Sallie K. Braun

Woman at desk on phone with nameplate miss s.k. braun

"She's the Lady Who Gives the Orders!" Miss S. K. Braun at her desk. SF Maritime NPS

Quick Facts
Korean War, First Woman Marine Transportation Specialist
Place of Birth:
Oakland, CA
Date of Birth:
December 12, 1913
Place of Death:
Pacific Grove, CA
Date of Death:
August 17, 1995
Place of Burial:
Oakland, Alameda County, California, USA
Cemetery Name:
Mountain View Cemetery

During World War II and the Korean War, “Sallie” was the codename for San Francisco when Army-operated ships met. That's because of Sallie K. Braun, who organized and managed ship movements from Fort Mason, “virtually running the Army Port of San Francisco single-handed.” 

At the height of WWII, Oakland native Sallie K. Braun was hired as a junior typist by the U.S. Army in San Francisco in 1942.

She later served as the executive assistant to the commander of the Port of Embarkation at Fort Mason. By 1957, she was a Marine Transportation Specialist with the Army Transport Service—possibly the first woman in army history to hold that position. For U.S. servicemen coming into San Francisco’s port, Braun served as the primary point of contact. Her name eventually became an informal code word for the City by the Bay. Ship captains, in fact, would talk about “paying a trip to Sallie” over the radio as they sailed for Fort Mason. This illustrates Braun’s importance as a key operative.

“Sallie seems to have been one of those women who really ran things far and above her official position description. In a later era, Sallie doubtless would have received promotion into the upper ranks of the hierarchy[...] but in the 1950s she had to be content with widespread—if informal—recognition for her influence.” -- Stephen Haller, Historian, GGNRA

Sally retired in 1957. After her retirement from the army, Braun continued to work in a different profession until 1970. She married in 1973 and died in Pacific Grove, CA in 1995.

Today, Braun’s papers—gathered during her career—are a vital resource. Her large photo collection and letters written to her by Navy and Army men while they were serving are in the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park’s archive collection. The Sallie K. Braun papers (Collection # 1176) also include a variety of materials pertaining to her career with the U.S. Army Transport Service, Fort Mason, and the Military SE Transportation Service, Pacific Area. The bulk of the collection spans 1944 to 1956.

Golden Gate National Recreation Area, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

Last updated: September 28, 2020