Marjorie “Marjie” McKenney was born in Brunswick, Maine, July 4th, 1923. Graduating from Amherst High in 1941, the slogan her classmates gave her was “impossible is a word I never use.”
The Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, or WAVES, became a World War II division of the U.S. Navy July 30, 1942, and consisted entirely of women. Marjorie McKenney travelled to Boston in August 1942 to enlist in WAVES.
She reported straight away to Hunter College for assessment testing and was immediately deployed to Norman, Oklahoma, to attend aviation machinist training. The Navy didn’t ship the WAVES into Norman with the idea of adding glamor to the rather drab, sprawling base. They were sent there for business, and they had to work just as hard as men to gain their certificates of proficiency.
McKenney soon found herself with callouses from working with wrenches and machinery and swollen feet from being on her feet for long grueling hours in the advanced stage of becoming a full-fledged aircraft and engine mechanic.
Within six months, McKenney graduated and deployed to Naval Air Station Jacksonville reporting in as Aviation Machinist’s Mate 3rd Class Marjorie McKenney, USNR(W). She spent her tour keeping fliers in the air, a job she loved. McKenney was promoted in rank to AMM2c prior to the end of the war.
She met Harry Stone, also an aviation machinist’s mate at NAS Jacksonville, and they married in March of 1944.
McKenney, 95, was awarded the Hollinger Award for Baptist Hospital Volunteer of the year in 2018. The awards are presented to individuals that have exhibited exceptional generosity and community leadership through gifts of their time. She also represents the Fort Pickens chapter at each Naturalization Ceremony held at the Naval Aviation Museum and actively participates in the “Knit Your Bit” program in support of the WW II Museum, supplying veterans’ centers, hospitals and service organizations across the country.
We salute her service.
Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay
Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.
It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. All it takes is an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with as much information as you can put together, along with some good photos. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.
Graphic artist: Rey Leal