Birthday Wishes for Carolyn Mowery – 100 years old

An item from the Royal Canadian Air Force Association.

The Volunteer Services Coordinator at the Minnesota Veterans Home, Ms. Erin Betlock, recently shared the following news with the RCAF Association. As a result of learning this news, and in keeping with our (Wing-sourced) function of “Camaraderie-Social Support,” the RCAF Association will bestow an Honorary Lifetime Membership on Carolyn Mowery, on the occasion of her 100th birthday, on August 26th. The purpose of this e-mail is to share this wonderful story with all of our members, and to encourage any and all members to join in, and send a birthday card to Carolyn Mowery, care of the Volunteer Services Coordinator at the Minnesota Veterans Home (Ms. Erin Betlock). The story below says it all:

Erin writes: Carolyn (Mowery) is a weekly volunteer at the Minnesota Veterans Home, Minneapolis and has been volunteering here since 2005.  We are celebrating her 100th birthday with a party on August 26th.  Here’s a bit of Carolyn’s background, as told to me (Erin) by Carolyn herself: Canada entered World War II in September of 1939.  By late 1941 England had suffered great aircrew losses in their Royal Air Force, thus England came to Canada to recruit replacements. Subsequently, the Royal Canadian Air Force was faced with needing replacements of their own and turned to recruiting women. The RCAF came to the University of Manitoba, where I was a student and I joined the RCAF WD or the Royal Canadian Air Force Women’s Division. The WD was later dropped. I was the 158th girl to join the Royal Canadian Air Force from the province.

I began my active service in January 1941 and was discharged in November 1945. I first served as an Airwoman 2nd Class and was stationed at an Elementary Flying Training School where the students were pilot-trainees. Among other duties, I served on Medical Emergency Teams. My chief duty was hand-holding, bandaging, and cleaning up crash sites. As this was a training school the pilots were novices and in addition to skirmishes there were also crashes every day. I graduated to visiting in hospital the pilots who were injured. I had no previous experience. During my years of active service I was stationed at about 15 different posts all around Canada.

As the years progressed, with constant education, training, and promotions in the field, my assignment had a very special interest – planning for our Prisoners of War returning from Europe (mostly from Germany). I traveled to London for a 6 month period in 1945. As Canadian soldiers were released from POW camps, I helped process them from hospitals in London to go to medical facilities in Ottawa, Canada for whatever follow up was needed.

Most of the young ladies in the RCAF were just out of school and most of the pilots were a little older and more mature, I remember fondly how they looked after the young female recruits, treating them as if they were their younger sisters, wanting to make sure they were protected and didn’t get into any trouble.

I was discharged in November 1945.  After my discharge, I returned to the University of Manitoba but remained in the Active Reserve Units during my studies.  I graduated with a degree in biochemistry and eventually studied Psychology.  For my graduate work, I moved to the University of Chicago, where I met my husband, John, a licensed clinical psychologist.  He had served in the USAF, Pacific Theater, as a pilot throughout WWII.

After I graduated, John and I were married, lived and worked for several years in Indianapolis, Toronto, and finally Minneapolis.  After many happy years together, John suffered a fatal heart attack on April 12, 2005. And, then the Minnesota Veterans Home of Minneapolis came into the picture!  Chaplain Neil Hering invited me to join the Chaplaincy Unit as a volunteer and I did just that in July 2005.

Carolyn Mowery

Should any of our members wish to send greetings to Carolyn Mowery, you may write to: Erin Betlock, Volunteer Services Coordinator, Minnesota Veterans Home- Minneapolis, 5101 Minnehaha Avenue S., Minneapolis, MN  55417

This e-mail was sent from Royal Canadian Air Force Association.

Royal Canadian Air Force Association,405-222 Somerset St. West Ottawa ON K2P 2G3 CANADA, Phone Number:(613) 232-4281, Fax Number: (613) 232-2156, Email Address:, Website :

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