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 Kroger when she decided to enlist in 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 did not 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.

Video 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 Connally at that time and was reluctant to go to the mess hall by herself. She describes walking in and, with all eyes on her and the room silent, she sat at nearest table and hurriedly ate her meal. She explains how she had inadvertently sat at a table where African American Airmen were also seated and was harassed not only for being a female officer, but for sitting with African Americans.

Tags: Food,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 Connally AFB was entirely too small and only allowed for twenty-eight inches of open space between the bunk beds. She 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=956

From Khaki to Air Force Blue

Dottie Harris explains that the book she is currently (at the time of the interview) writing entitled 1951 From Khaki to Air Force Blue is fictional but contains some factual events that she experienced. She shares photos from her time at Connally AFB. She recalls 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