Beatrice Cohen (then Abrams) was born in 1910 in Romania and immigrated to the United States in 1920. When the U.S. entered World War II, she took a job at Douglas Aircraft in Santa Monica, California, where she worked as a real-life Rosie the Riveter. In 1943, turning down a 5-cent an hour pay raise at Douglas, she joined the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC), which soon became the WAC. On “D-Day” June 6, 1944, PFC Abrams arrived in Great Britain and was stationed at Elveden Hall outside London, where she mimeographed top-secret documents and worked KP duty. In 1945 she returned to Los Angeles, California, where she met her future husband, Ray Cohen, a marine who was returning from internment at a Japanese prison camp where he’d spent three years following his capture at Corregidor in the Philippines.
After serving her country in uniform as an Army WAC, Beatrice (Abrams) Cohen spent more than 70 years supporting U.S. military organizations and charities and clocked thousands of hours volunteering for causes that helped bring comfort and joy to former service personnel. She also dedicated 35 years to the National Ladies Auxiliary of the Jewish War Veterans helping children with cerebral palsy. At the time of her death in 2015 at the age of 105, she had been the oldest living female veteran in California.
This remembrance provided by her daughter, Janiece Cohen.
VIDEO: “Remembering Bea Cohen” (2015)
Photos of Beatrice Abrams Cohen and fellow WACs during World War II:
(Click thumbnails to view full photo in slideshow)
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