Beverly Kreger (Sept. 25, 1921 – Feb. 1, 2019) shared her experience with us of being an Army WAC (Women’s Army Corps). She worked as a telephone operator with the postal service unit during World War II, making the rank of technical sergeant. She started out in Fort Custer, Michigan, eventually going overseas to England and France. Beverly was in Paris during V-E Day. Why did she join the WACs? To prove that she could do it on her own. We’ll miss you, Beverly.
Those who served since the attacks of September 11, 2001 are called post-9/11 veterans. They number more than 3.7 million and make up nearly 18% of the total veteran population. Nearly 12% of all veterans in Pennsylvania served since 9/11.
Compared to WWII, Korea, and Vietnam-era veterans, post-9/11 veterans are young and more racially, ethnically, and gender diverse. The number of women who’ve served since 9/11 is more than double any previous generation. More than 25% of post-9/11 veterans have a service connected disability, with far more suffering from the psychological trauma of war. About half of all post-9/11 vets served with someone who was killed. The suicide rate among post-9/ll veterans is alarming.
Yet, post-9/11 veterans are among our nation’s best, brightest, patriotic, and productive citizens. As President Obama said, “Across our country, veterans who fought to protect our democracy around the globe are strengthening it here at home. Once leaders in the armed forces, they are now pioneers of industry and pillars of their communities.”
At war or home, the post-9/11 veteran experience is certainly unlike any other. The particular social, economic, and political issues facing our young veterans are, naturally, of our time. Their stories bear this out, revealing experiences that are far more complicated than we assume, understand, or oftentimes accept.
Rather than judge, our aim is to understand the experiences of post-9/11 veterans through their stories, in their own words. That’s why the Veterans Breakfast Club launched its Post-9/11 Veterans Storytelling Project creating communities of listening around post-9/11 veterans and their stories ensuring that their experiences will be shared with and appreciated by the public.
The Longest War podcast is an extension of this effort, featuring stories and conversations about Pittsburgh-area post-9/11 veterans.
This episode was recorded August 18, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pa. Host: Lauren DelRicci. Guests: Beverly Kreger, Marion Cole, Emily Drake. Executive Producer: Kevin Farkas. Audiography: Kevin Farkas, Bryan Chemini, Jonathan Stile. Music (available on SoundCloud.com): Jolonis (“Half Ac Cc), Dacca (“We Got Synths!”). Other sounds (Available on YouTube): US Dept. of War (“It’s Your War Too” 1944). ©Longest War: The Post-9/11 Veterans Podcast. Veterans Breakfast Club. All rights reserved.
Beloved wife of the late Raymond W. Kreger; mother of Vicki Tenney (George) and Timothy Kreger (the late Linda); grandmother Sherri, Jessie, Kara, and the late George and Krista; great-grandmother of 10, one deceased; sister of Carol McGowen and the late Betty Percy, and Jack and Donald Taylor; sister of affection to Janice Carpenter. Beverly was a proud US Army veteran of WWII and a 25 year volunteer at Family House. She was actively involved in the Women’s Overseas League and the building of the WWII Memorial on the North Side. In 2015 Beverly was entered into the Honor Roll of the National World War II Museum. Friends received at McCABE BROS., INC. FUNERAL HOME, 6214 Walnut Street, Shadyside, on Friday, 2-4 and 6-8 p.m., where a funeral service will be held on Saturday, at 12 noon. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations in Beverly’s name to Family House or the Wounded Warrior Project. Condolences may be left at www.mccabebrothers.com.
Published in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from Feb. 7 to Feb. 8, 2019