Born in December 1921 in Mackville, Wisconsin, Bernadette “Bernie” Bachman was the oldest of four children. Losing her father at a young age, life became even more difficult for her family as the effects of the Great Depression hit. She worked odd jobs throughout her teens to help her mother maintain a sustainable life for her and her siblings. When World War II broke out, she felt a sense of urgency to join the effort.
Bachman enlisted in the U.S. Navy and joined the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES), a unit of the U.S. Naval Reserve, in 1944. Completing basic training in New York, she became a dental nurse where she learned prophylaxis surgery and other dental techniques over her two years in the Reserve. She spent time between Bethesda Naval Medical Center (now Walter Reed National Military Medical Center) in Maryland and later the Farragut Naval Training Station in Farragut, Idaho, attending to Marines injured in the war.
After her discharge in 1946, Bachman decided to continue her career pursuits in dentistry. With the GI Bill, an education benefit through the Department of Veteran Affairs, she attended Marquette University and graduated with a degree in dental hygiene. She credited her successful career to the invaluable training she received in the Navy and how her experience during the war made her more compassionate toward others. After receiving her degree, she married and had five children.
She passed away peacefully May 25, 2017 at 95 years old.
We honor her service.
Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay
Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.
It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. All it takes is an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with as much information as you can put together, along with some good photos. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.
Veterans History Project
This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.
Writer: Jaasmine Stephens