May Brill was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1924. When her two brothers enlisted in the Army and Coast Guard, she, being very patriotic, enlisted at the age of 20. She became part of the supply core in a division of the U.S. Navy known as WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service).
May was sent to Hunter College in the Bronx, New York for basic training where women were trained with the same Advanced Individual Training male seamen recruits did. Basic training lasted six weeks and she was selected to receive additional training at the U.S. Naval Training School in Georgia State College for Women, located in Milledgeville, GA. It was here that May learned the specialized skills for her military duties in the supply core.
May ended up stationed in Oakland, CA – across the country from her original hometown. She started off ranked as a Seamen Third Class, the lowest rank in the Navy, but worked her way up five ranks to become a Storekeeper Second Class (SKII). Her duties were to procure equipment, tools, medical supplies, and consumable goods to ship off to supply the ships and bases in the Pacific. She kept track of the needs of the fleet and figured out how to deliver the much needed goods.
Currently, May is very active as an advocate for veterans and women in the military. She is the Senior Vice Commander of the Jewish War Veterans Post 126. She is also the New Jersey Chairperson of “Women in the Military,” raising awareness of women in the military’s history and advocating for women’s rights in the military currently. She is the Chairperson for the New Jersey Veterans Memorial Home in Vineland, NJ as well. On a more personal note, May has four daughters, nine grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter. She wishes for less war and more peaceful times for the future.