Amelia Ann Dobogai was born on a Friday at 2:30 a.m. on July 29, 1949, in Norman, Oklahoma to John Loren and Billie Ruth (Reddell) Sanders. Her father was the oldest child of John Benjamin and Anna Amelia (Paden) Sanders. Her mother was the fourth child of James Clayton and Muriel Rose (Gray) Reddell. This is her connection to the Fairview Community of Stilwell, Oklahoma.
Her goal all through high school was to attend the University of Oklahoma where her father and grandfather had gone and become a third or fourth grade teacher. She did attend OU from August 1967 to May 1971 where she earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education.
Her first teaching experience was as a kindergarten teacher for Stilwell Elementary School from August 1971 to May 1972. She lived with her grandmother Reddell who resided in the Fairview Community. Many of the teachers she worked with that year had taught both her parents who had grown up in Stilwell and had graduated from Stilwell High School. She decided she wasn't ready to put twenty to thirty years into teaching at that time. She left Stilwell and returned to Midland, Texas. She spent the next year as a substitute teacher in all subjects for grades kindergarten through ninth grade.
She decided to "Be All She Could Be" and joined the Inited States Marine Corps in September 1972. At this time the Marines were actively recruiting young women who had graduated from college or university and worked for at least a year or more in their field and wanted to try another occupation. The Marines were looking to change the image of women in the Marine Corps.
In July 1972 she talked to the recruiters for the Air Force, Army and the Marines. The Marine recruiter was extremly interested in visiting with me and encouraging me to join the Marines. He called his superior in Dallas, a major, who then called me at home to encourage me to visit Dallas for my interview and testing. Then I was sworn in and began to prepare to attend Officer Candidate School in October of 1972. Unfortunately she was unable to complete all the paperwork to make the October class. There are only two Officer Candidate Schools offered for women each year, one in June and one in October. Therefore, she was placed in the June 1973 class. During this waiting period she visited with a graduate of the June 1972 OCS class and had several more visits with the local recruiter as well as the Major in Dallas.
She went on active duty June 1973 in Quantico, VA for Officer Candidate School. There were two platoons of approximately forty women each at OCS. She was in Platoon 1 and they were on the first floor, and Platoon 2 was housed on the second floor of the barracks. They had two Major's who were in charge of both Platoons, they also had a Gunnery Sergeant in charge of drill training, and a Colonel over the OCS Class. They not only had drill classes, but also Physical Training, military history, mapping, and deportment. Since the Marines were trying to change the image of the women in the Marine Corps their deportment classes consisted of learning how to walk, apply make-up, fix their hair and dress.
They were required to stay on base for the first seven weeks, on week eight they were allowed to go to Quantico. After week nine they were allowed off base and were allowed liberty in Washington D.C.
Upon commissioning as a Second Lieutenant in August 1973, she went on to The Basic School. Instead of barracks they were housed in individual rooms almost like a hotel. Her most memorable class was mapping and being dropped by helicopter in a forest with a map, compass, MRE lunch, and instructions to find her way back to the Basic School. The redeeming factor was being assigned with her best friend, Marcy Gunter, and between the two of them they hit every required spot on the return trip to base. Also they ran the obstacle course the men were required to do, they were allowed to observe grenade class, but the Colonel was afraid for them to handle live grenades so they only got to watch the males. They had numerous classes with the men attending Basic School.
After Basic School her assigned MOS was administration. She completed Administrative Training at Paris Island, SC in December 1973. Paris Island was filled with enlisted women doing boot camp so there was no housing available for the Administrative Class students: they were allowed to rent a motel room for the two months of training.
Her final and only duty station was Marine Barracks Treasure Island, San Francisco, CA. She reported to Treasure Island in January of 1974. She was the Administrative Officer in charge of returning Marines from Viet Nam, Japan and other Asian countries, as well as sending Marines overseas. She was the only woman officer and was in charge of a platoon of 35 women. She continued to take correspondence classes during her time in California. The Marine Barracks had an Inspector General or IG Inspection during which time she received a commendation for her work not only as an Administrative Officer but as Platoon Commander.
While in California she met her husband Jerrry Lee Dobogai. She married Jerry on March 27, 1976. She resigned her commission in July 1976 to be a full-time wife and mother.
Upon Jerry's retirement they moved to Stilwell, Oklahoma. She used her GI Bill to return to school at NSU and earned a Master of Science in Mathematics in 1983 and was employed by Westville Public Schools until her retirement in 2006.
She was preceded in death by her parents: and her sisters Terri Sanders and Lorna Sanders.
She is survived by a loving family which includes her husband Jerry Lee Dobogai; her children Vanessa and James Ray Stanfill, Matthew and Brandi Dobogai, and Cathy and John Geary; her brothers Randall and Joni Sanders and James and Sue Sanders; her sister Mary Sanders and her grandkids Samantha, Easton, Eli, Bailey and Brady. Many nieces, nephews, friends and other relatives also survive her.
She had fond memories of her four years in the Marine Corps, it was the most exciting time in her life. Semper Fi!
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Amelia Ann Dobogai, please visit our floral store.