There aren't many 92-year-old women who know their way around the workings of a Pratt and Whitney engine on an F-4U Corsair airplane, but Barbara Maroney does.
Maroney served two years as a Navy WAVE during World War II as a metal smith in Pasco, Wash. WAVE is an acronym for Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service.
“I did just about everything there was to do with metal and a whole bunch of other things,” she said. “I changed batteries and took apart cylinder heads on engines.”
That's how she got her nickname: Buckshot.
“My initials were BBB, so sailors called me Buckshot,” she said. “Once I was taking a cylinder head off an airplane and there were some Marines putting a wing together, and they all said, ‘Look at the muscles on that WAVE!' and it all just stuck from there. I still have a grandson that calls me Buckshot.”
Among those planes she worked on was the gull-winged Corsair, one of the best fighter aircraft the Navy had in its inventory.
Today, Maroney is as feisty as ever. But her life wasn't without pain. She lost her brother, David Beagles, during World War II. He was a sailor on a ship that collided with a mine. Two other brothers also served in the Navy during the war, but both survived.
“I think about him often,” she said. “A lot of people sacrificed during the war, and my family was no different.”
After the war, Maroney married her husband, Everett, who also served in the Navy.
They met in Pasco during her time as an airplane mechanic. Everett served in the Navy for 26 years and passed away in 1987.
“We were a Navy family,” she said.
“My son, Everett, was on submarines. I have two grandsons who are serving in the Navy now. One is on the USS Eisenhower. The Navy has always been part of our lives in one way or another.”
Maroney hasn't slowed down much since her Navy days.
She was discharged after two years because of arthritis, but it hasn't kept her from knitting and crocheting. She's also active at St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church.
“I'm still around and still kicking,” she said. “Someone asked me the other day what the secret is. I don't smoke or drink. That's a big part of it. I guess I'm just lucky, too.”