A Funeral in Nebraska

in September, a burial took place in the Omaha National Cemetery. That’s not unusual, of course, our national cemeteries are sadly busy. But this one was a bit different. Amongst the Greatest Generation, it is not all that uncommon for both husband and wife to be entitled to military funerals with full honors. but again this one was unusual.

This one was for the widow of a retired US Air Force colonel, who started his career flying B-17s for the 8th United States Army Air Force, and who served in Korea and Vietnam. He had died earlier this year at age 101.

Col. John Watters and his wife, Jean Watters, on their wedding day. Jean Watters, a codebreaker of German intelligence communications during WWII, was buried Monday, Sept. 24, 2018, in Nebraska with British military honors.

But as I said this funeral was a bit different, for the ceremony was a bit different. His widow Jean Annette Briggs was buried with full British Military Honors, for she had been a Wren (Women’s Royal Naval Service) in world war two. She told her family she drove a bus. It was not so. Her obituary from the cemetery’s site states:

Born in 1925, Jean Annette Briggs grew up in Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk County, England. One of three girls, she was a talented artist who attended school in Cambridge. In 1943, at 18, she joined the Royal Navy and her family believed she drove a bus during World War II. Briggs actually operated a BOMBE machine, used to decode German military messages, and worked for master codebreaker Alan Turing. The secret ULTRA project cracked Germany’s ENIGMA code. Briggs married U.S. Army Air Corps pilot John Watters (1917-2018) after the war. He flew B-17s, and later the U.S. Air Force colonel served in Korea and Vietnam. The couple raised six children in Bellevue, Nebraska. Jean Briggs Watters died September 15, 2018, and was buried with British military honors. She is interred with her husband in Omaha National Cemetery (Section 3, Site 253).

It is simply impossible to estimate how many Joe’s and Tommy’s owe their life to this woman, who served quietly and without recognition, and after the war married a man who would serve in three of America’s wars, and bring up a family here, in Nebraska, near what our forefathers knew as Fort Crook, and we know as Offutt Air Force Base.

God grant you rest, Ma’am.

via: Stars and Stripes.


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7 Responses to A Funeral in Nebraska

  1. the unit says:

    Wouldn’t be nice if at the end of the Sunday morning Talkin’ Heads shows if a memorial moment and listing of recent deceased greatest generation vets (and those like this lady) was observed. Like they did of those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan…for a while.
    But of course, I realize now those moments for those last two wars was an agenda to turn us against it all, not to memorialize. (My opinion realization.)
    Their belief about warriors and vets (all branches)is like the ole saying about the only good injun. And I don’t think that’s just an opinion of mine, think they’ve said it and shown it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. the unit says:

    Scrubbing Bubbles and Mr. Clean, that’s me.
    So I wouldn’t doxx another by name.
    Leave it to imagination who speaks with forked tongue. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Vanessence says:

    Wow, what a great story! A salute to both of them for their service.

    Liked by 1 person

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