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 your job or assignment in the military?
 

 
Narrator: Judith Mente
Interviewer: Kyle Schneider
 
 
JM: I was a medic and it was fairly prestigious to be a medic. It depended on your scores, and I scored fairly high, so I was chosen for the medical training. And then I was second in my [medical training] class, so that was positive. I went through the medical training at Lockland, and then I had a choice between two airforce bases: one was in Omaha, Nebraska which we used to call "Awful Airforce Base" and the other one was Eglin Air Force Base in Long Beach, Florida. I went to Eglin where there were nice beaches. I was a medic there. And my first 13 months, I spent 13 months in the intensive care ward, mostly at nighttime. Then I transferred to an OBGYN clinic where the military wives came and had their checkups and then their children.  And we all pulled emergency room duty. So we had weekends of pulling emergency room.  
 
Narrator: Linda Fulkerson
Interviewer: Jessica Ethington
 
 
JE: What was your job assignment in the military? Describe a typical day.
LF: I was originally an air traffic controller and I worked in Flight Support or the tower. I would file flight plans, via teletype with the FAA; help pilots with their flight plans keep track of incoming or outgoing flights. It was while typing in flight plans that one of my superiors figured out I was typing 80 wpm on the teletype and I was transferred to an administrative rating. I ended up in the 8 years I was in working as a paralegal for JAG in Wash. D.C. and was assigned to the Navy team in the Waldie vs. the Service Academy's lawsuit, in which women won the right to attend the Military Academies. I was a recruiter for a year. I was a Safety Yeoman, in which I did flight line and hangar safety  
inspections as well as doing office safety inspections, ran the safety  
meetings and did the monthly reports. I was also, towards the end of my service, an assistant administrative supervisor.
 
Narrator: Joyce McCollum
Interviewed by: Josh Lavis
 
 
JL: What was your job or assignment in the Military?  Like describe a typical day, if you would.
JM: Well let's see. I went from basic training to schooling in Fort Gordon in Georgia, for communications specialist and there we learned to type on a teletype, and to read tape as it's going through the teletype machine. You could read the letters by how many holes were cut in the tape and the sequence that the holes were cut. So then my first permanent post was back to Fort Ord, California, where my dad had retired from; that's where I went right back to [laughing].
JL: Interesting.
JM: So, I really enjoyed that.  So a typical day in Fort Ord, California would be to get up at 6 o'clock in the morning, get cleaned up, get dressed, stand formation in front of the barracks, go across the street to the mess hall, and have breakfast, and be at my job by 8 o'clock in the morning.  Two hours to stand the formation and everything [laughing].   
Um, I would just sit in front of a teletype, typing the messages and also having a tape come out, but also having a hard copy of the message I had been typing. So I did that for 8 hours with a half-hour for lunch, the middle of the day.
JL: So you sort of liked code messages? 
JM: No, the hard copy, you know is just regular language, like what you see on the computer, but the tape that comes out of the side of the machine, punches holes, and the sequence of the holes determines what letter of the alphabet it is, and in some cases at the bottom part of the tape, it would also print out what the words were. But in most cases the tape was the narrow tape, and there was one hole at the top. There were positions for 5 holes, one hole at the top and two holes at the bottom was the letter "B".

Photos courtesy of the families.

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Linda Fulkerson in her Navy uniform

Joyce McCollum

Joyce McCollum's medal