Military Life of Dorothy Elinor (Pasley) Earnshaw

By Mrs. Dorothy Earnshaw, edited by Vida Earnshaw.

(Originally published December 2006)

I joined the Navy June 29, 1944 and attended Boot Camp at Hunter College in New York. Aside from the time I failed to hear the drill instructor’s command, “About Face,” and kept marching straight ahead, in the opposite direction of the entire troop, I do not remember much from Boot Camp.

After boot camp, I was stationed in Norfolk, VA. A fellow WAVE (Janice Bailey) invited me to a Bible study. I accepted the invitation and thus began my involvement with the Navigators, a Christian organization formed to reach military members for Christ. Although I had received Christ at age 11, I began to doubt my salvation. At a bus depot one day, I came across a booklet by Mrs. Oliver Green entitled “What Does It Mean To Believe On The Lord Jesus Christ?” Through reading this booklet, I realized that I had been calling God a liar by doubting His salvation. God, who cannot lie, said “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” Acts 16:31. I fell to my knees in repentance for this sin. The doubts vanished. I now had assurance that I was God’s child and would someday be with Him for eternity! “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” I John 1:9.

God faithfully protected me during my enlistment. My primary duty was to make instructional charts and illustrations. One day, alone in the department, I heard someone call my name. I turned and was startled to see a sailor standing in the doorway wearing only his under shorts. I quickly walked past him, down to the CO’s office and, without giving names, told him of the incident. Every man in the department apologized to me and, from that time, did what they could to protect me.

On another occasion, a WAVE asked me to go to Virginia Beach with her. We were seeking a place to change when two naval officers approached and invited us to use their room. I refused to go to a man’s bedroom, but my companion followed them, deserting me on the beach. A sailor approached saying he had heard what had happened and offered to see me back to the base via public transportation. I agreed. He was a perfect gentleman. I do not know his name and never saw him again. God sent him to watch over me.

I met my dear husband while in the Navy. One evening the Navigators hosted a party at the WAVES barracks. I helped pin crepe paper bows on each attendee. Though he said nothing at the time, when I pinned a bow on one young sailor’s tie, he knew that he would marry me. Today he tells people he got a “permanent WAVE” when we married, one that has lasted 60 years thus far.

I was discharged March 5, 1946 (Seaman 1st Class).