Showing posts with label women warriors. Show all posts
Showing posts with label women warriors. Show all posts

Sunday, March 10, 2019

These servicewomen are leaders, pioneers, change-makers and survivors

‘People Constantly Mistake My Mother for a Spouse, Not a Veteran’

The New York Times
By Lauren Katzenberg
March 8, 2019

These servicewomen are leaders, pioneers, change-makers and survivors. Here’s what their family members have to say about them.

The Times recently asked servicewomen and veterans to share stories about their military service for a project planned for today, International Women’s Day. I wasn’t surprised that we received more than 650 submissions to our reader call-out. But reading the dozens of accounts that poured in each day filled me with a renewed sense of appreciation and frustration for these women’s service. Too many had to force their way into an institution that has been designed for and upheld by men for generations. Too many were told they didn’t belong. And too many felt the physical and mental consequences of disrupting and threatening the male-dominated status quo in ways that should have been punishable — and yet were repeatedly ignored by senior military leaders.

This collection of stories is both a celebration of women’s military service and a reckoning of what they’ve endured. It’s also a recognition that the military still has a long way to go before we see any real resemblance of gender equality. As Capt. Ja’Mia Rowland wrote: “I have become accustomed to being the only person in the room who looks like me.” You can read her story and 39 others here.

The Times also asked readers with a woman in their family who serves or served to tell us about that person. Here is a selection of those responses.

People Constantly Mistake My Mother for a Spouse, Not a Veteran 
Randi Mahoney, New Boston, Mich.
My mother, Amy Hodge, was attached to the 10th Mountain Division out of Fort Drum in New York, during which time she deployed to Mogadishu, Somalia. She told me that while there she pulled over 300 dead bodies out of a river that were contaminating the local drinking water; she was involved in firefights; she held a friend while he died. The biggest challenge I’ve seen my mom face is the lack of recognition that she even served. When she walks into any veteran event or local post, she is instantly written off as a wife, and her stories and experiences are ignored, even though nine times out of 10 she is the most badass person in the room.

read more stories like that here

Friday, March 8, 2019

First Female Infantry Company Commander for Michigan National Guard

Michigan National Guard Gets First Female Infantry Company Commander
By Matthew Cox
7 Mar 2019
Kemppainen said in a March 5 Michigan National Guard news release. "I didn't set out to become the first of anything. I only want to look back and know that I made a difference, that I encouraged others to do more, and be more, and give more. The fact that I am opening doors for women is great, but I want my actions to be an example of what doing it right looks like, regardless of gender."
Capt. Amie Kemppainen takes command of Company B, 3rd Battlion, 126th Infantry at a ceremony at the Grand Valley Armory in Wyoming, Michigan Saturday, March 2nd, 2019. (U.S. Army/Lt. Col. John Hall)
U.S. Army Capt. Amie Kemppainen made history recently by becoming the first female officer to take command of an infantry company in the Michigan Army National Guard, and among the first female infantry company commanders in the entire Army.

Kemppainen, who took command of B Company, 3rd Battalion, 126th Infantry Regiment, in a March 2 ceremony, is a member of a growing sisterhood that has stepped forward to volunteer for infantry, armor and other direct-action jobs after the Pentagon opened up all combat-arms jobs to women just over three years ago.
read more here

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Military sexual assault victims, now lead in the Senate

Sen. McSally, ex-Air Force pilot, says officer raped her

Associated Press
Coleen Long
March 6, 2019
McSally's revelation comes not long after Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, detailed her own abuse and assault, and at a time of increased awareness over the problem of harassment and assault in the armed forces.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Martha McSally, the first female fighter pilot to fly in combat, said Wednesday that she was raped in the Air Force by a superior officer.

The Arizona Republican, a 26-year military veteran, made the disclosure at a Senate hearing on the armed services' efforts to prevent sexual assaults and improve the response when they occur.

McSally said she did not report being sexually assaulted because she did not trust the system, and she said she was ashamed and confused. McSally did not name the officer who she says raped her.

