WWI “Hello Girl” Veteran to be Honored in Maryland

Published: 23 April 2024

By Doughboy Foundation Staff

Unit 4 with Marie Edmww LeRoux second from right front row

Unit 4 with Marie Edmee LeRoux sitting second from right in the front row. After decades in an unmarked grave at Fort Lincoln Cemetery in Maryland, LeRoux will will receive an official Veterans Administration grave marker on Many 3, recognizing her status as a veteran of World War I.

Marie Edmee LeRoux is buried in unmarked Maryland grave; to receive VA grave marker May 3.

(Brentwood, MD) — World War I U.S. Army Signal Corps “Hello Girls” veteran Marie Edmee LeRoux will make history once again as a woman veteran of WWI. When buried almost 80 years ago in an unmarked grave, she and the other Hello Girls were not yet recognized as veterans by the U.S. Government. To acknowledge this overdue recognition, several veterans organizations have collaborated together to host a dedication ceremony with full military honors scheduled for Friday, May 3 at 11:00 a.m. EDT at Fort Lincoln Cemetery, 3401 Bladensburg Rd. in Brentwood, Maryland.

During WWI, women voluntarily served in the Army’s Signal Corps as “Hello Girls,” which gave U.S. forces an operational advantage to share information on the battlefields throughout Europe. Due to U.S. Title 10 laws of the time, these women were not acknowledged as part of the U.S. Army at the end of the war, even though they served in military uniform and mobilized overseas during the war. Through the collaboration of the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Military Women’s Memorial, and the Doughboy Foundation, the unmarked grave of Marie Edmee LeRoux will receive full military honors and a headstone to note her now-recognized military veteran status. The ceremony is open to the public and media; parking is available.

World War I U.S. Army Signal Corps veteran, Marie Edmee LeRoux in the uniform worn by the “Hello Girls” telephone operators deployed to France with the American Expeditionary Forces.

“It is an honor to pay our respects to Marie Edmee Leroux with this ceremony,” said Dan Dayton, Executive Director of the WWI Centennial Commission.  “We hope that soon there will be another honor for her as well; the Commission is advocating that Congress honor all ‘Hello Girls,’ America’s first women soldiers, with a Congressional Gold Medal.”

LeRoux was born in Montreal, Québec, Canada on February 19, 1895.  She served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps as a bilingual telephone operator in France during WWI with the American Expeditionary Forces.  She sailed overseas on June 18, 1918, with Unit #4 and was honorably discharged on June 6, 1919.  Known affectionately as the “Hello Girls” the all-woman unit connected over 26 million calls from March 1918 to January 1920, including service at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919.  However, when the Hello Girls came home after WWI ended, they were denied veteran status and benefits until 1977.

After the war, LeRoux stayed in Paris, France to continue music studies with the famous French-Canadian tenor, Arthur Plamondon.  She returned to the U.S.in December 1941.   LeRoux died on January 9, 1945, and was buried in an unmarked grave at Fort Lincoln cemetery, receiving no VA headstone since she did not have veteran status at that time.

Confirmed participants for the headstone dedication ceremony includes LeRoux’s granddaughter, representatives from the Embassy of Canada and the Embassy of France, who will lay a wreath at LeRoux’s headstone, as well as representatives of the Military Order of the World Wars, The Society of the Honor Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and the Daughters of the American Revolution.

“I am ecstatic that all of these organizations are honoring my grandmother,” said Catherine Bourgin. “It all happened so quickly. After her being in an unmarked grave for 79 years, I was able to work with the National Cemetery Administration to get an official marker for my grandmother’s grave.”

Speakers at the ceremony May 3 will include Kimberly M. Jackson, Chief of Staff, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; Anthony C. Woods, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs; Daniel S. Dayton, Executive Director of the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission; and Catherine Bourgin, granddaughter of Marie Edmee LeRoux. Phyllis Wilson, President of the Military Women’s Memorial, will emcee.

“This collaboration has truly been a heartwarming experience,” said National Cemetery Administration representative James Theres.

The event program also includes a brass quintet from the Doughboy Foundation that will punctuate the ceremony with WWI musical selections.  The Maryland National Guard Honor Guard will provide military burial honors, and a bugler will sound Taps in a replica “Hello Girls” uniform. Rev. Anne Weatherholt of Epiphany Episcopal Church, the only known WWI chapel in the U.S., will give the Invocation and Benediction.

“Beyond this event, the WWI Commission and DBF are collaborating on the completion of a WWI Memorial in downtown Washington, D.C. where all veterans are honored for their service to a grateful nation by the sounding of taps each day at 5 p.m.,” said DBF executive director Jari Villanueva. “Buglers dressed in the Doughboy uniforms can be seen in person and live via https://doughboy.org and YouTube.”

For media inquiries about this event, contact Eric Schnaible, Department of Veterans Affairs, National Cemetery Administration at [email protected], or call (202) 271-0358

More information about WWI Centennial Commission and DBF is available at [email protected] or call (202) 380-0725.


The U.S. World War One Centennial Commission was established by Public Law 112-272, passed by the 112th Congress on January 14, 2013 and signed by the President on January 16, 2013, and refined by Public Law 113-291, Subtitle J, Section 3091.  The Commission is building the National World War One Memorial in Washington, DC with private donations, in partnership with the Doughboy Foundation.  The Commission will sunset after the Memorial is dedicated in 2024. https://ww1cc.org

The National Cemetery Administration (NCA) honors Veterans and their families with final resting places in national shrines and lasting tributes online at www.va.gov/remember that commemorate their service and sacrifice to our nation.  VA operates 155 national cemeteries and 34 soldiers’ lots and monuments in 44 states, Guam and Puerto Rico. Information about VA burial and memorial benefits is available at https://www.cem.va.gov/ or by calling toll-free at 1-800-827-1000.

External Web Site Notice: This page contains information directly presented from an external source. The terms and conditions of this page may not be the same as those of this website. Click here to read the full disclaimer notice for external web sites. Thank you.


Share this article

Related posts