It was a family affair as local siblings stepped up to serve their country during World War II.
It was the 1944, the height of the war, when Mary Haun enlisted in the Navy WAVES, the women’s reserve, at the request of her mother. Mary told her story to FOX59 from her American Senior Communities home of Aster Place to talk about her role in history.
“My mother wanted me to go in because she thought it would help me to grow up,” said Mary Haun. “It would help me to get an education and I would learn to get along by myself.”
Mary said she resisted at first.
“I called my mother next day and told her to come and get me,” she said. “I wanted to come home.
“She said, ‘Mary, you stay two weeks and you if you can’t take it, I’ll come and get you.’”
Mary stuck it out and after completing boot camp in the Bronx, she was officially part of WAVES, which stood for Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service. She was assigned to the U.S. Naval Air Technical Training Center in Chicago.
“I worked in the office,” Mary said. “I was in charge of the files. And they were in a vault, a heavy vault, locked all the time.”
Mary served with the WAVES until 1946, the year her younger brother, Bob Haun, enlisted in the U.S. Navy.
Bob Haun, seaman first class, was assigned to the USS Bremerton. While the war was over, tensions were still high in the pacific.
“Well I was over there patrolling in case, they just said, we`re going to patrol that part of the pacific, Tokyo and all the way down,” said Bob Haun.
Bob was part of what the Navy called the 'N' division, also known as navigation.
“So the navigation was really fascinating. You had to help steer that great big ship all over the Pacific Ocean.”
While the brother and sister didn`t get to serve together, they both say they enjoyed their time in the Navy.
“I had a good life on the ship,” said Bob. “I learned a lot, learned to grow up.”
“All I can tell you is I really enjoyed every minute that I was in,” said Mary.
Mary Haun went on to become the first female manager within the Campbell`s company after her service in Chicago.
Bob returned to Lafayette and became a parts manager for car dealerships.
Both took the honor flight in 2014.