"I stayed silent for many years, but later in my career, as the military grappled with the scandals, and their wholly inadequate responses, I felt the need to let some people know I too was a survivor," she said, choking up as she detailed what had happened to her. "I was horrified at how my attempt to share generally my experiences was handled. I almost separated from the Air Force at 18 years of service over my despair. Like many victims, I felt like the system was raping me all over again."
read more here

Saturday, December 8, 2018


'Invisible Veteran' Multiple organizations claim female veterans are under-served in Jacksonville

That is the headline on First Coast News, and this is what the news was.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A group of veterans and local organizations say female veterans have gone under-served and unfunded for too long. First Coast News met with four local veterans from different branches of the military and different organizations who all came to the same consensus, insisting there is a problem in Jacksonville for women who served, despite Duval County having the highest number of female veterans in the state.
But is sure as hell is not news to us!

This was in the report.
Nicole Gray is a U.S. Army and Navy veteran and founder of Got Your Six Female Veteran Support Service. She says she knows how it feels first hand. "Roughly four-and-a-half years ago, I was homeless and sleeping in a car here in Jacksonville. I went to various organizations for assistance, but because I didn’t have children and didn’t deploy to war I was ineligible for assistance," said Gray.

In 2007, they opened a PTSD clinic just for female veterans in Cincinnati.

By 2008 there was this report about the need to address female veterans as veterans.
Though VA officials say they are conducting a survey on women’s experiences at their facilities, as well as offering programs specifically for women, proponents of the proposed bill say it would target areas VA has not addressed. It follows a similar House bill proposed by Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, D-S.D., and Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Fla.

Murray’s bill will ask for:
• Assessment and treatment of women who have suffered sexual trauma in the military.
• More use of evidence-based treatment for women — particularly in areas such as post-traumatic stress disorder, where responses may be different or involve different issues than it does for men.
• A long-term study on gender-specific health issues of female veterans.
“One of the things we started to see early on is that there’s a lot we don’t know,” said Joy Ilem, assistant national legislative director for Disabled American Veterans.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Military women slammed for leaving kids? Seriously? Still?

Shamed for their sacrifice: Military moms don't always get a hero's welcome home

NBC Today
By Allison Slater Tate
Nov. 9, 2018

While deployed for six months with the U.S. Navy, Dr. Marion Henry had all the usual worries about being away from her husband and three children at their home in San Diego, California.

But that 2015 deployment — as the Director for Surgical Services on the USNS Mercy — was particularly hard for her, because it meant she missed the first day of school for Jack, then 8, Maggie, then 6, and Katherine, then 3. It was hard, she told TODAY Parents, to miss meeting her children's teachers, knowing which days they had "specials," and getting to know their friends and their friends' parents. When she came home in October, it was "very disorienting," she said.
In response to this story about a little boy rushing into his mother's arms as she returned from deployment with her National Guard unit in Afghanistan, one woman commented on Facebook, "Shame on her for leaving her child."
read more here

Note to military women: Do not expect them to understand you, or respect the fact that ever since the first women set foot on this land, fighting for their families, and yes, even in war, is part of our history.

The same things were said of these women in their own time!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

What is a proper motto for courage?

VA employees wanted a gender-neutral mission statement. The agency refused
The strategic document instead phrased VA’s mission statement this way: “To fulfill President Lincoln’s promise to care for those ‘who shall have borne the battle’ and for their families, caregivers, and survivors.”
GEE WHERE DID WE SEE THOSE WORDS BEFORE? For Those Who Have Borne the Battle, Equality?
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
February 8, 2018

Is the VA motto outdated and sexist? The head of the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans group thinks so.
At issue is an 1865 quote from Abraham Lincoln, “To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan.” The quote was from Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address and became the motto for VA 59 years ago.
Lincoln's quote is part of our history. Then again, so are women serving in the military. 

As a matter of fact, considering that there was a female held as a POW during the Civil War, you'd think that Lincoln would have used the word "those" instead of "he" and instead of "widows" maybe use families. 

Attitudes were a lot different back then. Oh, I don't mean the attitudes of males in charge thinking women should not be in the military. After all, considering they always wanted to serve, the only attitude change females have had is that more of them fought for the right to serve this country. 

Really twisted when you think about it.

