Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Air Forces Veteran Josephine Bogdanich, a 105 year old who served as a mail clerk during World War II.
Josephine Bogdanich was born in Chicago, Illinois, in October 1916. She stayed in the city during her childhood and attended Visitation High School. After graduation, she worked as a switch board operator for Illinois Bell Telephone Company. In an interview with the Pritzker Military Museum, she remembered being on the job when calls came in asking about Pearl Harbor. She said that “none of us really knew where Pearl Harbor was,” but they knew everyone was calling to find out.
Bogdanich’s two brothers joined the Army after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and she joined the Army Air Forces in 1944. Her younger sister joined the Navy as well. Bogdanich completed her basic training in fall 1944. She briefly went to Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Michigan and then Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas. Bogdanich worked in communications while assigned to these bases.
She then went to Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, where she worked as a mail clerk. Bogdanich sorted and organized the mail destined for the service members at the base and would put letters and notes they received in their respective bins. Bogdanich recalled in her interview that sometimes a service member wouldn’t receive any mail, so she and her coworkers would write him a note which “made him feel a little bit better.” She did this with other service members, making connections with the soldiers. Although she did not leave the U.S., she said she “would’ve gone wherever they sent me.”
Bogdanich discharged in 1946. She said she fondly remembers being invited to one of her brother’s friends’ homes in Santa Monica, California, where they traveled all around before taking the Greyhound bus back to Chicago. When she returned home, she resumed her prior job as a switch board operator. In the interview, she explained she was proud of her service because she felt she was helping and providing some relief for the soldiers.
She turned 105 years old this past October, and lives in the Veterans’ Home in Manteno, outside of Chicago. She likes to play bingo and stay active.
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