Cabana, Jewel: 1956 – 1974

My U.S. Federal Government Civil Service Career with the Department of Defense Dependents Schools began September 1941, when I was a young girl. I was hired and traveled from Ohio to Washington, D.C. to work for the Navy Department. Soon after World War II ended, I transferred in 1946 to the Island of Guam in the Pacific where I continued working for the Navy Department for 10 years.

In April 1956 I transferred back to Washington D.C. with the U.S. Air Force Overseas Dependents Schools Office where I began recruiting, selecting, and assigning school teachers to teach the children of our military serving at overseas military bases located around the world. Sometime later, the recruitment of schoolteachers for all branches of the military, the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, and others, all merged their recruitment offices, and became known as Department of Defense Dependents Schools System.

My career with the Overseas Dependents Schools continued for nearly 18 years (1956-1974) until I retired in January 1974.

There were many memorable events that occurred during my tenure (1956-1974). One event that I can remember vividly happened in 1969 during the inauguration ceremonies in Washington D.C. for our 37th President, Richard Milhouse Nixon. Our office received a telephone call from the White House requesting an interview for Maureen Nixon, the niece of President Nixon, for an overseas teaching position. She arrived accompanied by two Secret Service Officers who stood guard outside my office while I interviewed Miss Nixon.

I was very apprehensive because I was certain she would expect preferential treatment, would insist on being assigned to a specific country, or possibly ask for waiver of qualifications etc. I knew that under no circumstances would I ever approve of any exceptions or waiver of qualifications to anyone. I was always determined to select the very best qualified and devoted teachers to teach the children of our military men who were serving our country. I even visualized that this interview could result in the end of my long career with the U.S. Federal Government if I had to tell the niece of a U.S. President that she did not meet the qualification requirements.

Miss Nixon came into my office and seated herself at my desk, introduced herself, and then she said, “Mrs. Cabana, I am a special education teacher in California, but I would like to teach overseas. I will go to any country, or anywhere I am needed.”

Miss Nixon was very pleasant, humble and sincere. She expressed real happiness when I offered her a special education teaching position in Okianwa. I advised her that she would receive an official letter by mail confirming the teaching assignment to Okianwa. Also, that she would be processed for the overseas assignment by the Overseas Personnel Office at Travis Air Force Base, Fairfield, California located near where she lived.

Several weeks later she went to Travis AFB for processing, and was sent to a Medical doctor for a physical examination. Sadly, the doctor discovered that Miss Nixon had a very serious heart problem, and she was disqualified for overseas duty. She was so grateful to the doctor for finding her heart problem. This was shocking news because several other family doctors had never diagnosed her serious heart problems.

About a year later, I read in the Newspaper that Maureen Nixon married in California. This was the last news I ever had as to her whereabouts or how she was coping with her heart problem.

I recently watched the burial ceremonies for President Richard M. Nixon in Yorba Linda, California and I wondered if Maureen Nixon was there with the other family members. I would not have recognized her because 25 years passed since I met her in 1969. I often wonder if she is still living.

I remember another sad event about Sharon Tate, the actress, who was murdered by the Charles Manson group. Sharon attended out Dependents School at the U.S. Air Force Base, Vicenza, Italy. Her father was an Air Force Colonel stationed there.

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