Dr. Mary Edwards Walker became a doctor when women were only supposed to be nurses. A female POW, and she was a surgeon...and the only woman to have been given the Medal of Honor, before they tried to take it away...then they gave it back symbolically.

This is what MOH Dr. Mary Edwards Walker went through afterwards.
Even though Walker was a Medal of Honor recipient and Civil War veteran, people often insulted her. Some written accounts say people even threw tomatoes at her as she walked through town.
“She is recognized all across the United States,” said Theresa Cooper, the Oswego town clerk who worked with the Oswego Town Historical Society to spearhead the statue project. “She has her own postage stamp. Children across the U.S. find her interesting enough to do projects about her in school. Yet here, she knew how people perceived her in a negative way. She knew children used to make fun of her.”
And then there is this,

"Her taste in clothes caused frequent arrests on such charges as impersonating a man. At one trial, she asserted her right to, “Dress as I please in free America on whose tented fields I have served for four years in the cause of human freedom.” The judge dismissed the case and ordered the police never to arrest Dr. Walker on that charge again. She left the courtroom to hearty applause."

But long before Mary, there were many more willing to do whatever they could for the sake of this land they loved and freedom . They fought to obtain it during the Revolutionary War!

Their motivations for signing up vary but, since most of these women were young, unmarried and poor, many of them joined in order to earn money for their families as well as for the rare opportunity to fight for America’s independence. It’s not surprising that since the American Revolution began in Massachusetts, many of these women soldiers were from Massachusetts.Some of these women soldiers include Deborah Sampson from Plympton, Mass, who fought in New York under the alias Robert Shurtliff in 1781 and served for over a year before she was discovered.Another female soldier was Ann (or Nancy) Bailey of Boston who enlisted in 1777 under the alias Sam Gay and was promoted to Corporal before her true identity was discovered just a few weeks later, resulting in her arrest and imprisonment.After her release, Bailey signed up again and served as a soldier for a few weeks before she was discovered and jailed again, according to the book The Revolutionary War.Some women didn’t disguise themselves or join the military but instead armed themselves and took to the streets, such as Prudence Cummings Wright did in Pepperell after two suspected Tory spies came through her town and she recruited a group of armed women to capture them.
Considering this nation was not just created for freedom but women have been subjected to far more than any males to achieve it, changing a motto that is younger than the current President is the least we can do for them!

After Iraq and Afghanistan, pioneering women in the military set sights on Congress
Washington Post
By Mary Jordan
February 7, 2018

In Amy McGrath’s pitch to voters in Kentucky, she wears a bomber jacket and stands next to an F/A-18, the fighter jet she flew as a Marine to drop bombs on Afghanistan.

In Mikie Sherrill’s political ad in New Jersey, the camera lingers over a whirring Sea King helicopter, like the one she piloted on Navy missions.

And in Martha McSally’s video announcing her run for Senate in Arizona, she is crouched in the cockpit of an Air Force fighter jet to underscore that she was the first woman to fly in combat.

Women who served in the military are running for elective office in greater numbers than at any time in history. Many broke gender barriers in uniform and say it’s time to make their mark in politics. For generations, military veterans who become elected officials have overwhelmingly been male and Republican, but these female veterans, many of whom served in pioneering combat roles in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, are overwhelmingly Democrats and critical of President Trump.
read more here

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Hundreds Attended Funeral for Amie Muller After Iraq Burn Pits Battle

Hundreds say goodbye to Amie Muller, who sounded alarm over toxic risks for Iraq veterans
Star Tribune
By Mark Brunswick
FEBRUARY 24, 2017

Muller, who died of pancreatic cancer at age 36, worked and lived next to one of the most toxic military burn pits in all of Iraq.
National Guard veteran Amie Muller believed deployments to Iraq caused the cancer that killed her.

She worked and lived next to burn pits that billowed toxic smoke night and day at an air base in northern Iraq. After returning to Minnesota, she began experiencing health problems usually not seen in a woman in her 30s.

Muller died a week ago, nine months after being diagnosed with Stage III pancreatic cancer. On Friday, more than 800 of her friends and family gathered at a memorial service in Woodbury to remember the life of the 36-year-old mother of three. A pastor noted her loss was both painful and seemingly incomprehensible.

