Tucker among first women to serve on Navy ship
United States Navy
1986—1988 (active reserves)
Tucker was stationed in Orlando, San Diego and her home base of Long Beach, Calif.
Tucker had an aptitude for welding and was trained in the Navy as a welder and sheet metal fabricator. She later added carpentry to her list of skills. She was promoted to hull technician, serving aboard the destroyer tender USS Prairie.
Tucker was among the first group of women to serve aboard ship in the Navy. The sailors had been ordered to stand at arm’s length from the female seamen. The men had received many lectures about correct behavior and were anxious to stay out of trouble. Tucker says things went very smoothly, and she encountered no difficulties working with her male counterparts. Respect was given for work well done aboard ship.
The Prairie deployed for several Pacific tours which delighted Tucker. Her desire to travel was one reason she joined the Navy. She had always had admiration for the military, and, since she didn’t want to go to college, joining the Navy answered the call to do something for which she could be proud. She saw many lands and cultures at the ship’s ports of call, exponentially broadening her world of experience.
She received her Shellback Certification when she first crossed the equator. (Keel hauling and throwing sailors overboard are no longer allowed on that anniversary event.) On board ship, she enjoyed “Steel Beach,” a flat space on top of the ship where towels could be spread for sunbathing.
For young women thinking of joining the Navy, Tucker has one word: JOIN. The people, the places, and the training are the best according to her. She declares that there is a bond between you and your shipmates that is like no other. She and her shipmates still find one another on Facebook. Her many stories of shipboard life, foreign cultural experiences, and the training she received during her time in the Navy are testimony to the value of those years for her.
Tucker is active in American Legion Post 27.