World War II Army Nurse Corp Veteran Doris M. (Gardner) Howard

Poppy Co-Grand Marshal, Reno Veterans Day Parade 🇺🇸

Reno's Veterans Parade Grand Marshal Survived Overseas Bombing in WWII (video→)

One of the Grand Marshals of this year's City of Reno Veterans Day Parade is Doris Howard, an Army Corps nurse and lieutenant who served during WWII. A lot of her time in the service is documented in a scrapbook.

I would say please try and work hard for peace; that's number one. They say that war is hell and it is. Too many broken bodies.
Parade

99 year-old WWII Nurse Doris Howard, receives recognition for her service

Today, the city of Reno gave her the honor of being the Grand Marshall of the Veterans Day Parade through downtown Reno. (video→)

Mayor Hillary Schieve even honored this Veterans Day as "Doris Howard's Day" by proclamation.

Parade
Parade Poster
City of Reno Events page for more information.
Parade Poster
99½-year-old celebrating 100 years of Armistice Day and 100 years of the American Legion (she joined in San Francisco in 1945).
Veterans Day Parade Portrait by John Knott

On November 1, 2019, Doris received her WW2 medals for the first time, courtesy Starlyn Lara, Northern Nevada Veterans Resource Center, Reno. They were ordered through son Bill's studies with the State of Nevada Veterans Services Nevada Veterans Advocate certification, but they weren't to come until May 2020, well into Doris' 100th year. Starlyn made sure Doris would have them for the parade.

These are:

medals

Those are quite large and heavy, used for display purposes, so Brigadier General Ondra L. Berry, Assistant Adjutant General, Nevada Air National Guard, will present the "rack" pictured below to Doris at the start of the parade. Mayor Schieve will also make a proclamation as the day, 11/11, will henceforth be known as Doris Howard Day and Doris will receive a key to the Biggest Little City.

That evening, Doris will attend the AUSA Westmoreland Chapter Annual Veterans Day Dinner. Jenny and Jack Logan, current and past presidents, were instrumental in the plans for General Berry's participation in the presentation of Doris' medals.

Doris says:

I am so very grateful for the overwhelming parade of honors I am receiving. And especially to Linda Dickerson of Reno Nevada Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 989 for her kind nomination.

I am deeply honored to represent all Northern Nevada veterans who have given so much so selflessly in the service of their country.

And it is such an honor to be Co-Grand Marshall with Ionnis Lourgaris who had done so much for veteran's healthcare throughout the region for so many decades which has resulted in this marvelous VA hospital we are all so proud of."

rack
RGJ article
proclamation
Doris on the USS Comfort

1st Lt. Doris Gardner, RN

U. S. ARMY Nurse Corps

Aboard the USS Comfort

San Pedro, California
April 1944

Age 23

Attacked by kamikaze
April 1945

Story: Aboard the USS Comfort, April 1945 →

Doris Howard, RN, retired

Change of Command Ceremony

USNS Comfort

Baltimore, Maryland
July 2010

Age 90

Story: Aboard the USNS Comfort, 2010 →

Comfort 2010

Newspaper Clippings

Doris in RnRLife stories: A new program documents the lives of local veterans
Reno News and Review
August 1, 2019

I was so honored when my VA doctor, Helena Russell, whom I love, suggested I speak with the My Life/My Story people. Then I got to meet Christina Burr and we became fast friends. There couldn't be a more perfect person, it seems to me, to be at the helm of this wonderful program. She's been a soldier, knows what it's like to be in service to our county and knows what it takes to navigate the corridors of the many VA programs that benefit those who gave so much.

I not only got to know wonderful Chrysta through this program, but it was so good for me to get the whole story of my fascinating time in the war out finally, 75 years later. I left the war unexpectedly with an honorable discharge and went home, but no one in my family wanted to hear the many things I had been through and no one else had come back from the war yet, so there was no one to talk to. I moved to San Francisco within a month to be near some of the nurses from the Comfort. But they had families starting. The VA in San Francisco told me they didn't care for women, but I could go down to Palo Alto, a long way away. So I just let the years go by, tending to my own family and let go of the war years, though I remember every minute as if it were yesterday.

Now, all of a sudden, since I started my story with Chrysta, many people want to hear it. At 99, this is something new for me! And it's opened many doors with organizations I'm now associated with and I re-started my application for Service Connected Disabilities for a third and hopefully final time with the help of people I met through this program. It truly has been life-changing for me. So very grateful.

Do take a look at this wonderful article and the amazing stories My Life/My Story is capturing.

Reno Gazette Journal article, Memorial Day 2019

Memorial Day clipping

Reno Gazette Journal article, July 14, 2010

newspaper

Reno Nurse, 90, Recalls Kamikaze Attack on Hospital Ship, page 1 [pdf]

Reno Nurse, 90, Recalls Kamikaze Attack on Hospital Ship, page 2 [pdf]

Doris on the Floor of the Nevada State Assembly

Howard introduced as a special guest by Assembly Member Chris Edwards of Las Vegas

Military & Veterans Day, 3/20/2019

Three days before her 99th birthday
The "60th celebration of her 39th birthday," as Assembly Member Edwards put it


I was excited to be at the Legislature to honor veterans on Military Day. When Assemblyman Edwards got up to speak and mentioned someone special he wanted to introduce, I looked around anxious to see who this might be.

When I heard my name I was floored! I wanted to crawl under his desk! One of my hearing aids went out and I wasn't able to hear all he said, but then I was really astonished when the clapping started and I looked up and there everyone was on their feet! For me!

And then I realized that they were clapping for all the veterans of Nevada, old and young, female and male, all those who gave so selflessly to give so much to our country. I, too, thank each and every veteran and am so grateful for their service, their sacrifice and that of their families.

A big thank you to Assemblyman Edwards who was great to speak with that day and who did a wonderful job of researching my life and recounting it in a unique and humbling way.

It was wonderful to see so many people. I've never shaken so many hands in my life! A lot of people took photos with me near my biography and portrait in the lobby of the Admin building with 13 other wonderful women veterans. I was delighted to see all of them.

Recap of the day in the Nevada Department of Veteran Services article,
"If It's Veterans and Military Day, It Must Be Carson City."

99th Birthday, 3/2019

99th Birthday 1 99th Birthday 2 99th Birthday 4

VA My Life/My Story with Reno Is Artown

Doris honored with 13 other women whose life and stories were presented by the Reno VA My Life/My Story, with portraits by the photography group, in association with Reno is Artown, May 2018, age 98.

Interim Secretary of Veterans Affairs O'Rourke and Disabled American Veterans [DAV] National Commander Metcalf-Foster in attendance.

My Life/My Story 2 My Life/My Story 3

Challenge Coin Collection

The story of Challenge coins goes back to WWI when a lieutenant minted special coins for all those in his unit as a symbol of unity and loyalty. A member of this unit was mistaken for a German saboteur and presented his coin to French soldiers as proof of his allegiance to the Allies. Because of the coin, his life was spared. Other members in his unit then started always carrying their coin.

Today the Challenge coins are an important part of unofficial military honors. Many military and veteran organizations have their own coins and even NCOs and officers will create their own coins to hand out to persons they respect or want to recognize.

It is my honor to have been able to give Doris one of our Chapter coins.
— Linda Dickinson, Past President
Vietnam Veterans of America, Sierra Nevada Chapter 989

VA Coin VA Coin Flip VVA Coin VVA Coin Flip

Doris is proud to be have memberships and associations with

AUSA MOAA American Legion Together We Served Rally Point
VA Adopt A Vet
No. NV Vets Resource Center No. NV Vets Resource Center
license plate WW2RN

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