“I wish there was a simple way to explain what has happened to Amie. Why Amie is gone,” said Pastor Lisa Renlund. “Life truly isn’t that simple. It can get messy. It can feel complicated. It can seem unfair.”

But others also are remembering Muller’s battle to win recognition from the U.S. government for victims of the burn pits, which have the potential of becoming the Iraq and Afghanistan wars’ equivalent of the Vietnam War’s Agent Orange. It took nearly three decades for the U.S. government to eventually link the defoliant used in Vietnam to cancer.

Muller first told her story in the Star Tribune last year shortly after she was diagnosed.
In 2005 and in 2007, Muller was deployed to Balad, Iraq, with the Minnesota Air National Guard, embedded with a military intelligence squadron. The burn pit near her living quarters there was one of the most notorious of the more than 230 that were constructed at military bases across Iraq and Afghanistan before their use was restricted in 2009. Items ranging from Styrofoam to metals and plastics to electrical equipment to human body parts were incinerated, the flames stoked with jet fuel.
read more here

Monday, February 13, 2017

Fort Hood Staff Sergeant's Death Under Investigation

Fort Hood: Iraq war veteran found dead in off-post residence 
KWTX News 
By Staff 
Feb 13, 2017
Staff Sgt. Christie Marie Anderson. (Fort Hood photo)
FORT HOOD, Texas (KWTX) Fort Hood Monday identified a soldier who was found dead on Feb. 6 in her off-post residence as Staff Sgt. Christie Marie Anderson, 44 of Hazen, Ark. 

Killeen police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the death, Fort Hood said, but no details were released. 
read more here

Thursday, August 18, 2016

North Carolina Iraq Veteran and Children Murdered

Family: Murdered mom was Iraq War Vet
By Dave Jordan
August 17, 2016

Family members of the Greenville mom found murdered Tuesday say she was an Iraq War Veteran.

Garlette Howard and her children Mayana, Brianna and Ayanna were discovered in their West Pointe Townhome by Greenville police who went there for a welfare check.

Dibon Toone, father of at least two of the children, is charged with Howard's murder and police say charges in the other deaths are forthcoming.
read more here

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Was Veteran Released From VA After Standoff Too Quickly?

Female veteran in crisis enough to cause a seven hour standoff yet she was only in the VA for less than a week afterwards?
Standoff suspect charged after quick release from VA hospital
News Herald
Jon Stinchcomb, Reporter
April 15, 2016

After being taking into custody, Muirhead was taken to a Veterans Administration Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to receive treatment. She reportedly was released from the hospital within less than a week.
PORT CLINTON - The woman alleged to have caused a seven-hour standoff with police last week has been charged with two misdemeanors despite initial statements from police that charges would not be filed.

Melissa Muirhead, 30, of Port Clinton, was charged Thursday with one count of aggravated menacing and one count of inducing panic, both first-degree misdemeanors.

According to authorities, Muirhead is a military veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. The Port Clinton Police Department and Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office previously responded to multiple calls to her home for similar welfare checks in recent years.

Because there were no injuries from the incident, Port Clinton police Chief Rob Hickman initially said he did not expect charges to be filed.

However, after detectives conferred with assistant prosecutor Dave Boldt, the two misdemeanor charges were filed in Ottawa County Municipal Court.

According to officers from Port Clinton Police Department, the hope is that the charges will result in some form of court-ordered treatment so an incident does not happen again.
read more here

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Camp Pendleton Marine Finally Went to Ball, She's 94

94-year-old veteran honored at Marine Corps Ball 
FOX5 News
NOVEMBER 13, 2015
Medvid reached the rank of Corporal during World War II. She was stationed in San Francisco and learned to repair radios for ships at the time when women were encouraged to join the service to free up men for combat.
SAN DIEGO – A 94-year-old veteran fulfilled her lifelong dream Friday when she attended the Marine Corps Ball in University City with her husband.
Tillie Medvid was the guest of honor at the ball, which celebrated the 240th birthday of the Marine Corps. Her attendance was made possible by Camp Pendleton. read more here

Monday, June 23, 2008

Lt. Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody, First female nominated to become 4 star

First female nominated to become four-star

Staff report
Posted : Monday Jun 23, 2008 16:55:05 EDT

Lt. Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody, deputy commander and chief of staff of U.S. Army Material Command, is poised to become the first female four-star general in the U.S. military, according to an Army press release.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced Monday that the White House has nominated Dunwoody for appointment to the grade of general and assignment as commanding general of AMC at Fort Belvoir, Va.

