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Former Miss Barksdale shipped out for ugly duty in World War II - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Former Miss Barksdale shipped out for ugly duty in World War II

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KEITHVILLE, La -
Part of the war effort that brought victory for the Allies in Europe 69 years ago was Dorothy Kneipp.  She was one of many army nurses treating our wounded soldiers. But before shipping out, she had a more glamorous title at Barksdale Air Field.

She opens an old scrapbook, revealing a gorgeous young lady in a bathing suit and crown.

"That's you as Miss Barksdale?" her visitor asks.

"Yep," she says.

The year was 1944.  And Dorothy would soon trade that swimsuit for a military uniform as part of the Army Nurse Corp.

Still flipping through the scrapbook, she finds a newspaper clipping with her picture.  "Here's some publicity about me going overseas," she says.

But dorothy says the crown meant nothing as she shipped out for war.  
 
"I was just one of many. I didn't have time to think about that.  With a bunch of women, they're a bunch of cats. You can't brag about anything like that," she said with a laugh.  

However, her war duty got off to a sad start.

"My daddy died the day I sailed. I didn't know it for six weeks," Dorothy says solemnly. "The Red Cross finally found me in France and told me by telegram." 

She says her father suffered from emphysema.

"I cried for about two days and I got over it because it was so busy. You don't have time to fret about your own misery," she remembers.

Dorothy and the other nurses were busy in their field hospital, treating badly wounded soldiers coming off the battlefield.

"They were so young. And that's kind of hard to see the casualties," she said.

Dorothy's husband, Bill, was also serving in the war, based in Cairo. They reunited back in Bossier when all the battles were over and raised a family with two boys.  One of them went into the Navy.  And two of Dorothy's grandsons have made the military their career.

Widowed now for ten years, Dorothy still finds a way to help those in hospitals and others in nursing homes.  She stuffs pillows for them.

"Oh, it's fun to come up here," she says, dropping another stuffed pillow into her basket, as she and about 20 other retirees gather at their monthly pillow ministry at Grawood Baptist Church in Keithville.  Dorothy is still living up to the words her father said 70 years ago when she joined the military. 
"Like my daddy said, 'It's your country. You've got to help. Everybody pitches in.'" 
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