November is Native American Heritage Month! Today we’d like to celebrate that by honoring two Navajo sisters who served at the Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation (HRPE) during WWII. If you’ve read previous blog posts about HRPE, you know that there were several women’s groups that served and traveled through our local port.
Sisters Pvt. Lupe Mirabel and Pvt. Florence Lee were members of the Navajo Tribe and lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico. They enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps together on March 21, 1945, and completed basic training at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, the third Women’s Army Corps training facility. The sisters were lucky enough to be stationed together, arriving at the Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation (HRPE) on July 14, 1945.
While I couldn’t find specific records of their service, they likely served at HRPE until the end of the war. The HRPE was the third largest Army Transportation Corps Port of Embarkation and worked tirelessly to get everyone home.
Tragically, Pvt. Mirabel’s husband, Pfc. Vincenti Mirabel, was killed in Germany on April 7, 1945, just days after the sisters enlisted. Lupe and Vincenti had been married for six years and had a son, Clarence.
Today, we honor their service and the service of all Native Americans who fought and served in the military to protect our freedom.