“This is an important day for the Dunwoody family, the military and the Nation,” Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey said in the release. “Lt. Gen. Dunwoody’s nomination not only underscores her significant contributions and success throughout 33 years of service, but also shows the level of possible opportunity in our Army’s diverse, quality all-volunteer force.”

Approximately five percent of general officers in the Army are women, which includes mobilized Army Reserve and Army National Guard general officers, the Army release said.
go here for more

Friday, June 13, 2008

Study: Women vets get lesser care some places

Study: Women vets get lesser care some places

By Kimberly Hefling - The Associated Press
Posted : Friday Jun 13, 2008 10:30:55 EDT

WASHINGTON — Women veterans aren’t receiving the same quality of outpatient care as men at many Department of Veterans Affairs’ facilities, according to an agency review obtained exclusively by The Associated Press.

The review appears to validate the complaints of advocates and some members of Congress who have said the health care system needs to focus more on women’s health.

Women make up about 5 percent of VA’s population, but that number is expected to nearly double in the next two years as more women return home from Iraq and Afghanistan and seek care.

The review of the quality of care at VA facilities, which was mandated by Congress, found that at about one-third of its facilities, the quality of outpatient care given to women wasn’t as good as what was offered to men.

It said that VA has made strides in improving care for women veterans, such as creating on-site mammography services and establishing women’s clinics at most of its medical centers. It also said VA is attempting to recruit clinicians with training in women’s care and broadening its approach to better address diseases prevalent among women such as lung cancer.

However, it said that there were barriers that remained, such as the need to train more physicians in women’s care and for more equipment to meet women’s health needs.

“VHA is continuing to investigate the possibility of gender disparity in delivery of care through research efforts aimed at further delineating the factors involved,” the review said.
go here for more

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

VA Psychiatrist says Sexual Trauma does not cause PTSD?

VA Ignores PTSD in Women
Posted by Christy Hardin Smith, Firedoglake at 4:00 PM on May 27, 2008.
The VA will not consider trauma from sexual assault a cause of PTSD.

As a female soldier or Marine, you prepare for service with a lot of training with your squad, a lot of extra time in the gym, a lot of mental and physical preparation. But nothing could prepare you for an assault ... a sexual assault ... from one of your fellow soldiers.

What do you do, as a female soldier, when the VA folks in charge of your treatment don't think you merit psych care in the wake of this trauma?

Via AnchorageDailyNews:
I asked the briefer, a VA psychiatrist, whether the VA also considered Military Sexual Trauma an experience that can lead to PTSD. He replied "no."

I looked at the physician with amazement. Many peer-reviewed journal articles assert that Military Sexual Trauma, or MST, is especially associated with PTSD. That the Veterans Administration continues to disassociate MST with PTSD is remarkable.

But it may be understandable, considering the military is a culture that ostracizes and ridicules women who "rock the boat" by reporting incidents of sexual assault and violence.

This is not an isolated opinion, unfortunately. Sen. Patty Murray, who has personal experience working with Vietnam vets in the VA system and understands the long-term ramifications of not doing this work properly, has been trying to give this issue a much louder voice on the Hill.

Kudos to her. But it's going to be a long road to change.
go here for more

Where did this psychiatrist get his training? How many others dismiss what the mental health workers have known for years?

Monday, May 26, 2008

For Women Warriors, Deep Wounds, Little Care

For Women Warriors, Deep Wounds, Little Care

Published: May 26, 2008
THIS Memorial Day, as an ever-increasing number of mentally and physically wounded soldiers return from Iraq, the Department of Veterans Affairs faces a pressing crisis: women traumatized not only by combat but also by sexual assault and harassment from their fellow service members. Sadly, the department is failing to fully deal with this problem.

Women make up some 15 percent of the United States active duty forces, and 11 percent of the soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nearly a third of female veterans say they were sexually assaulted or raped while in the military, and 71 percent to 90 percent say they were sexually harassed by the men with whom they served.

