From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (African American Women Veterans in and from Kentucky)

Neal, Mary Elizabeth

(born: February 7, 1914  -  died: November 5, 2003) 

Military Branch

Women's Army Corps
U.S. Air Force

Active Duty Entered

March 6, 1945

Active Duty Exit

February 28, 1969

Exit Rank

Master Sergeant


Mary E. Neal was born in Bell County, KY, according to the Kentucky Birth Index (Ancestry). She was the daughter of Ed M. and Anna Bell Pence Neal. The family lived in Winchester, KY when they were enumerated in the 1920 U.S. Census. Mary's father owned a barber shop. The family lived in Georgetown, KY when the 1930 U.S. Census was completed.

In the 1940 Census, Mary Neal was a school teacher in Georgetown. In 1945, when she enlisted in the Army, she was a college graduate living in Cincinnati, OH, according to her enlistment record in Ancestry and the National Archives, Access to Archival Databases. In 1947, she was a First Sergeant of the WAC Squadron at Geiger Field in Spokane, WA. She would go on to become a Master Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force. She served during World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.

After her military service, Neal lived in Universal City, TX. She died in San Antonio, TX in 2003 and is buried in Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.

Sources: "Negroes in the Women's Army Corps," The New York Age, 6/21/1947, p. 7; and Mary Elizabeth Neal at Find A Grave.

[*Not to be confused with Mary E. Neal from Daviess County, KY, who joined the WAC in 1943.]

* Prior to 1947, there was the Army Air Forces. The U.S. Air Force became a separate military service with the National Security Act of 1947. There were women who continued in the Army while performing Air Force duties. In 1948, women in the Women's Army Corps (WAC) were able to transfer to Women in the Air Force (WAF). See Women in the Air Force, an Air University research guide.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Bell County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Clark County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Scott County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Winchester, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Georgetown, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Ancestry (online)
NKAA Source: The New York age (newspaper)

Related Entries Citing this Entry


Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Neal, Mary Elizabeth,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 12, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-05-12 16:16:31