Nan M. Everhart was born August 9, 1915 in Frederick, Maryland and came from a long family history of military service to the United States. Some ancestors were in the American Revolutionary War including the Battle of Cowpen and with General George Washington at the British surrender at Yorktown. During the Civil War, Nan’s great grandfather fought and was wounded at the Battle of Gettysburg serving as a Captain in the Union Army. With World War I, her father was a Captain with the Dental Corps. Years later during the Second World War, Nan’s older brother served in the US Army. Nan knew she had to carry on her family tradition so with the encouragement of her father she chose to enter the Women’s Army Corp (WAC) after graduation from college with a law degree.
At Fort Myer, Virginia, Nan Everhart was sworn into the WAAC on October 23, 1942. Her active duty began December 1, 1942 and a commission of Lieutenant received February 1943 in Des Moines, Iowa. Nan served at the WAC Branch # 7 Administration School in Alpine, Texas as an instructor then as an assistant director of administration. Part of her duties was to observe and report any unusual or questionable behavior among women recruits. Later in 1944 she went to Camp Bowie in Texas and then on to Brownwood, Texas. During this time she worked in purchasing, as an assistant to Judge Advocate and as an auditor in the finance department. Her next post was Dallas, Texas to the 8th Corps Headquarters until December 1944. Nan was ordered to attend Adjutant General’s School at Ft. Sam Houston, Texas. After completion of the training she did recruitment in Austin, Texas.
By the summer of 1945, Nan was stationed in Albuquerque, New Mexico and served as an Adjutant to the Army Recruiting Office. With the end of the war in August 1945 Nan took her discharge from the Army in October 1945. In civilian life she worked at the Santell Veteran Administration in California. By October 1946 she so missed her service and travel experiences in the WAC that she reenlisted in the WAC and was assigned to 39 Whitehall Street in New York as an Adjutant in the Army Recruiting Office.
In early 1947 Nan was sent overseas to Europe in the Army of Occupation. She received the (temporally) rank of Captain in the Army of the United States on June 12, 1947. Her first post was in Upper Austria as an assistant to the Judge Advocate. She also served on the defense council on the General Court-Martial Board. During this time there were many unusual and different military cases presented before the Court-Martial Board that she worked. In early 1948 Nan handled the Travel Bureau of the Army Headquarters in Vienna, Austria. During her time in Europe she did get to travel to several countries and saw first hand the destruction that war does to the land and to its people. The thousands of displaced Europeans broke everyone’s heart. By the summer of 1948 she was stationed back in the United States.
In August 1948 Nan applied for a regular Army Commission. She was sworn in as a Captain in the Reserve of the Women’s Army Corps. Nan Everhart was the first woman in the State of Maryland to receive a Captain’s Commission.
Her decorations and citations included World War II Victory Medal, the American Theater Campaign Ribbon, the WAAC Medal, and the Army Occupation Medal Germany. Nan always felt she had served her country well.
In October 1948 she was stationed to Fort Lee in Virginia to WAC Training Battalion as an adjutant and then to the Judge Advocates Office at Fort Lee. On Election Day, November 1948 she met U.S. Air Force Capt. Harry Kershaw, Jr. through mutual friends. Via many phone calls, visits and letters they fell in love and decided to marry. Nan took her final discharge from the U. S. Army on March 17, 1949. They married on April 27, 1949 in Florida.
Nan remained connected to the military through her husband’s service in the Air Force until he retired in June 1956. Years later, 1989-1994, Nan was active in the Veteran Organizations of Flagler Beach, Florida.
Nan passed away on July 10, 1994 in Flagler Beach at the age of 78 years and 11 months. On July 26, 1994 with family and friends present a full military honors funeral was held at Arlington National Cemetery where she was buried at Section 10, Grave # 10623. This was a very fitting conclusion to a woman who had served her nation.
Courtesy of Alice Kershaw Luckhardt, Nan’s first child.
Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard