Doherty, Pat

Pat Doherty (nee Brannigan) was born June 25, 1927 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  She recalls living a charmed early life; hers was a theater family, so she was able to live a backstage life, and the family was able to travel and see a bit of America until wartime restrictions crept in.  During that time her father took work in Atlantic City, where there were several veterans’ hospitals.  The teenaged Pat began visiting the men as they recuperated, dancing with them and helping to restore their morale.  As it happened Pat was a very good dancer and that led her to the famous Steel Pier in Atlantic City, and later the USO.  As she recalls, Pat received a phone call one day, asking her if she would be interested in trying out the USO.  She and a number of other girls from Pittsburgh consented and they were off to New York for training, to be followed by a tour that would take to far off Pacific destinations.  The tour began with a cross-country train ride, and from California the first destination was Hawaii, and then Japan, where they spent some time in the Tokyo area.  From Japan the tour went to China and then Korea, visiting American forces who were part of the postwar occupation of those areas.  Stops at other Pacific island bases took place on the return trip, where Pat had the chance to see exotic locales such as Guam, Kwajalein, and Saipan – all places Americans had come to know during the war.  Back in the US Pat spent time in New York, working in theater, but she returned to Pittsburgh, continuing in the theater and working for the city as a building inspector and later marrying a WW2 Navy veteran.  She also came across the Veterans’ Breakfast Club, where she started sharing her story, and it’s thanks to them that Scott Masters was able to interview Pat at her home in August 2023.