Helen L. Hesser

1919 - 1989

Vietnam WarWWII

Their Story

Helen Louise Hesser was born on October 29, 1919, in Rock Island, Illinois, the daughter of Lillian Kaskadden. Her mother died on March 21, 1944.1

Hesser enlisted in the U.S. Army Women’s Army Corps on April 25, 1945, in Chicago, Illinois. She was employed as a waitress at the time of her enlistment. Hesser served during World War II and the Korean conflict. Staff Sergeant Hesser was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army on August 24, 1974.2

The Women’s Army Corps (WAC) was the women’s branch of the U.S. Army created during the second world war to enable women to serve in noncombat positions. More than 150,000 women served in the WACs in WWII.3

WACs relieved thousands of men of their clerical assignments and performed nontraditional jobs such as electrician, radio operator, and air traffic controller. Most women served stateside, but they also were sent overseas and served in the North African, European and Asian theaters.4

During the Vietnam conflict approximately 700 WACs served in South Vietnam with no casualties. The Long Binh detachment received two campaign stars for the Vietnam Counter-Offensive Phase II and the Tet Offensive Campaign.5

In 1979, Helen was recovering from major brain surgery and three strokes, which prevented her from verbalizing and keeping track of time for the previous four years.6 She was in the Air Force then at Travis, California. She was in the Army during WWII, and then the Navy. Hesser had a membership with the American Association of Retired Persons. She also was a member of the Silvis Senior Citizens.7

Helen Louise Hesser died on November 23, 1989, at the Iowa City Veterans Administration Medical Center in Iowa City, Iowa. Her obituary said that she reached the rank of master sergeant. She was survived by four daughters, Jacquelin Norin, Suzanne Bolten, Sandra Luna, and Donna Jacobs. Military rites were conducted by the Ybarra Gomez Post 8890 VFW, East Moline, Illinois.8


1 Obituary for Lillian Kaskadden – Newspapers.com.

2 Helen L Hesser in WWII Army Enlistment Records – Fold3.

3Women’s Army Corps | Definition, History, & Facts | Britannica.

4 Women’s Army Corps | Definition, History, & Facts | Britannica.

5 Women’s Army Corps – Wikipedia.

6 02 Jan 1979, 9 – The Dispatch at Newspapers.com

7 Obituary for Helen L. Hesser (Aged 70) – Newspapers.com.

8 Obituary for Helen L. Hesser (Aged 70) – Newspapers.com.