Korean War Legacy Project

Dottie Harris

Bio

Dottie Harris was born Dorothy A. Creese in Verona, Pennsylvania in October of 1931. She was living with her grandparents and working as a cashier at Krogers when she decided to enlist with the United States Air Force on January 31, 1951.  Though she was supposed to go to Lackland AFB for basic training, there had been a huge surge of male recruits in the weeks prior and Lackland didn’t have room for WAFs (Women in the Air Force).  She was sent to old Kelly Airfield for basic where she shared a tiny barracks with three other women.  She was later stationed at Lowry Air Force Base in Denver, Colorado and James Connally Air Force Base in Waco, Texas.  She served as an Airman 1st Class sergeant before her discharge in July of 1952.  She specialized as an officer in personnel Flying Training Air Force.

Clips

Sexism and Racism in the Air Force

Dottie Harris recalls the first time she ate at the mess hall at Connally AFB. She explains that she was the only WAF stationed at Connelly at that time and was reluctant to go to the mess hall by herself. She describes walking in and with all eyes on her, the room silent, she sat at the table nearest to her and hurriedly ate her meal. She goes on to explain that she had inadvertently sat at a table where African American Airmen were also seated and was forever after harassed not only for being a female officer, but for sitting with African Americans.

Tags: Home front,Living conditions,Women

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzalUVokaEQ&start=348&end=483

WAF Living Conditions on Base

Dottie Harris describes her living conditions while living in the barracks with other women. She explains that the barracks she shared with three other women at Connelly AFB was entirely too small and only allowed for twenty-eight inches of open space between the bunk beds. She goes on to describes the open bay area of uncomfortable cots at Lowry AFB.

Tags: Home front,Living conditions,Women

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzalUVokaEQ&start=816&end=953

From Khaki to Air Force Blue

Dottie Harris explains that the book she is currently writing entitled, 1951 From Khaki to Air Force Blue, is fictional but contains some factual events that she experienced. She shares photos from from her time at Connelly AFB. She goes on to describe an incident involving the men on base playing a prank on her.

Tags: Home front,Living conditions,Women

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzalUVokaEQ&start=1576&end=1788