World War II Veterans Book: Mary Crossley

An Excerpt

Mary Lou Minnix was born April 24, 1920.
Father: Walter Green Minnix, Sr.
Mother: Onnie Odell (Powell) Minnix.
Husband: Harmon Crossley.
Date of marriage: January 17, 1948.
Brothers: Aubie Rutledge Minnix, Jesse Wyatt Minnix, William Henry (Bill) Minnix, Walter Green Minnix, Jr.
Sisters: Mabel Gates, Marie Ellis.

Mary Crossley

Mary Lou Minnix enlisted in the US Navy (WAVES) September 14, 1944. When she was honorably discharged September 17, 1946, she had advanced from the rank of apprentice seaman to yeoman second class.

After receiving her training at Hunter College in New York, she served at the NATTC in Jacksonville, Florida, where she worked in personnel and the Travel Department at the air base.

The name WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) indicated that women would serve only during a wartime emergency. Naval Reserve legislation specifically limited service to men, and new legislation became necessary to establish a military organization that would not only accept a large number of uniformed women, but also commission female officers to supervise them. The process was lengthy, but would have a lasting significance.

Some in the Navy Department had already determined that women would be a wartime necessity, although general opinion among the rank and file was negative until the crisis developed. In the face of a great need, it still took careful maneuvering to get the authorization through congress.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the legislation into law on July 30, 1942, and a vast number of patriotic women, like Mary Lou Minnix, said “yes” when called upon to serve their country.

A memorable event shared by Mary Lou was the time when she and her roommates were punished for sympathizing with another roommate, after hours, who was in pain from a smallpox vaccination. They had to clean a stairway with a toothbrush.

Medals awarded: Honorable Service Lapel Button, Honorable Discharge Emblem.

Her hometown was Dawson, Alabama. After discharge she attended Stetson University, where she met her husband. She now lives in DeBary, Florida.