Ken Beaton: From Pershing County to the Pentagon | NevadaAppeal.com

Ken Beaton: From Pershing County to the Pentagon

Ken Beaton

What can the color Brown do to you? Since all her friends had enlisted by June 1943, Phyllis Lorraine Anker enlisted in the Women Army Corps on Sept. 20, 1943. After WAC boot camp, Phyllis taught WACs to type. Her next assignment was the newly constructed Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

To be a successful military leader, accurate and complete information is vital to make informed decisions. Every eight hours, seven days a week, Joint Chief of Staff, General George C. Marshall, received a complete briefing of every American military operation around the world. Phyllis handled top secret folders, "Operation Overlord, For Eyes Only," the plans for the invasion of Normandy, D-Day.

Phyllis had overcome many challenges in her 98 years. Weighing only 4 pounds on March 7, 1919, she wasn't expected to live. Fortunately, her family doctor was wrong. Graduating as an honor student from Pershing County High School in 1937, she became a freshman at University of Nevada. Phyllis earned money for her tuition by piano gigs, tutoring, and summer jobs. She tutored Marion Motley, the only University of Nevada football player and the second black to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. She graduated from Nevada in 1941, taught Business subjects at Eureka County High School in 1941-1942 and Yerington High School 1942-1943.

Being fluent in French, Phyllis accompanied General Marshall to the June 13, 1944 Roosevelt/Churchill Conference in Quebec. A week after D-Day, Mrs. Roosevelt and Mrs. Churchill sponsored a Tea for the U.S. and Canadian WACs attending the conference. A Canadian WAC was known as a CWAC, pronounced "quack" by the Canadians. Phyllis had a memorable conversation with both hostesses.

In General Marshall's office one of her jobs was to greet each officer to see General Marshall. She would ask the officer for a shoulder patch. Phyllis crocheted 4 ½" x 4 ½" white wool squares and sewed the shoulder patch to a square. When she had completed three squares, she mailed them to her mother in Lovelock. (During the war, service personnel mailed letters for free).

Phyllis' Aunt Hannah was a seamstress and suggested an afghan for the patches. Phyllis with Aunt Hannah's guidance crocheted the squares together with black wool to create a 41 ½" x 64 ½" afghan, The Pentagon Patches.

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Each of the 96 patches represents an Army, Corps, Division, Service Corps, Theatre of Operations, USAAF, Parachute Infantry Regiment, Location of Headquarters, Defense Command or Veterans Administration representing the 16 million men and women of the greatest generation.

Staff Sergeant Anker was discharged on Feb. 18, 1946, returned to Lovelock, had a whirlwind romance, and married Ted Bendure in May 1946. They had three children, Teddy, Fred and Sue. Phyllis taught Business subjects at Carson High School and retired in 1983 after teaching in Nevada for almost 40 years.

Phyllis' family gathered to celebrate birthdays and holidays. She treasured her life experiences and those special moments with her family, She passed away on Aug. 11, 2017 at 98 years and 5 months.

Ken bought The U.S. Army Patch Book. He spent hours identifying each of the 96 patches in Phyllis' afghan.

Quilt Key

BEGINNING IN THE UPPER LEFT CORNER

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36

37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48

49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60

61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72

73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84

85 86 87 8 8 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96

1. Austria Head Quarters US Forces

2. 11th Corps

3. Mediterranean Allied Air Force

4. 4th Army

5. 33rd Infantry Division 6. Alaskan Defense Command

7. Fifteenth Air Force 8. 2nd Army

9. 11th Air Force 10. 32nd Infantry Division

11. Second Air Force 12. 33rd Corps (Phantom)

13. 15th Army Group 14. 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion

15. 6th Service Corps 16. Eighth Air Force

17. 2nd Corps 18. Labrador NE Canada Base Command

19.Glider” target=”_blank”>AgateText”>19.Glider Arty. Cap. Enlisted Men 20. 12th Air Force

21. 95th Infantry Division 22. Ninth Air Force

23. 71st Infantry Division 24. 31st Infantry Division

25. 91st Infantry Division 26. Aviation Cadet (2nd Design)

27. Armored Forces 28. Anti Aircraft Command

29. US Military Academy Staff 30. 4th Service Corps

31. Alaska Defense Command 32. Army Ground For. Replacement Depot

33. Third Air Force 34. 1st Army

35. 100 Infantry Division 36. Army Forces Middle East

37. 442nd Infantry RCT 38. 27th Infantry Division

39. War Department Overhead 40. 81st Infantry Division

41. Sixth Air Force 42. Military District of Washington

43. 101st Airborne Division 44. 24th Calvary Division

45. 8460th Special Weapons Group 46. 66th Infantry Division

47. 7th Infantry Division 48. 36th Infantry Division

49. Veterans Administration 50. 103rd Infantry Division

51. Air Tech. Service Command Europe 52. 5th Service Command

53. Replacement & Schedule Command 54. Rangers

55. China-Burma-India Theatre 56. 1st Service Command

57. Seventh Air Force 58. 70th Infantry Division

59. Fourth Air Force 60. French Foreign Training in US

61. 10 Mountain Division 62. US Army Air Corps

63. 69th Infantry Division 64. Fifth Air Force

65. Allied Forces 66. Thirteenth Air Force

67. 7th Service Command 68. Strategic Air Force Europe

69. Army Ground Forces 70. 3rd Army

71. 34th Infantry Division 72. 6th Army Group

73. 5th Infantry Division 74. 106th Infantry Division

75. Greenland Base Command 76. Persian Gulf Service Command

77. 2nd Service Command 78. 10th Army

79. Fourteenth Air Force 80. 6th Army

81. European Command 82. 29th Infantry Division

83. Command Zone European Theatre Op.

84. 75th Infantry Division

85. Hawaiian Sea Coastal Artillery Bde. 86. 23rd Infantry Division

87. 7th Army 88. Tank Destroyer Forces

89. First Air Force 90. 3rd Service Corps

91. Merit Unit Command 7th Award 92. 5th Army

93. 9th Service Command 94. Twentieth Air Force

95.Far” target=”_blank”>AgateText”>95.Far East Air Forces 96. North African Theatre of Operations