Fran is shown wearing her DAR medals representing her many patriots of the American Revolution.
Veteran Frances Carlsen was one of the first to approach Norma Eckard to honor a WWI veteran from Brunswick County. Norma, president of the non profit Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range, is leading the project to raise funds for a memorial honoring Brunswick County WWI veterans at the site of the 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range in Caswell Beach. “The 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range provided the troops with training in marksmanship before leaving for France and that itself is a reason to preserve the historical site,” commented Fran.
Fran and her siblings are veterans. Her sister Virginia Reams served for 21 years, first in the US Army Pentagon Motor Pool and then working for the Department of Defense with large newspapers which earned her a position in New York as an information specialist.
Fran’s brother Ralph joined the Army in 1953 and was assigned to Seoul, Korea, in an Engineer Battalion.
Her own career with the military began after high school in the Women’s Army Corps for three years. Following the completion of basic training and Clerical School at Fort McCellan, AL, she was assigned to Fort Myers, VA, working in the Pentagon for Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel and Chief, Research and Development as an Officers records personnel specialist. “Eventually I attained a rank of SP5 (E-5) and once I served my three years I was hired as a civilian worker and remained at the Pentagon until retirement. It was a wonderful career.”
Since retirement, Fran continues to serve with her involvement in “Wreaths Across America” and as chair of the local Naturalization Ceremony held at Southport each year around July 4th.
Fran and her family are from the small town of Brookfield, Missouri. Interestingly, a close neighbor was General Pershing, the leader of the American Expeditionary Forces in France during World War I.
A monument for WWI veterans not only raises awareness of WWI and the Centennial, as well as the 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range, but honors all veterans and their sacrifices.
“By honoring the veterans I’ve chosen from Brunswick County, I’m honoring my brother, sister, and all of those who ever served.”
Frances Jean Reams joined the Women’s Army Corp (WAC) 27 March 1957 for a three-year enlistment. After basic training and Clerical School at Fort McClellan, AL, she was assigned to Fort Myers, VA, April 1958. She worked in the Pentagon for Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel and Chief, Research and Development as an Officers records personnel specialist. While there her other duties were modeling the officers’ white uniform, color guard at special ceremonies, and playing the part of a civilian in the TV show “Your Serviceman in the Nation’s Capital.” Frances obtained the rank SP5 (E-5).
Ralph Lee Reams was inducted into the Army 22 January 1952. He went to Ft Leonard Wood, MO, for basic training and Engineer training. Assigned to Seoul, Korea, July 1953, to the 453d Engineer Battalion, working as the warehouse manager. Was discharged 15 December 1954. Obtained the rank of CPL (E-4).
Virginia Reams was born in Brookfield, MO, to Clarence and Daisy (Foltz) Reams. She joined the Army in March of 1951. After basic training at Fort Lee, VA, she was stationed with the US Army Pentagon Motor Pool. During this time she saw many dignitaries including Winston Churchill, General Davis, General Doolittle, and many others. During a second tour in Germany she worked for one of the 10 largest newspapers under the Dept. of Defense. After returning to the states she was trained in New York as an information specialist. After 21 years she retired from Fort Leonard Wood, MO. She received many honors including the Army Commendation Medal twice. After returning to Brookfield, MO, she was involved in researching genealogy and was well known for this throughout the community.