Lieutenant Dates Private

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September 12, 2014 by genelup


MY STAMP STORY — A “Women in Military” stamp came out in 1997. Ruth was a private and dental hygienist with the Women Army Corps in the early 1960s at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.  Jim and I, both lieutenants, met Ruth when the army dentists threw a party.

Jim and Ruth clicked, and they began dating — he an army officer and she an enlisted private. We bachelor officers at Fort Wood didn’t follow army policies that we shouldn’t fraternize with enlisted personnel.  The funny thing about Jim’s and Ruth’s relationship was when he would walk to the PX or someplace else on base he sometimes met Ruth. She had to salute him.  At night, Jim and I would laugh together that his girlfriend had to salute him.

I fantasized that after I got out of the army all my girlfriends would salute me. Better for a relationship, I thought, but that impossible dream quickly vanished.

Janie also was a private at Fort Wood. She was assigned as a secretary in the post’s Public Information Office. I was one of the officers there. Some nights, when I was bored and depressed, I walked to our recording studio and played records of popular songs on the turntable.

Janie sometimes would drop in, and the two of us — a lieutenant and a private — would talk, drink a Coke or coffee and play records. We never dated, we were just good friends. I think we helped each other to get through our depression and boredom on those lonely nights — two people with our civilian lives on hold. We were homesick; missing our family and friends back home. Janie, wherever you are today, I salute you.


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