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
Describe some of your memorable experiences during your time in military service.
 

Narrator: Linda Fulkerson
Interviewer: Jessica Ethington
 
 
JE: Describe one of your best experiences during your time in military service. What was one of your worst experiences? 
LF:  That's a hard one; I had a ball during my entire tour. I guess it would have to be when I was chosen as one of two Navy representatives from Idaho to march in Jimmy Carter's inaugural parade. The worst was the night I was watch supervisor, and had to pull myself for the last watch, and was hit by a drunk driver while headed back to the base. That accident ended my military career.
 
Narrator: Shirley Vega
Interviewer: Delia Gallegos
 
 
DG: Describe some of your memorable experiences during your time in military service.
SV: Well I have a lot, but not because I did something outstanding or different, because that never happened to me.   All were kind of memorable, but I guess that the most interesting thing that happened was in October 1967.  My fiancÚ and I were married on October 14, 1967.   Four days later I was on alert to go to Washington, DC.  I had never been on alert.  My husband was always on alert, but not me.  I was put on alert because the hippies were invading Washington DC at that time [editor's note: as part of the anti-war demonstrations and protests].  Four days after we married, I was sitting in the headquarters building of the XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, NC, until they decided if we were going or not.  We had to stay in the building and couldn't leave.  We had to take all the junk that we would need in our duffel bag and stay there until they decided when or if we would be leaving.
DG:  Was that the day you were married? 
SV:  No, four days later. We stayed there-- I think it was about three days before they decided we were going to go.  I was the highest-ranking enlisted woman there, so I was in charge of all the other enlisted women. We were transported to DC in a C130 cargo plane. I do not know if you know what the C130 is, but it opens from the back and you can drive vehicles in it. Maybe you have seen these supply [airplanes] on the TV. These planes are big and open from the   back and you can drive or walk in.  They are not like the airlines. They have small seats with straps, and make all kinds of noise... We got there in the middle of the night and had to find rooms for everybody to sleep in. So we could get some sleep and get up and do what we had to do the next morning. I do not remember how exactly long we spent there in Fort Meyer. We really didn't know what was happening in the city. We were there just to do administrative work. We helped everyone, not necessarily just our own office but we provided support for wherever it was needed.  
 
Narrator: Judith Mente
Interviewer: Kyle Schneider
 
 
KS: What was one of your best experiences during your time in the military service. What was one of your worst experiences? 
JM: Hmmm, well let me start with the worst, cause that's the one I remember. 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 with 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. It's very different [now]. 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 experience I had.  Nothing was a great experience. I mean, for my whole life I've always had the ability to understand what guys were talking about when they were talking about the military, how the military worked. It was great getting to be in Florida, obviously, and great getting to be a part of the hospital squadron. I got lots of knowledge, lots of knowledge, so that was very positive. It was probably interesting being there during the Kennedy assassination too.

Photos courtesy of the families.

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Linda Fulkerson at US Naval Training Center 1970

Linda Fulkerson October 2005

Shirley Vega