MONIQUE BATSON — Women veterans gather to form Port Arthur group

Published 12:06 am Friday, June 9, 2023

Rosalind Queen was 28 when she enlisted in the U.S. Army.

“At that time, I was probably the oldest member joining the military, which didn’t bother me because I was healthy and I was physical,” she said. “I could keep up with the 18 year olds.”

So much, she said, rumors began circulating she had been sent there to spy. But her focus was on her future.

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“I was there to grow myself intellectually and to get the education that I knew I could get through the government,” she said.

She achieved her dreams of becoming a nurse who now holds a Ph.D.

Yet she still served for more than 20 years.

“I enjoyed my time in the military,” she said. “I really didn’t want to get out, but health conditions forced me to.”

During a recent trip to Washington D.C., Mayor Thurman Bartie was visiting with members of the military when he learned there were groups across the nation devoted to women veterans.

He brought the information back, and two months ago six women joined to create PALMS — Port Arthur Linking Military Sisters.

On Tuesday, they were formally recognized by the City of Port Arthur with a proclamation naming June 12, 2023, the inaugural Women Veterans Day in Port Arthur.

“It was awesome to get that proclamation from the city,” Queen said. “Because as female veterans, we don’t get recognized as much as men. It’s like we’re missing in action. That’s why we brought up the Triple Eight.”

Queen’s reference is to the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion — a predominantly Black female Army unit formed in 1943 and deployed overseas during World War II, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The more than 800 women sorted millions of letters.

“Without females, a lot wouldn’t get done,” Queen said. “Having been sent out of the country, it’s really important that you get mail. It doesn’t matter where we got it from.”

Following the proclamation, councilmembers — most veterans — each addressed the members of PALMS to thank them for their service.

“I’m a veteran as well,” said Councilman Kenneth Marks. “How appropriate that this comes on June 6, on the day we celebrate D-Day and the Normandy invasion. We can’t take freedom for granted. You did not take freedom for granted and served your country. You are still serving your country and your community.”

Queen said PALMS will host a large celebration June 12 at the Pavilion downtown beginning at 10 a.m. All veterans from Port Arthur, whether female or not, are invited.

June 12 is nationally celebrated as Women Veterans Day.

Monique Batson is Port Arthur Newsmedia editor. She can be reached at