U.S. Navy - Korea, Cold War Era, Yeoman 2nd Class
WAVE - Women Accepted Voluntary Emergency.
Duty Station - Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
The brothers of Elaine Korbas Repasch, center, also served in the military. They include, from the top and clockwise: Joseph Korbas, U.S. Navy; Anthony Jr., U.S. Navy; Adolph “Dola”, U.S. Navy; Clemens, U.S. Navy; John, U.S. Navy; Walter, U.S. Army.
Medals and Awards - Korean Service, Good Conduct
Married - Joseph Repasch on June 30, 1956
Children - Son. Joseph born in 1958.
Grandchildren - Derrick and Skyler
Her military family - Brothers Joseph, World War II, U.S. Navy; Walter, World War II, U.S. Army; Anthony Jr., World War II, U.S. Navy; John, World War II, U.S. Navy; Adolph (Dola) World War II, U.S. Navy; Clemens, 1948, U.S. Navy.
Elaine Repasch was born on Dec. 12, 1931, in Brooks Memorial Hospital in Dunkirk. Her homestead on 29 N. Ocelot St. housed 10 children. Her parents Anthony and Julia (Maziarz) Korbas raised the family of 10 children while her father worked at the Dunkirk Radiator Co. on Middle Road in Dunkirk. Julia was a stay-at-home mother. She took care of the home and every one of her ten children.
The Korbas family did its share of protecting our country when it went to war. In the family of six brothers, which included Joseph, Walter, Anthony Jr., John, Adolph (Dola) and Clemens, all proudly served.
Repasch served during the Korean and Cold War eras. The other children Shirley (Edwards), Josephine (Smith) and Mildred (Kubasik) were home each day with their eyes glued to the newspaper and ears to the radio.
Repasch and her sisters constantly wrote to their brothers. The Ocelot Street home was one of the few on the street that could house a family of 12. When asked how her home was laid out Repasch explained it was a large home. The second floor had an extremely large room where the boys all had room for each one having his own bed. The downstairs floor had a room large enough for three girls and another small room for older sister, Shirley. The last of the bedrooms belonged to her parents.
In order to feed the whole family meant all of the girls were constantly cooking and baking. All were close in age and got along extremely well. She claimed her mom was a saint who always cared for each and everyone of her siblings. She had her 10th child by the age of 38. The family was extremely close.
The entire Korbas family attended St. Hyacinth's Catholic School. During the winter, the family would go ice skating at the Pangolin Street skating rink that the city constructed. Summers were spent playing baseball games and at Wright Park Beach swimming and doing other summer sports.
Repasch attended Dunkirk High School and graduated with the class of 1950. In her high school days one could find her either on the volleyball court, the archery course or the tennis court. She loved sports and when the class could round up enough girls to play softball the games went on.
When she was in high school, she landed a job at Fedyszyn's Family Market on Lake Shore Drive to help her family. The job consisted of stocking the shelves and pricing the canned food. She recalled the first Fedyszyn market near Wright Park Drive and it eventually moved to its later location on Ocelot and Lake Shore Drive.
After graduation in 1950, she landed a job that gave her a 40-hour work week. Her job was as inspector at the Van Raalte Clothing Factory. She also later held another job with the Dunkirk OBSERVER.
After work, she was always on the go with friends, Dolores Kokocinski, Rita and Betty Bialaszewski, Dorothy Jakuboski, Patricia Janoski, Loraine Damian and Louise Lokietek. One could see this group at all the local dances, the movies or just hanging out in the summer at the beaches or Point Gratiot. They got tan and listened to their transistor radios.
When the summer heat vanished and the leaves started to fall, the group gathered at places like the Sweet Shop on Lake Shore Drive East, across the street from No. 10 Industrial High School. They never missed any high school dances.
When the group decided it was time to try newer places they found Alvin's Hideaway. This was a small coffee shop that was secluded and you would never know who you would see there when you came. To most, it was just a little ahead of its time for Dunkirk. It later became a must place for all teenagers to see.
