Voices of Veterans: Seaman Second Class Lorrie Henderson Shares Her Story of Service During the End of World War II

Ms. Henderson was one of the first woman to serve as a draftsman

Contact: Kimberly Hubbard
(512) 936-9582
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PRESS RELEASE — May 10, 2024

Austin — Today, Texas Land Commissioner and Veterans Land Board (VLB) Chairwoman Dawn Buckingham, M.D., is proud to introduce the next installment of the series highlighting the VLB's Voices of Veterans oral history program. In this episode, we hear the story of U.S. Navy Veteran Lorrie Henderson.

To listen to Ms. Henderson tell her story, visit VoicesofVeterans.org.

Ms. Henderson grew up in a family with several members serving in the Navy, including her brother, who joined the Navy two weeks after Pearl Harbor was bombed. This, along with an inspiring poster of the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) launching a weather balloon, influenced Ms. Henderson to join the Navy in April of 1945. 

She served as a draftsman in the WAVES, earning the highest score recorded for her mechanical aptitude test at the end of training. She was one of the first women to hold this critical position and was stationed at Treasure Island Naval Base in northern California. Ms. Henderson reached the rank of Seaman 2nd Class of the course of her service.


U.S. Navy Veteran Lorrie Henderson
U.S. Navy Veteran Lorrie Henderson


After the Japanese surrender, she met her husband, who served in the Navy as a radarman and was married less than a month later in an all-military wedding at the Treasure Island Naval Base chapel. She was reluctant to go on a blind date with her friend but remembered her husband telling her that he "made up his mind" to marry her the first moment he saw her while on that date. They were married for 55 years and had two children before his passing.

When considering how joining the military affected her life, Ms. Henderson spoke about how important the GI Bill was to her education. Because of the GI Bill, she was able to finish her bachelor's degree and obtain her master's degree at the University of Texas in Austin. Ms. Henderson was also thankful that joining the Navy brought herself and her beloved husband together.

Veterans can email VoicesofVeterans@glo.texas.gov to tell their stories. Please note that the Veteran must be a resident of Texas at the time of their interview.

Voices of Veterans is a state agency's first Veteran oral history program. It records the stories of Texas Veterans through their time in service and after returning home from combat.

The VLB records interviews with veterans over the phone or in person. Their interviews are then permanently archived in the Office of Veterans Records at the GLO, where they join the historical documents of other Texas heroes such as Sam Houston, Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie, and William Barret Travis.

Veterans' interviews are also available to researchers, historians, genealogists, and the public. These precious records inspire future generations and remind us of our Veterans' sacrifices.

To listen to the the over 500 archived stories of Veterans documented through the GLO's Voices of Veterans oral history program visit VoicesofVeterans.org.

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