WWII Veteran honored for service, breaking barriers


A Veteran who helped break the German code during WWII was honored in Washington D.C.

Dolores Brennan was the only female veteran on the 17th Central Valley Honor Flight. She served in the Navy WAVES and was based in Washington D.C. She worked in what she called a ‘little machine shop.’ 

“I did soldering and a punch press and a few other things,” she explained, “All day we would put these little devices together, I didn’t know what I was doing.”

Her assignment was top secret. 

“They said under the threat of death and being charged with treason you don’t talk to anybody about this, you don’t even talk to the people you’re working with!” Brennan recalled.

She later learned those devices would be used to build a Bombe machine that decoded secret German messages.

“We broke the German code! We turned the whole war around by sinking more of their submarines.”

At 95 years old, Brennan returned to Washington with the Central Valley Honor Flight in October 2018. During a visit to the Women’s Memorial, Brennan walked into a room with her picture on the wall and a portfolio, detailing her service. Linda Martin Phillips with the Central Valley Honor Flight put the surprise together.

“You broke those barriers for the women in those early years and you allowed us modern day women to do so much,” Phillips told Brennan as she gave her the portfolio.

“Thank you so much Dolores for what you did.”

Phillips was a decorated pilot and Lt. Colonel in the Air Force for 20 years.

“She stepped forward for those few years and she proved that women could be in the military and had roles that they could play,” Phillips said. 

Brennan now lives in Galt.

Central Valley Honor Flight:

The Central Valley Honor Flight is made possible by volunteers and community donations. Each veteran attends for free, a trip valued at $1,500. Over 60 veterans attended the 17th flight.

If you would like to donate, volunteer or sign-up for a future Honor Flight, click here.

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