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First Name: Dorothy

Last Name: Starbuck

Birthplace: Denver, CO, USA

Gender: Female

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: L.

Date of Birth: 17 October 1917

Date of Death: 19 July 1996

Rank: Captain

Years Served:
Dorothy L. Starbuck

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Dorothy L. Starbuck
Captain, U.S. Army

Dorothy L. Starbuck was born on 17 October 1917 in Denver, CO, one of eleven children in her family. She attended public schools and received a Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Loretto Heights College in Denver. She then did graduate work at the University of Denver and subsequently taught elementary school for two years.

She joined the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) in 1942 and was a member of the second officers' class to graduate from Fort Des Moines, IA. Starbuck's next duty station was Lowery Army Airfield, CO, where she was Commanding Officer of a company of photo analysts who were taking and interpreting aerial photographs and who were assigned to the WAAC Photo Detachment Group. Later, she went to Fort Devens, MA, for orientation and training before being shipped to England.

During this time, Dorothy wasn't the only military service member in her family; four siblings also answered their country's call. One of her sisters served in the Marine Corps, two brothers were in the Army - one in Europe, the other in the Pacific - and a third brother was in the Navy. She said that her mother stayed busy writing to her kids all over the world. Dorothy also said that her family was lucky, because they all made it home from the war alive.

At age 27, Captain Starbuck was assigned to the London Headquarters of General Dwight D. Eisenhower. She had a top-secret clearance and worked for Colonel Thurston Hughes, a classmate and good friend of Gen. George S. Patton. Her responsibilities included controlling every document, from every military service, that came into ETUSA (European Theater of Operations, U.S. Army). Those documents included every detail of Operation Overlord, the operation that would launch the invasion of German-occupied Western Europe during World War II by Allied forces. The operation, best known as D-Day, commenced on 6 June 1944, with landings on the Normandy beaches.

Dorothy recalled that Gen. Patton stayed in close contact with Col. Hughes and visited whenever he got the chance, as he wanted Col. Hughes to join his army group. The Colonel told Dorothy later that he had to say, "No Georgie, because about the third time you called me a son-of-a-bitch, I'd have to hit you and you outrank me." Patton was not the only American legend of WWII with whom she came into frequent contact; she also hand-carried secret messages to Patton, Gen. Omar Bradley, and other top military commanders who had to be kept informed.

Later, Starbuck was stationed in Paris where she was involved in the top secret plans to get the Allied troops to Berlin as quickly as possible. She recalls that they were all praying for the day when Germany would surrender, the war in Europe would be over, and they could finally get back to the U.S.

At this point, Dorothy had traveled an interesting road. From Officer's Candidate School at Fort Des Moines to London; then her participation in D-Day plans and watching hundreds of planes make their way toward the English Channel, and onward to France. After that, her work continued in ETUSA in Paris.

As the individual responsible for all secret and top secret documents coming into, or going out of, ETUSA, she was well aware that V-E Day would come in a matter of hours. Yet, she would now celebrate V-E Day in a way she would never have imagined, or freely chosen.

When Parisians and the Allied Military hit the streets to celebrate the surrender of Germany, Dorothy was sick with the flu and confined to her room in a Paris Hotel, on doctor's orders. A group of her friends came by and brought a bottle of Scotch they had been saving to celebrate V-E Day. Although she wasn't sure she could keep it down, they all had a drink and toasted Germany's surrender and, the V-J Day they hoped would come very soon.

Following the war, Dorothy went to work for the U.S. Veterans Administration. In time, she was promoted to Chief Benefits Director of the Department of Veterans Benefits and remained in that position from 1977 to 1985, thereby setting a record for the length of time spent in that office.


On Wednesday, 20 February 1985, the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, U.S. House of Representatives, honored Dorothy L. Starbuck, retiring Chief Benefits Director of the Veterans' Administration.

Dorothy L. Starbuck was a recipient of the AMVETS Silver Helmet Civil Servant-of-the-Year Award, a unique silver replica of the World War II GI helmet‚ The Silver Helmet Award and ceremony recognizes excellence and outstanding accomplishment in the fields of Americanism, defense, rehabilitation, congressional and civil service.

This talented woman who served as a Captain in the Women's Army Corp, and as Chief Benefits Director of the Veterans' Administration, never married.

Death and Burial

Dorothy L. Starbuck died on 19 July 1996. She is buried at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver, CO.

Honoree ID: 3305   Created by: MHOH




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