Josephine Bogdanich Wiki
Josephine Bogdanich Biography
Who is Josephine Bogdanich ?
With Veterans Day approaching, former US Army Sgt. Josephine Bogdanich has a lot to celebrate.
The retired military woman recently celebrated her 105th birthday, making her one of the oldest WWII veterans in the United States.wikipedia
She was also the oldest aboard the first all-female ‘Honor Flight’ to Washington, D.C., last month paying tribute to women who served in the military.
“ I told everyone in charge that I had to get up at midnight to catch a 2 a.m. flight. ” Bogdanich, a Veteran’s Home resident in Manteno, Illinois since 2017, told .
“ I was so afraid that they would forget to wake me up and I would lose the opportunity of a lifetime to travel with 93 other veterinarians to the Vietnam Women’s Monument and the Military Women Memorial in Arlington, Virginia. ”
“The trip was one of the highlights of my life.”
Sgt. Josephine Bogdanich and Korean War Air Force Veteran Amelia Cunningham
But even as a supercentennial, Bogdanich can still remember the fateful date the United States went to war and had to enlist in the military years later.
Originally from Chicago, the former soldier had landed a job with the Bell Telephone Company of Illinois as a switchboard operator after graduating from high school.
He was working the night of December 7, 1941, moments before the United States declared war on Japan and formally entered the war.
He ‘he was sitting at the switchboard answering calls from people with the appropriate “please number”. when all of a sudden the switchboard lit up like a Christmas tree, ”he recalled.
From that point on, the panic response on the other end was: “Where is Pearl Harbor, how far is it from here?”
We would soon learn that the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and we were at war. We were shocked and scared.
“They told us we had to work late into the night, and when we begged our supervisors to inform us, they simply said, ‘Don’t worry. Just answer the calls. ”
Josephine was born in her grandmother’s house next to the streetcar barns in Chicago on October 15, 1916, to Johanna and Frank Kimmey. She was one of five children: two boys and three girls.
Not long after the US declared war, her two brothers Frank and Joe enlisted in the army
Shortly after the United States declared war in 1941, his two brothers Frank and Joe enlisted in the military. A brother served overseas as a tail gunman and survived 11 different missions.
By 1944, the war was still in full swing, and Josephine and her sister Mary answered the call to serve. The sisters signed up for service with the US Army and attended basic training in Iowa.
“I remember suddenly we were in the middle of a different world,” she said. “We lived in a barracks with women from all over the country, of different origins, all there because we wanted to help.
“It was cold in Iowa, and the only heat came from large cast iron stoves. We all take turns getting up at 5 in the morning and tending the fires.
“ We would add firewood and charcoal to the stoves, stoke the fire, and went back to bed, hoping that at least a little warmth would come in before we had to get up to work. ”
Josephine served two years of her service in the United States. About six months before she left the service, she told her platoon that they needed five women to go to China.
She consulted with her brother that she was serving overseas and said, ‘Absolutely don’t volunteer. Stay where you are.’ So Josephine turned down the offer.
She recalls that a mother and daughter who enlisted together volunteered to go.
During her two years, Josephine was stationed in Michigan, Virginia, and Witchita, Kansas, where she attended ticker school.
“To be honest, she wasn’t very good at it,” she laughed, “The next thing I knew I was assigned to the Fort Bliss mailroom in Texas.”
The supercentenarian, who lived through the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918
Still, he admitted that he enjoyed the job.
“I had the opportunity to deliver letters and packages to the soldiers, who would be delighted to hear from their loved ones,” she said.
‘There were times when they would receive bad news or a letter from a broken love with them, and we had to give them comfort and understanding.
Then there were many men whose mailboxes always seemed to be empty, so some of the ladies and I wrote them little anonymous notes, letting them know that they were appreciated and how much their service meant to us.
And we would tell them that if things ever got too difficult, or if they were feeling sad, to come to the mail room to talk to us, that there would always be someone there to listen to us. And many of them accepted us.
Some of the women found men they were interested in and went on dates.
But for the most part, the women met alone at night and headed to the PX, where they indulged themselves with candy, ice cream, or a soda.
She recalled a story of hers from hers from her time in Texas that stayed with her for decades.
“One day, a soldier received a visit from his wife who lived on the base with him. She came with her one-year-old baby and said she was leaving him, ” Josephine said.
When Josephine was fired from service in 1946, she returned to work at the telephone company for a few months, before landing a clerical job on the Illinois and Western Indiana Railroad. She said that upon her arrival at her home, she was greeted with mixed reactions.
“Some people were very appreciative and thanked me for my service,” she said. “While others treated me with indifference, believing that the army was no place for a woman.”
She Josephine returned to live with her parents, and it wasn’t until 13 years later that she met the man she was going to marry… Andrew Bogdanich.
“I knew about Andrew from the neighborhood,” she said.
“One day I was walking my dog and he came in his car and he asked me if I would like to go for ice cream. And even though he was almost 30 years old, I told him that I would have to ask my mother. She gave her blessing and the rest is history, ‘she laughed.
The couple married in 1959 and welcomed their only child, a son named Nicholas, in 1962. They remained together until Andrew’s death in 2017.
Last May, in the midst of the pandemic, Josephine fell ill with covid. She was hospitalized and everyone feared that she would not make it. But once again, she showed how strong she was.
“I spent time in the hospital,” she shared.
‘I thought if God wanted me to do it, He would, and if not, I got ready to go. But I guess it wasn’t my time, because here I am a year and a half later, still holding on. ”
Dubbed Operation HerStory, the group trip transported female veterans to Washington, D.C
“I was about seven years old when I had to have dental work done,” he said. “ We didn’t have a car and my father didn’t want a streetcar to take me home, keep in mind there was no novocaine in those days so he borrowed a new Auburn Model A car from a relative.
“I remember coming home in style, feeling like a princess as I greeted the neighbors.”
Josephine admits it has been a difficult two years.
The Veterans Home where she lives quarantined her residents, so they could no longer meet in common areas and visit each other. And for a year, she was not allowed to receive visitors. Even her son Nick hers could only communicate by phone.
“I’m not going to say I wasn’t alone,” she recalled. I’m not a great reader or TV viewer, although I do enjoy watching Wheel of Fortune.
So to pass the time, I would sit alone in my room, look out the window, and think of better times. I remembered my family and the time my brothers and I surprised Mom and Dad and came home together on leave.
And I remembered that I fell in love with my husband. I remember our wedding day and the day my son was born. And I found that taking a walk down memory lane made me happy. ‘
Today Josephine is as active as possible and she is always up for an adventure.
“Whether it’s a group trip to Walmart, bowling in the hallways, playing bingo, or fishing in the pond across the street with the men, I’m willing to do it,” she said. “I have a lot to be thankful for.”
Josephine Bogdanich Quick and Facts
- Army Sergeant Josephine Bogdanich, of Chicago, is one of the oldest living female WWII veterans in the US
- She celebrated her 105th birthday on October 15, just days after participating in the Honor Flight Network’s first all-female flight
- Born in 1916, she remembers the day the US went to war, and by 1944, she and her sister answered the call to serve stateside for two years
- She was assigned to the mailroom at Fort Bliss in Texas, where she delivered letters and packages to soldiers away from their loved ones
- ‘There were a lot of men whose mailboxes always seemed to be empty so some of the ladies and I would write little anonymous notes to them,’ she revealed
- Josephine told DailyMail.com she became ill with Covid last May, sparking fears she wouldn’t make it
- ‘I figured if God wanted me to make it, I would, and if not, I prepared myself to go. But I guess it wasn’t my time, because here I am a year and a half later’