Vietnam Women Veterans
Stories from Vietnam Women Veterans Living in the East Valley as told by CGCC Students in partnership with Chandler Museum's Public History Program
What was the most difficult time for you during your service?
 

Narrator: Shirley Vega
Interviewed by: Delia Gallegos
 
 
DG: What was the most difficult time for you during your service? Did you feel pressure or stress? How did people entertain themselves? 
SV: I am sure there was stress.   I think that at different times there are different kinds of stress, some physical, some mental.  I think I had to keep focusing on me and what I was doing in order to get through it, because it wasn't easy.  It was hard.   I am sure that what the women that are in the military today are going through [have] more stress than I probably had to go through.  At the time it was stress being away from my family, meeting new people.  In basic training we were in a room with forty other women that came from all walks of life and somehow we bonded together to help each other get through.  You make relationships that last for years.  I have friends that I still keep in touch with that I served with at Fort Bragg.  You build very meaningful relationships and they became your family because they understand where you have you been, what you have done.   
 
Narrator: Judith Mente
Interviewer: Kyle Schneider
 
  
JM: We were a medical unit so we were living in the WAF barracks, which is the Women's Air Force barracks, but we were flying to the hospital squadron so we ate and worked in the hospital. And that was a usually good experience, that was a good thing because the hospital food was good. But I was there during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and also during the time when President Kennedy was killed. And so I think the worst time for me was when there was a lot of rumors obviously around the Missile Crisis... Enlisted women were not allowed to go overseas at the time when I was in the Air Force. [Today] it's very different. But it was rumored that we were going to be mobilized as a medical unit to go to Homestead, in southern Florida, if the crisis didn't abate. And...I couldn't find my dog tags [laughs] I finally found them, but that was the worst, that was the worst experience I had.

Photos courtesy of the families.

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Shirley Vega