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’Be All That You Can Be!’ -- Author Shares Her Rocky, Personal Journey in the ’All Man’s Army’


LABELLE, Pa. and BROWNSVILLE, Pa. - “Be All You Can Be in the Army,” was the captivating slogan that drew author H. Lenora Byrd to join the army. However, she discovered that the only way she could achieve this feat was to be a white, authoritative male. WAC Major: Herstory; A Black Woman in the White Man’s Army follows the author’s rocky journey into a male-oriented arena and the lessons she learned from it. She uses “Herstory” in the title to reflect the opposite of “History.”

This book relates life at a glance of an unknown black female, army-noncommissioned officer and Military Police commissioned officer, who served her country honorably for twenty-one years and had to settle for less than excellence. WAC Major: Herstory; A Black Woman in the White Man’s Army, is one of few books to tell the humiliating defeats and triumphant victories of a gay, black, feisty woman as a member of the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) and the all male army during 1961-1965 and 1971-1989. How did a young, black female become so mystified and gullible by the captivating slogan: “Be All You Can Be in the Army,” only to discover that it’s an “all man’s Army”? Why did this woman insist on continuing this rocky journey in a male combat-oriented arena, which believed in the 60s, 70s and even today that women don’t belong in the military? The author reveals these answers and highlights her personal awareness and spiritual growth in the process.

WAC Major: Herstory; A Black Woman in the White Man’s Army covers incidents, thoughts, and lessons learned that were documented in her journal throughout the years. This serious and down-to-earth autobiography depicts the author’s candid flair and amusing tone, whose main theme is to shed light on human potential and spiritual growth. The author believes that “there comes a time in our lives that we must reflect on who we used to be, who we are now, and how we got here from there. In order to survive in this Promised Land, we must be resilient, have faith in a higher being, be aware of, and accept who we are and why we are here. As we each find our place in the world, we be all that we can be and the best that we can be despite obstacles that may be placed in our paths.”

Lenora served twenty-one years in the army as a noncommissioned officer for four years and as a commissioned officer for seventeen years. She began her military journey in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) in 1961 as a Private First Class. Despite continuously struggling during her military journey, she successfully ended her army career as a military police officer and retired as a major in 1989. She stopped working, began writing her book in 1995, completed her draft in 1998, and finally decided to publish her book in 2006. This is Lenora’s first book, which portrays her intimate military journey with a candid flair and an innate passion for writing. Her military autobiography covers incidents, thoughts, and lessons learned that she documented in her journal throughout the years. She graduated from California University of Pennsylvania (CUP) with a BS in social work, an MEd in secondary guidance counseling/consulting, and a certificate of completion in multimedia technology. Lenora has performed as a professional musician (bass player) and vocalist and as a semiprofessional softball player during her travels in the military. She is also writing her second book, which covers her continued struggling and spiritual experiences after retiring from the army. She is presently a 66-year-old who is a caregiver for her 87-year-old mother, who has Alzheimer’s. She sends out a special “thank you” to her high school classmates and army comrades who inspired her to publish this book.


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