The volunteer service of American Red Cross women who operated Clubmobiles during World War II has been recognized by the United States Senate.
Resolution 471, approved this week, marks the achievements of Clubmobiles, which traveled across Europe and eventually into the Far East. The Clubmobiles provided hot coffee, fresh donuts and a connection home for hundreds of thousands of servicemen fighting on the frontlines.
A Visit from a Clubmobile
Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) spoke on the U.S. Senate floor on the importance of honoring the Red Cross Clubmobile women of World War II.
“A visit from a Clubmobile was one of the most significant events for a young G.I. in combat far from home, and the women of the Clubmobiles, young women from every single state, acted as friends and sisters to the troops with whom they interacted,” said Senator Collins.
“These women were trailblazers,” she continued. “The dangers of war were real. During the war, 52 Red Cross women lost their lives, some of them from the Clubmobiles. Their stories are those of a nation at war….Their stories are every bit as vibrant and important to our victory as those of the men who valiantly fought to defend our freedom.”
The first Red Cross Clubmobile arrived in France just a few days after the D-Day invasion began, when troops and military equipment were still coming ashore. In July and August of 1944, 80 Clubmobiles and 320 Red Cross volunteers crossed the English Channel. The Red Cross volunteers prepared the coffee and donuts on the converted buses. But these women gave much more than hot drinks and warm food; they were a friendly face, a morale boost and a comfort from home.
“We were standing in the village street in a row serving our coffee and donuts and I was at the end of the line with the coffee dipper. And a G.I. came up to me, a very young guy, a 19-year-old, like a lot of them were, and he said his name was Jerry and he just needed to talk to me,” said Barbara Pathe, a Clubmobile worker with the troops in Germany. “And so he stood there and talked to me the whole time we were serving.… Listening was the biggest thing we did. Nothing else, just listening.”
A Resolution of Recognition
Joined by twelve of Senator Collins’ colleagues, the bipartisan resolution recognizes the self-sacrifice of these women volunteers who worked in the Red Cross Clubmobiles during World War II and honors those women who lost their lives in this service to their country.
The resolution was sponsored by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Joe Lieberman (I/D-CT), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME), James Inhofe (R-OK), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).
“Service to members of the military and their families is a proud and core part of the Red Cross history and of our mission today, and we appreciate this recognition of the tremendous work of these Red Cross volunteers during World War II,” said Sherri Brown, senior vice president, Services to the Armed Forces, American Red Cross.
Today, the Red Cross continues to serve military members, veterans and their families through the Service to Armed Forces (SAF). Members of the Armed Forces can count on the Red Cross to help in times of crisis, access to financial assistance in partnership with military aid societies, as well as programs for the country’s veterans.
For more information, visit the Service to the Armed Forces page.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies more than 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.