Written by Anthony Dobrini Thursday, 24 July 2014 00:00
U.S. Navy Veteran Wendy Linden is incredibly modest when talking about her three years in the service.
“I did nothing heroic,” says the Levittown resident, “but these men around me, they have done amazing things.”
Linden signed up for the U.S. Navy in 1983 after receiving some motivation from her cousin, who had been involved with the Blue Angels. As a Long Island native, she had hoped to be stationed close to home. Her “wish list” included several ports, from New England all the way to the Brooklyn Navy Yard... but instead she was sent to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
“It was beautiful — but the furthest place from where I wanted to be,” she said.
Linden worked as a boatswain’s mate — a title given to the sailor responsible for painting, repairing, and swabbing the deck — on the USS Prairie (AD-15).
At the time it was the oldest commissioned ship aside from the USS Constitution in Boston. She worked under Lieutenant Kathleen McGrath, who would later go on to be the first woman to command a U.S. Navy warship.
“She was a great inspiration to me,” Linden said.
After completing her service, Linden moved back to Long Island to pursue her education and career in nursing. As a veteran she was able to take advantage of educational benefits and a Veteran’s Affair loan helped her buy a house in Levittown.
Linden became involved with the American Legion Post #1711 last year and is the only female member in its ranks. It has given her the opportunity to remain active in the community after her children have grown up.
“I think its important for people to know when they separate from the military, that they are not alone,” she said. “[The American Legion] is full of amazing people. They welcomed me with open arms.”
This year, Linden was given the opportunity to experience marching in the Memorial Day parade alongside fellow members of the Legion, which reminded her just how patriotic the residents of Levittown truly are.
“Seeing them standing and applauding to say thank you to these incredible men is fantastic,” she said.
Anyone, men or women, can become a member of Legion #1711 as long as they or a loved one had served during an active war era or is currently in active duty today. Meetings take place on the first and third Friday of the month at 8 p.m. at 3125 North Jerusalem Road in Levittown.