NewsA Veteran's Voice


A Veteran's Voice: Betty Petrie

Posted at 9:44 AM, Oct 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-31 12:50:40-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — It's a 'Veteran's Voice' that can't talk about what she did during World War II. Betty Petrie was a Lt. Junior Grade in the U.S. Naval Reserve working in communications, but due to 'where' she worked, her service was classified.

She marked her 104th birthday on Oct. 29th with a party, a cake and a sharp salute! Betty was a 2nd grade teacher in Salinas, CA when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. In early 1942, she joined the U.S. Naval Reserves as a member of the "WAVES", the 'Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service'. She was a member of one of the first class of recruits and was trained in Iowa, before being sent to Washington DC.

Betty worked out of the Mount Vernon Seminary for Girls, which was purchased by the U.S. Navy and converted into a communications annex. Petrie won't talk about what she did at the facility, but according to declassified documents from the Navy, the building was responsible for code breaking operations.

"It was top secret, everything, everything was top secret," said Petrie, "that's all I'm going to say."

Family, friends, local veterans and members of the community dropped by Brookdale Senior Living to wish Betty a 'Happy Birthday', including Honor Flight Kern County. She was invited to go on a recent flight, but declined, she said, due to her advancing age.

A veteran still dedicated to service and country, after more than 100 years of life!