Community celebrates World War II, Korean War veteran with a drive-by parade for her 100th birthday

Dorchester County News

DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – A Lowcountry veteran, who served in both World War II and the Korean War, was celebrated on her 100th birthday.

The Patriot Guard, local law enforcement, and members of the community gathered in the King’s Grant subdivision off Dorchester Road to honor and celebrate Elizabeth Orser on Friday.

“I’m really a hillbilly from East Tennessee,” she said with a laugh. She began this journey through life in 1920 in Elizabethton, Tennessee.

“I had a twin brother and a couple of sisters. We played outside all of the time, climbed the mountains,” she said.

When the second World War began, “My twin brother was a navigator on a Liberator.”

She served as well – working in the Pacific Theater doing communications as a Marine.

“His plane went down over Dunkirk in February of ’43. So, he was lost in the war,” she recalled.

Orser also lost a cousin who was a Navy fighter pilot during WWII. She remembers the day the Japanese surrendered very well.

“While we were in flight, these fighter planes were doing loop-to-loop everywhere and our pilot got in touch with them and found out that the war had ended,” she said.

She went to Yale nursing college to become a nurse, and then the Korean War began: “I resigned my commission in the Marines and joined the Air Force because I wanted to be a flight nurse.”

Orser flew wounded soldiers out of Korea and Japan.

“Some of them, you had to keep an eye on them because you never know if you were going to have a problem. You might have to make an emergency landing,” she said.

She met her husband in Japan and eventually had two daughters.

Orser and her family ended up in Charleston after her husband was stationed at the Air Force Base.

She was very happy to see the community at her house for Friday’s celebration and said serving her country was an easy choice.

“I just thought that I wanted to go out and serve, too. All my family was in the service, so I wanted to be in, too.”

Now, the South Carolina State House and Dorchester County Council both plan to pass resolutions congratulating Orser for her Birthday.

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