie that binds – working and serving in America’s Navy.

    During the Bossier City, Shreveport Navy Week, which kicked off Mon., April 27 and will run until May 1, men and women from different walks of life fulfilling different Navy duties ranging from tactical operations with special warfare units to recruiting in the local area get to collide on the Louisiana high schools and community areas to help educate and inspire natives who because of their distance from fleet concentration areas may not get to speak to any Navy service member let alone female trailblazers such as Thompson or Melson. Thanks to the event, both women were able to not only speak to each other and relate to shared circumstances, but also focus on the younger women in the crowds and through their personal experiences, strengthen a new legacy of motivators.

    “I think about it all the time when I look at younger women on subs who one of them will end up being the first female submarine commanding officer and one of them the first female submarine admiral,” said Thompson. “All around at these Navy events are a line of women, like Melson, who broke boundaries not for the sake of personal glory but because there was a job they loved and wanted to do. Now, others can enjoy that same love. I wouldn’t trade my job for anything in the world – I love being on subs. I love the Navy.”

    Navy Weeks focus a variety of assets, equipment and personnel on a single city for a week-long series of engagements designed to bring America’s Navy closer to the people it protects, in cities that don’t have a large naval presence.



    Date Taken: 04.28.2015
    Date Posted: 04.29.2015 02:50
    Story ID: 161626
    Location: BOSSIER CITY, LA, US 

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