Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Navy Veteran Mary Cantlon Goldbeck. Mary served in the Navy’s WAVES from 1942 to 1945 during World War II.

Mary was one of the first women to join the Navy’s Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, otherwise known as WAVES. President Roosevelt created the WAVES on July 30, 1942 as the U. S. Navy corps of female members. The women went through an intensive three months of training in secretarial and clerical functions. WAVES weren’t eligible for combat duty. They were assets in winning the war and proved forces comprised of both men and women could be successful.

After basic training, she served in Boston as paymaster for naval aviators. Mary completed her service in 1945 as a Petty Officer 3rd Class.

Following her service, Mary returned to her home in Wisconsin where she became a teacher. She joined the American Legion’s Ladies’ Auxiliary and along with her husband and other legionnaires, spent her summers raising money to establish and fund the town’s kindergarten and swimming pool as well as many other community services. Later, she became and an elementary school principal.

In 1950, she married Leonard Goldbeck, and together they had three children.

Mary passed away in 1997.

We honor 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? You’re in luck! VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/his service.

It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. All it takes is an email to 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 created by Dominique Ramirez: Dominique is a member of VA’s Digital Media Engagement team. He manages multiple pages across the domain, including the VAntage Point blog. He also creates graphics for VA’s social media channels.

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Published on Aug. 29, 2018

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