Freedom Fighters: Norma Kee - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Freedom Fighters: Norma Kee


At the age of 94, Norma Kee can look back over a lifetime of accomplishments, not the least of which is serving our country in World War II.

Norma had just turned 21 when the Women's Army Corps was organized. She passed all the requirements with flying colors and was immediately off to basic training in Daytona Beach, Florida. Her next stop was a camp near St. Louis, where flood waters were wreaking havoc on homes built below the camp.

"I was able to rescue a young couple and two children and get them out before the flood could get them," she recalled.

But Norma didn't stay in Missouri long before she was transferred to Stewart Air Force Base in New York. It was there that she had her first airplane rides. One was with a colonel, piloting a small plane.

"I was sitting in the back seat, and his jacket was in the front, and after his second landing, I 'upped' all over his jacket," she remembered.

Norma felt for a few moments like her army career might be over. 

"He said that jackets can always be cleaned," she said.

Airplane rides weren't the only firsts for Norma Stewart. It was there she met a handsome young soldier from Texs, Bob Kee. 

"That was at Stewart Air Force Base, where we met," she pointed out in a photo. "I worked in records and he was a mechanic, so of course, we started dating."

But it wasn't long before the two would be half a world apart. 

"I volunteered for England, and he was sent back to the Pacific."

Norma and the other WACs were trained on rope ladders before boarding the Isle de France, so they could leave the ship if it was torpedoed.

"Everything was blacked out all the time. I thought if something happened, how would I find the rope ladder?"

Norma arrived in Stratford, England during preparations for the Normandy Invasion. Soon after the invasion, she was transferred to the Normandy Coast.

"We lived  in tents and we'd eat in an open field and we were close to an apple orchard so we fought the bees for our food."

Two weeks after its liberation, Norma was sent to Paris.

"I had an office right in the middle of the Champs de Elysee where we got pictures where we could see everything," she remembered.

Norma's photographs from that time include the historic parade of women soldiers and the monumental V-day celebration.

"I stayed in Paris until the war was over," she said.

After the war, Norma returned to Boston, but when Bob Kee invited her to visit Texas, she accepted.

"When it was time to leave he said 'what are you thinking about?' And I said 'I hate to leave' and he said 'well stay here and marry me!'" she remembered.

And that's how Norma became a Texan.

"I was a born-again Christian and a born-again Texan" she laughed.

Norma Kee has called the Concord area home ever since her marriage, and was a Sunday School teacher at the Martins Chapel Church of the Nazarene for 55 years.

A long journey that began so long far away...simply because she wanted to serve her country.

"I was so thankful for the Women's Army Corps that we did do our part of the job during the war effort," Norma said.

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