The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

March 3, 2013

WWII Navy vet shares her story

JOHNSTOWN — Ann Sotak is proud that she is a member of what has become known as the Greatest Generation.

The longtime Lower Yoder Township resident, who turns 90 on March 29, looks forward to telling people about her role during World War II as a civil servant for the U.S. Navy in Washington and Johnstown.

After graduating from Johnstown High School in 1942, Sotak was looking for employment when she landed a clerical job at a naval office on a site that now is home to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

The only person she knew in the nation’s capital was a female classmate, who helped Sotak to find lodging at a boarding house for women.

Sotak, who worked with about 100 others in the office, served as a typist and file clerk.

“Washington made me responsible for myself,” Sotak said about how being on her own made her independent quickly.

She was impressed with Washington and was able to experience things she never could have back home.

After working in Washington for 11⁄2 years, she was able to transfer to the Navy’s Johns­town office when an opening became available.

The Navy had a huge contract with the former Johns­town Plant, Bethlehem Steel Corp., to make steel products for amphibious landing crafts.

Because of the enormity of the contract, the Navy wanted a presence inside the Gautier Division of the steel plant.

Sotak started off doing clerical work in Johnstown but soon became part of the manufacturing process, dodging hot billets to ensure that the steel products, labeled with heat markings, were being shipped to the correct manufacturing facility.

Sotak helped to close the Johnstown office when the war ended.

She still keeps in touch with a couple of women with whom she worked at the Washington office.

Sotak is proud of her service during the war effort and proud of the nation, calling it the greatest country in the world.

Geeg Eash of Hooversville, Sotak’s daughter, said her mother enjoys telling people about her work with the Navy and the time spent living in Washington.

“It took a lot of courage,” she said about her mother leaving home at such a young age to go to Washington.

 

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • reading night ‘Story Laboratory’ stirs kids’ interest in reading, science

    Mad scientists and Dr. Seuss characters were the stars Thursday as Conemaugh Township Area children helped concoct mysterious potions that bend the laws of physics and learned how french fries can drive you to work.

    April 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • LCB Wine1a Does state know when to say when?

    Booze sales on Sunday have proven so popular the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is breaking a state law limiting how many stores the system can operate on the first day of the week.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Home is Where The Tribune-Democrat is Delivered!

    Here are the names of the 10 entrants that were chosen today-April 22, 2014.  If you see your name, call the Circulation Department at 814-532-5000 (#1) or 1-866-307-0905 to verify your information.

    April 22, 2014

  • Republicans tout ‘right’ credentials

    All three Republican Party candidates in Pennsylvania’s 9th Congressional District race attempted to distinguish themselves as the person conservative enough to represent the state’s most conservative district in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday night.

    April 24, 2014

  • elder abuse 1 Calling attention to elder abuse

    As far as states with the oldest populations go, Pennsylvania hovers near the top, depending on which statistical report you read. Along with an ever-growing elderly demographic comes more instances of seniors being abused or cheated out of money.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cambria adds security to thwart copper thefts

    Would-be copper thieves, be warned: Anyone trying to steal copper wiring from any of the 17 towers that make up Cambria County’s 911 communications system will be caught on camera.

    April 24, 2014

  • Commissioners praise response to bomb threat

    Two days after a bomb threat closed the Cambria County Courthouse for half a day, officials handed out accolades to those who pulled off an efficient search and quick apprehension of the alleged perpetrator.

    April 24, 2014

  • Black fly program to target river corridor

    The Cambria County commissioners Thursday entered into an agreement with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection that opens the door for the state to provide black fly suppression spraying.

    April 24, 2014

  • Inmate faces sex charges

    An Altoona man was charged with rape after authorities accused him of sexually assaulting another man while both were inmates at the Cambria County Prison.

    April 24, 2014

  • Garage collapses hours after vehicle rammed structure

    No one was hurt when a garage collapsed Thursday afternoon in the Oakland section of Stonycreek Township, Cambria County.

    April 24, 2014

Poll

Would you like to see the Johnstown Community Corrections Center remain open after its lease runs out on Oct. 11, 2015?

Yes
No
I'm not sure
     View Results
House Ads