Pharmacist’s Mate
2nd Class Ethel Christeson

Pharmacist’s Mate
2nd Class Ethel Christeson

“What Are Your Orders, Sir?”

On September 2, 2021, Ethel Christeson, a member of Bethany Lutheran in Port Orchard, WA. celebrated her 99th birthday.

A longtime resident of the Pacific Northwest, Ethel headed back to college in New York City back in 1941. She was 19. Her first time in New York, her first time so far away from home, an exciting life seemed to lie ahead of her.

Late in her first semester, on December 7, the Imperial Japanese Naval Air Service launched a surprise attack at Pearl Harbor, HI., forcing the U.S. into a war it had been trying to avoid. On Monday, December 8th, President Roosevelt asked Congress to make the declaration of war. Congress agreed and that following Thursday it also declared war on Germany and Italy.

In 1942 Ethel dropped out of college to enlist in a brand new program called the “Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service” (WAVES). Ethel would be one of the first women to serve her country in the United States Navy.

After her basic training at Wellesley College in New York Ethel was stationed at the U.S.M.C. training center at Naval Station Newport in Jacksonville, Florida. Later she was transferred to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Her rate, a Navy word for “job,” at these training facilities was a Pharmacist Mate 2nd Class. She helped keep the Marines healthy as they trained for combat.

Ethel was honorably discharged a few years later with the life-long distinction of being one of our nation’s very first wave of WAVES.

LMSG sent Ethel birthday greetings this year and thanked her for her service to our nation. She is pictured below with a birthday greeting from Commander Heather Rovey, (U.S. Navy), chair of the ELS/WELS Lutheran Military Support Group (LMSG). Commander Rovey served our nation as a pharmacist herself.

Ethel Reading her birthday wishes from LMSG
Ethel sharing her card with her Pastor.

Ethel says, “Each morning when I wake up I ask,
‘What are Your orders, Sir?’”
“And what does He say?” her pastor asked.
“Tell them about Me. Spread the Good News.”

A hearty thanks to Ethel Christeson, and to the men and women like her, who serve for our nation’s protection and defense. Until our Savior returns to put an end to such things, may He Himself bless their work!

He shall judge between the nations, And rebuke many people; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore. Isaiah 2:4 (NKJV)

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bid’st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
O hear us when we cry to thee,
for those in peril on the sea.



Title: Eternal Father! strong to save
Author: William Whiting (1860)
Public Domain