Juanita Barefield Rodriguez
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Juanita Barefield Rodriguez
  • May 24, 1920 - January 23, 2016
  • Arvin, California

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Born May 24, 1920 in a very small farming community in Oklahoma called Delhi. Mom grew up working the fields and even at the age five she was standing hay stocks five times her size. She had three older siblings, Mary, Lucy and Walter. As a young girl, and her older brother Walter use to have fun on the roof of their house by sliding down it and having lots of wonderful days riding old Mack their horse through the fields. Mom said even though they were so poor she always enjoyed school and just being with her family.

Then in 1942, it was time to find a job. Mom was to meet up with two other friends at the local bus stop, but they didn't show up. So she boarded the bus all by herself and the first time she left home headed for Tarrant Field Airdrome (Carswell Air Base, Fort Worth, Texas) where Consolidated Aircraft Co. was located and got a job putting components in bombs. After a year, she joined the Women's Air Core. She was sent to an administrating school to learn to be a clerk typist. Her first assignment in 1943 was London England where she worked for the Quartermaster office. She worked and slept in a bunker the whole time she was there. Mom mention they had to gear up with fatigues, headgear and huge backpacks just like the men did when she was shipped to England. They were expected to carry their own weight and they did. They had to even learn to put on gas masks and experience being gassed. She spent a year in England and then was transferred to Paris France.

What was so delightful of Mom's new office, she had the magnificent views of the 'Arc de Triomphe' and 'Place Charles de Gaulle'. Can you imagine what that must have been like for a little gal from Oklahoma? It was 'Place Charles de Gaulle' where her troop and others marched down during parades. In 1945, she was lucky to witness the mass celebrations of V-E Day in the streets of Paris. When it was time for the demobilization of military, Mom received her Honorable Discharge after servicing 2 years, 2 months, and 6 days. She earned the EAME Campaign Medal, Victory Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Women's Air Core Medal, Honorable Service Lapel Button, and three Overseas Bars along with $100.
When the time came to head home, the troops were transported to Scotland where she boarded the RMS Queen Mary the Grey Ghost, to sail home. It was an interesting trip since she said they had 4 women in a closet with bunks lining each side of the walls, it was especially hard for the unlucky ones that had the top bunks and was comical to watch them climb. Sadly as big as the Grey Ghost was, she said many of the women and men were often seasick. So you had to be careful where you stepped. What was discerning with so many men on board, the female troops had armed guards escorting them at all times wherever they had to go. Yet, everyone was just happy to go home.

Once home safely, she stayed for some time till it was time to move on again and found work at Tinker AFB, OK, but close enough to visit her family. It was here she met my Dad. They dated off and on for two years till they tied the knot and settled in. One story told when my Dad was temporarily working at a base in New Mexico and since he didn't have a car, he would hitchhike to Tinker or Delhi to see Mom. Some Marines picked him up along the way on one of her trips and when they stopped to grab a bite and a beer, the restaurant wouldn't serve my Dad because he was an Indian and they didn't serve Indians or anyone of color. He was use to eating in the back of the kitchen, back kitchen steps, or to just get the food to go. My Dad was use to it and didn't want trouble. Yet, the Marines on the other hand were not happy treating a fellow soldier like that and almost started a brawl. They all were eventually served. Not soon after that, Dad bought a car.

My Dad was a self-taught guitarist. He could play beautifully. At one point my dad and mom had broke up. So he wanted to win her back, so he traveled to where Mom was visiting he Momma in Delhi. He serenaded my mom outside her home and won her heart back. My Grandma Barefield told my Mom she better marry that boy!

Marriage continued blissfully with my sister Cynthia who was born in Tinker AFB, Oklahoma, and Monica at Shaw AFB, South Carolina and me, at Edwards AFB, California. Mom was a strong women her life, especially when she had to raise three daughters and grandchildren after my Dad's passing 1972. She continued to work till her retirement in 1979 from being the Supply Manager for the Army Helicopter Squadron Bldg. 1820 (the very building I work in now for the F35's) and she had over 20 years of Government Service. She was 95 and 8 months on 23 Jan 2016. She was always thankful for being so healthy her whole life and having a loving family!

She is preceded in death by her beloved husband Nicholas G. Rodriguez, and daughter Cynthia M. Cooper. Surviving daughter Denise and her husband John Boose, and grandsons Nicholas and Nathan Boose of Tehachapi, surviving daughter Monica and her husband Michael Graham of Warner Springs, CA, granddaughter Shannon and her husband Michael McMahon, great grandchildren Michael, Tally, Beren, and one more soon to be of Mae Sot, Thailand. Grandson Jimmy Ross III of Tehachapi. Granddaughter Chanti and her husband Terri Groh, great grandchildren Drisana Cooper, Tyler, and Lilly Groh of

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