In 1952, her friends were moving on with their lives and she noticed that nothing exciting was going on in hers. The area seemed quiet and she needed some zest in her life. She needed something different to do. She decided that she wanted to join the Navy and become a Navy WAVE.
After a few meetings with the local Navy recruiter and passing many pre-enlistment tests, it was found that Repasch would get to serve her country the best by becoming a U.S. Navy Yeoman.
After saying goodbye to all her best friends and family she was on her way at her government's expense to Brainbridge, Md. At the completion of her 12-week boot camp, she was awarded as an honored recruit of her boot camp class. She left Brainbridge a Class A Yeoman.
She was amazed to find out the Navy requested her to be assigned to the Arlington, Va., barracks as she opened her first official first set of U.S. Navy orders. This Navy duty station which supplied Naval personnel to the Pentagon had all the official and necessary equipment to protect our country if ever needed to keep our country free. Her assignment was in the Navy map room.
Working at the Pentagon wasn't a job that after the interview you started to work, not so for Repasch or anyone else who received assignment to this building.
She recalled an eight-hour day of nonstop paperwork and background checks with agents from the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation). After her first day of intense investigation, she realized most of the building had already left and the other sailors she came with were gone. As she opened the door to her office she saw this hallway as long as two football fields. Then she realized that she couldn't remember which way or entrance she came in.
After walking the halls of the inner hallway she met a lady and asked for directions on just how to get out of his monstrous building. As the lady led her to the exit, she was relieved to finish and get her through her first day.
Part of her duties in the map and photo unit were to locate and present to any qualified requester, on a need to know basis. Maps could be requested from any of our military installations or any country in the world associated with the day-to-day operation of the Pentagon. Maps were kept in the map room, a room that had maps of the entire world and all military installations.
Repasch worked in the map room for 3 1/2 years. She recalled people from the Secretary of Defense, Naval admirals, Marine generals and world dignitaries who came into he map room to not only tour but with the proper paperwork received the map they requested.
After working hours, there was a lot to take in. To Repasch, her years working in the Arlington barracks was like a nonstop vacation. Touring the Washington, she did not miss anything.
She recalled taking one full Saturday off to spend the entire day in one of the museums. Not worrying about missing something else due to time, she recalled touring all the monuments and museums. During the cherry blossom season she got to see all the world dignitaries who were touring the city.
A great place for military personnel to hang out, talk about their careers and their hometowns was at the Fort Meyer Enlisted Man's Club. They also talked about how life was for them growing up while they had a few drinks and enjoyed a band and danced. It was a safe, clean place to just kick back and enjoy the time off she had in the military.
When I asked about being a WAVE in the military, her reply was that the WAVES had their own barracks. They did have their watches and weekend duties. When asked about the rules being different from the men Navy rules a few came her mind. One was that the women's hair could touch the neck but couldn't touch the cover for a military hat. Another rule was the women had was the length of their skirt. There were no exceptions to this rule. Other rules were in regards to the amount of perfume, the types of rings, necklaces and other types of jewelry she could wear.
When 1956 came around she had her three years, 11 months and 28 active duty days of service to our country at the Pentagon. In June, she married Joseph Repasch who immediately received an assignment to Saudi Arabia.
In 1960, she returned home to Dunkirk and worked at the Fredonia State College for 33 years and retired on April 1, 1994. She now loves to stay home and enjoys playing Bingo.
When I do a story, I have the chance to actually go back in time and relive some of those precious moments those veterans lived. I could relate to being on a ship, flying on a helicopter and walking a patrol with a Marine unit, but working in the Pentagon really fascinated me.
The thought of being approved to work in this building had to say quite a lot about Repasch's knowledge and background. Stories like hers are interesting because it lets the readers know that everyone in the military isn't out there on the front lines and out there in combat. Yet the job's being done are just as important and could save precious lives. A job like hers is only one of thousands that people do while serving our country.
So little is said about all those who served, and by their jobs helped those one in 10 who were in harm's way. Another local hero who had just done her job. Elaine (Korbas) Repasch is our Hero of the Week as well as all of her brothers.