CPL (Ret) Lorraine West

CPL (Ret) Lorraine West

I joined the Army early on during the Korean Conflict. I was experiencing financial difficulties at Eastern Michigan University, the Army was in need of recruits, and was recently desegregated and being an adventurous soul, I decided to become a WAC.


Basic Training was completed at then Camp Lee, now Fort Lee. After Basic Training I was sent to the 2nd Infantry Division at Fort Lewis in Washington State, Northwest region near Canada. The units Insignia/ patch was an Indian head.


The Unit was shipped into combat to Korea. I was sent to Japan with an Engineers Division. Day to day, I was a Property Clerk, yet every soldier at my station was always on high alert for incoming wounded. Everyone was sent to the Hospital to care for and process the wounded and dead incoming from Korea and reroute them to the USA. I had a rather unique experience in that many of the wounded and dead were friends and acquaintenances. I had trained with the 2nd Infantry Division, which sustained more casualties than any other Division during the Korean Conflict. There were a variety of injuries, yet the memory of Phosphorus burns and severe frost bite sends a shutter still. After all this emotional draining work, everyone had to report to their regular assignments at 0 Dark thirty.


My military experience has made a lot of difference in my life. I met wonderful people, made life long friends, some of whom we see each other as often as possible up to now. The GI Bill provided me funding to complete a Masters Degree in International Education from Eastern Michigan University. I am a Founding and life member of the National Association of Black Military Women (NABMW), Cofounder of the Black Military Women Foundation (BMWF), was Chairlady of the North East Region of NABMW. I am a member of the Women in Military Service of America (WIMSA), 555 Paratrooper Infantry Division (Triple Nickles) and the 369th Veterans Association.


My bucket List: Make a parachute jump.

Copyright 2018-21 NYC Chapter NABMW

The National Association of Black Military Women (NABMW) website supports the mission of the organization - to seek out, tell, and record the history of Black Military Women. We use various public information tools (Newspapers, websites, books, documentaries, and other media outlets) to search out information on black military women. A lot of personal military history information is provided by the specific individuals through the NABMW Journal and membership. We do not take responsibility for the validity of any information provided to us from these individuals or from public information postings from tools listed above. The source of all information on this website will be listed. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this information is displayed without profit or payment to those who expressed an interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. Photos and images are from the National Archives, The Naval History Center, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, Defense Visual Information Center and personal collections of many of the women and men.  This website is for and about Black Military Women who served our country - by an organization of military women, family and friends who are committed to seeking out the history of Black Military Women who served our country. Photos are not to be misused or taken out of context when shared.