This sort of abuse drastically increases the risk and intensity of post-traumatic stress disorder. One study found that female soldiers who were sexually assaulted were nine times more likely to show symptoms of this disorder than those who weren’t. Sexual harassment by itself is so destructive, another study revealed, it causes the same rates of post-traumatic stress in women as combat does in men. And rape can lead to other medical crises, including diabetes, asthma, chronic pelvic pain, eating disorders, miscarriages and hypertension.

The threat of post-traumatic stress has risen in recent years as women’s roles in war have changed. More of them now come under fire, suffer battle wounds and kill the enemy, just as men do.

As women return for repeat tours, usually redeploying with their same units, many must go back to war with the same man (or men) who abused them. This leaves these women as threatened by their own comrades as by the war itself. Yet the combination of sexual assault and combat has barely been acknowledged or studied.
click post title for more

Monday, April 21, 2008

US Marines need a lot of good women

New Marine Corps ads go after female recruits
Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Faced with the difficulty of recruiting during a long and unpopular war, the United States Marine Corps has started marketing itself to women in a concerted way for the first time, The New York Times reported Monday.

It is running ads in magazines such as Shape, Self and Fitness, which appeal mainly to female readers, as well as through more mainstream outlets such as the TV show “American Idol,” where the message is a unisex one of patriotism rather than macho swagger.

The Marine Corps still runs its traditional ads in male-oriented media but now is also showing a softer side. In the latest campaign, a print ad shows a female Marine striking a martial arts pose in front of a crowd of men who are looking up to her as their leader, the paper reported. The tag line: “There are no female Marines. Only Marines.”
go here for more

Friday, April 18, 2008

Women at War

Women at War
Kelley Beaucar Vlahos

The American Conservative

Apr 17, 2008

April 7, 2008 - A high point of Kayla Williams’s service as a noncommissioned Army officer in Iraq was receiving a commendation for her support on missions in Baghdad. Low points included getting molested by one of her own men and being asked to mock a naked Iraqi prisoner in an interrogation cage in Mosul.

Riding a line between woman and warrior, “bitch” and “slut,” Williams, 31, was not alone. The Bush administration’s “long war” has forced the military to shock integrate more than 180,000 women into Iraq and Afghanistan over the last six years. The consequences have been both impressive and ugly and do little to put to rest decades of debate over women in combat.

Critics say the rush to put women into combat-related roles for which they weren’t trained has made them more vulnerable, exacerbated male-female tensions in theater, and advanced a controversial policy while most of the country wasn’t looking.

“We have large numbers of women who have been willing to come into the Armed Forces, who are willing to do jobs for which we have a shortage of young men,” says one retired Army colonel, now in the private sector, who declined to be identified because of his ties to the defense community. “I think the women under these circumstances do the best they can.”

Veterans who have spoken to TAC say most female soldiers have exceeded expectations. But the experience of the largest contingent of female soldiers in modern history is not unclouded. The rate of single motherhood among women on active duty is 14 percent, and nursing mothers are being deployed four months after giving birth. Reports of sexual assault are climbing, as are suicides and the number of women—now over 36,000—who have visited VA hospitals since leaving the service. As of February, 102 female soldiers had died in Iraq.

Meanwhile, the Army, which represents most women in theater, won’t release figures on how many are evacuated from the field due to noncombat injuries, illness, or pregnancy.
go here for more

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Women Veterans finding help from peers

