Video Interview : 99-Year-Old Marine Roz Naylor
June 11, 2021
This week, Soldiers’ Angels kicked off the first in a series of video interviews called “A Tribute to our Heroes” by sitting down with Roz Naylor, a 99-year-old former aviation machinist’s mate who served in the first regiment of the United States Marine Corps Women’s Reserve.
Roz reflected on her time in the Marine Corps and her pride in serving the country during WWII, and talked to us about Women Veterans Day, which falls every year on June 12.
The first Women Veterans Day was observed in 2018, marking the 70th anniversary of the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act, signed into law by President Harry S. Truman on June 12, 1948. That law enabled women to serve as permanent, regular members of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and the recently formed Air Force.
Roz’s words of wisdom to the next generation of women service members? “Always be prepared!”
View her video interview below or scroll all the way to the bottom to view some of her photos.
Video Interview with Roz Naylor
Q. How did you decide to join the Marine Corps?
Roz: Well, they had the best uniforms. We used to go by the Marine base in Hingham, Massachusetts, and we used to see those tall Marines standing guard, and they looked so straight and wonderful. And that’s why I joined the Marine Corps.
Q. You served from 1943-1945 as an aviation machinist’s mate. Can you tell us about that and what it felt like serving during WWII?
Roz: We were proud to help our country. It was a very patriotic year. Everybody was knitting or doing something to help our country. I joined the Marine Corps and they sent me to school in Memphis to be an aviation machinist’s mate.
Q. Today, women make up around 20 percent of new recruits, but what did it feel like to join the Marine Corps as a woman in 1943?
Roz: It was wonderful. I was in the first regiment of women Marines. We trained at Hunter College in the Bronx, New York. We learned how to march, obey orders. Front and center. The Marines were the teachers. The WAVES [Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service] were on one side of the street. The Marine girls were on one side of the street and the WAVES were on the other side of the street. So we used to sing songs against each other.
Q. You met your husband in the Marine Corps. What can you tell us about that?
Roz: When the first women arrived at Cherry Point, we were sort of special because the boys there hadn’t seen women on the base. My husband was working as a supply man across the street. The men came across the street to look at the women and he asked me for a date. We followed all the rules …. and we got married at the chapel at Cherry Point. A free wedding!
Q. As we celebrate Women Veterans Day, tell us what it means to you to be a woman veteran.
Roz: I’m just very proud. I follow all the rules, obey all the commands. Never break a rule. Help other people. But I do have to tell you this: I was stationed in Newman, North Carolina, and my grandfather was stationed there during the Civil War. And I was so proud to walk on the same streets where my grandfather walked during the Civil War. He was a Yankee.
Q. Finally, do you have any words of wisdom you’d like to impart to the next generation of women service members?
Roz: Just follow the instructions. Follow orders. And always be prepared.
From all of us here at Soldiers’ Angels, we want to thank Roz and all the women service members – past and present – for their sacrifices in defending this great nation. Happy Women Veterans Day!
Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don’t miss any episode in our “A Tribute to our Heroes” video interview series.