Lovely Lady Veteran
Recently my female Veteran friend Pat Horanberg tipped me off to another local female Veteran, Jude Mahon and so I immediately contacted her. We recently met at the Corner Bakery and I knew instantly that we would get along nicely as we carried on for several hours talking about her U.S. Navy service and her life’s experiences. Clearly, Jude is a very proud patriot and very proud of her U.S. Navy service to our Country.
Judith M. Mahon was born July 26, 1948, in the small town of Morrison, Illinois, with a population of 4,000 residents who Judith said, with a smirk, everyone knew everything about everyone. Judith, who goes by Jude, grew up in Morrison graduating from Morrison High School June 17, 1966. Jude’s Father, Roland Hamilton of Erie, Illinois, served in the U.S. Army during WWII in England where he married English lass, Elizabeth Newell. Jude’s mother proved to be a strong willed disciplinarian hence Jude knew from age 14 that she must go it alone at age 18. Elizabeth’s temperament likely resulted from hard times living through the great depression and losing her first husband in WWII’s European Theater. At any rate, while a high school senior Jude and her best friend Pat Rosenow took a bus to Chicago to visit a Navy recruiter. Jude really loved Navy uniforms and while at the recruiter’s office Jude and Pat spotted several male sailors and were rather infatuated with their flirting, appearance, poise, and confidence. Jude thought their white sailor caps, known as Dixie Cups, were cute the way those sailors had them cocked off center.
Black Shoe Yeoman
On October 6, 1966, Jude enlisted with the U.S. Navy and immediately traveled to United States Naval Training Center, Bainbridge, Maryland, for 10 weeks of Boot Camp training. Afterwards, Jude was given the opportunity to choose her next assignment and hating cold weather, mosquitoes and summertime humidity she selected Naval Air Station Alameda, California. Soon she fell in love with Northern California. Jude went on to serve her entire remaining service at Naval Air Station’s Aircraft Maintenance Department (AMD) as a “Black Shoe” Yeoman. Jude’s primary responsibilities were handling personnel accounting and general secretarial duties. It’s noted that in 1917, as with the USMC custom, brown shoes were worn, hence aviators became known as “Brown Shoes” and everyone else in the Navy was considered “Black Shoes”. Loretta Perfectus Walsh became the first woman to enlist in the U.S. Navy on March 17, 1917.
Fell Like a Ton of Bricks
While working personnel paperwork in Alameda’s AMD office, one day a new sailor arrived to report in and Jude immediately took note of his cocky disposition but she also noticed that he seemed bright and in her words, what a beautiful man he was. Jude was instantly smitten. She asked him, “Where did you come from (meaning which Navy school)?” The sailor, Bill Mahon, replied, “New Jersey” and Jude said, “No, which school?” Hence, their flirty chit chatting began. Since Jude was engaged to another sailor, she reminded Bill she was not available but later on Jude broke off her engagement and began dating him. Jude said, “I fell like a ton of bricks for Bill and soon we were madly in love”. After awhile, Jude said “Getting married became a natural process of their close relationship and through casual conversation Bill proposed marriage”.
Because Bill was 20 years old, slightly younger than Jude, he required his parent’s written permission in California to marry. His parents gave their written permission and they were married August 30, 1969. It was a beautiful setting under the trees in a gazebo at Merritt Park in Oakland, California, and by the way, their marriage fee was a whopping $25. Jude received her Honorable Discharge October 3, 1969, and she promptly landed a job in San Francisco with Pacific Gas and Electric Company. Jude took city busses into San Francisco to P G & E from their rented apartment until Bill received his Honorable Discharge in March 1970. Soon, they moved to Bill’s home town in New Jersey and lived with his parents for six months until they established their own home. Jude was hired by State Farm Insurance and Bill went to work in an animal research laboratory.
Back to the Golden State
In 1978, Bill and Jude bought a home in upcountry Hamburg, New Jersey, and Jude landed a federal job with Picatinny Arsenal, a military research and development laboratory, as a Development Acquisition Analyst. Sadly, Bill passed away in 1995 at age 46 from congestive heart failure and though Jude was emotionally crushed she continued working until she retired in 2013 after a 37 year career. Along the way Jude busied herself by becoming a member of the Civil War Historical Society. Following Bill’s passing Jude sold her home and moved to Hackettstown, New Jersey, home to Mars Chocolate USA, the maker of Milky Way, Mars, M&M’s, Twix and Snickers candy bars. Jude moved to Valencia in 2013 to share a “Next Generation” home with her niece‘s family and she’s a Great Aunt to her niece’s children and helps care for them.
Welcome to Santa Clarita
During our interview it became abundantly clear that she is very interested in volunteering for various community organizations and I gave her a few tips about our local Veteran organizations and other clubs. Jude proudly served her Country and now she is anxious to serve her new community. It’s a pleasure to know you, Jude Mahon, and I welcome you to our great City of Santa Clarita!