Women Veterans Returning Home From the War are Finding Help from Their Peers

April 4, 2008 08:08 PM EDT

Women Veterans Returning Home From the War are Finding Help from Their Peers

KOLD News 13 News Anchor Dan Marries
As the struggle to win the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continues, so does the road to recovery for returning veterans. More than 1.5 million men and women have served on the battlefields over there and this weekend some of them are finding help in Tucson. Close to 191,000 U.S. troops are currently on the ground in the Middle East. More than 4,000 have paid the ultimate price, and nearly 30,000 have been wounded. Abel Moreno from Vets 4 Vets says for some of those who do make it home, the battle scars aren't always visible, "war is difficult and the reintegration process is just as difficult."
Moreno knows; he served seven years in the Army's 82nd Airborne. Two of those years were in Iraq and Afghanistan, "myself being a veteran and understanding that I think it's just as hard or even harder for women veterans who return back into society, and that's where our organization takes precedence." That organization is Vets 4 Vets. A group dedicated to Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. This weekend the group's sponsoring a workshop for women veterans in Tucson, "I am a veteran and a mother," Astin Tedford, an Iraq combat veteran says proudly, "so I take pride in being both and I work hard everyday at being the best in both worlds. It's definitely a struggle, and it's a healing process that will take a long time."
You might be surprised at the number of war time women. According to Vets 4 Vets, so far 182,000 women have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, 16,000 of them are single mothers, 8,000 are homeless, and 3,800 are homeless, "so part of Vets 4 Vets is we have the camaraderie," says U.S. Navy veteran Tia Christopher, "we get to laugh and come together and horse back ride and relax in the sun but also we can talk about some of the challenging issues we might not feel comfortable talking about with everybody but we can talk about it with our peers." Vets 4 Vets is a non profit organization and it does not charge veterans for these weekend workshops. You can help out by making a monetary donation.
If you'd like to do so or just want more information here's the link
You can also e-mail Vets 4 Vets at
or call (520) 319-5500.

Friday, April 4, 2008

4 Year Later, Women Veterans Summit In DC

Record your Oral History At the Summit - BY APPOINTMENT ONLY

We are pleased to announce Summit 2008
Dates: June 20-22, 2008
Location: Westin Washington DC City Center
1400 M Street, NW, Washington, DC, 20005
Registration Fee: Free ( limited to the first 300)

This fourth National Summit promises to be the best yet:
Providing meaningful updates on issues raised in the Summit held in 2004
Addressing new and breaking issues
Offering attendees an opportunity to shape a plan for future progress on women veterans issues
Providing information for women veterans of all eras, including National Guard, Reserves, and active duty
Offering a Health Expo on Saturday, June 21
Introducing, for the first time, a Town Hall Meeting on Saturday, June 21!
Please view the links below to obtain information with regards to registration, exhibiting,and hotel accommodations.
Registration Information
Traveler Fact Sheet
Summit Agenda
Exhibit Registration Information

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Marine Col. Jenny Holbert 30 year career Marine

Holbert managed 40 military correspondents and oversaw 70 civilian reporters during the battle to control Fallujah, Iraq. (Courtesy photo)

Life in the Marine Corps full of reward, pain
By Kate Wiltrout
The Virginian-Pilot
© April 3, 2008

During 30 years in the Marine Corps and reserves, Col. Jenny Holbert witnessed a revolution in women’s military service – and confronted the personal costs and professional perils of war.

When Holbert enlisted in 1978, women at Parris Island, S.C., weren’t taught to shoot – but they were educated in luncheon etiquette and how to wear gloves and apply cosmetics. They weren’t supposed to wear camouflage.

Today, Holbert finishes her post as a public affairs officer with the Marine Corps Forces Command in Norfolk. After two months at Quantico, she’ll hang up her camouflage at the end of May.

During the first Gulf War, Holbert learned what it’s like to be the spouse left behind when a parent deploys. Her husband, a Marine tank officer, was sent to Saudi Arabia after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. Then a reservist, Holbert was called up to active duty and worked 14 to 16 hours a day.

“Honestly, about the first 30 days that Lloyd had left, I was very angry with him for leaving me, because I was stuck,” she said. “It was just so difficult, trying to hold everything together and you’ve got the kids wondering what’s going on.”

“Sometimes I’d come home, and the kids had been watching TV and they wanted to know if Daddy died,” she recalled.

She remembers a surreal scene at a kids’ birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese near Twenty nine Palms, Calif. There wasn’t a single man present. The entire Marine division had been sent overseas.

Holbert and her husband eventually divorced. In 2004, her children now grown, she was sent to Iraq.

“It was my first deployment ever to a combat zone. When I was a young Marine, a female officer, women didn’t deploy. You might fly in – I was a finance officer at the time – to pay Marines, but then you’d leave again,” she said.
go here for the rest and for video