“Women of Four Wars,” a new online presentation accessible on the Veterans History Project Web site, is a call to action for volunteer interviewers to record the stories of America’s female wartime veterans. “Thanks to volunteers nationwide, the Library of Congress has preserved the recollections of more than 55,000 veterans,” said Bob Patrick, director of the Veterans History Project. “Yet, fewer than 4,000 of those interviews are from women. We need more personal accounts from female veterans, and we need the American public to record them.”
Rich in detail, photographs and historic reference, the profiles in “Women of Four Wars” are grouped into two segments: interviews from women who served in Korea and Vietnam and veterans of the Persian Gulf and Iraq-Afghanistan conflicts. The series covers nearly 60 years and documents the changing role of American women in wartime service.
Featured narratives include the story of Helen Eileen Hause, an Air Force flight nurse who logged more than 1,000 hours transporting medical patients. In Vietnam, Hause prepped wounded men for evacuation in an 85-bed plane and experienced a series of mortar attacks on the Ton Son Nhut Air Base.
Also chronicled is the experience of Brenda Vosbein, who joined the Army as a WAC with the Women’s Army Corps in 1970. In her 29-year career, Vosbein experienced—and quickly adapted to—change in the military as women’s roles expanded.
The collection also profiles Lt. Cmdr. Holly Harrison, the first woman in the United States Coast Guard to earn the Bronze Star. In charge of the 110-foot cutter Aquidneck during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Harrison and her small crew patrolled the Khawr Abd Allah waterway separating Iraq and Kuwait. Harrison became executive officer of the Maritime Law Enforcement Academy after her return from the Persian Gulf.
Commissioned by Congress to collect and preserve the recollections of Americans who served during wartime, the Veterans History Project relies on volunteers to interview veterans and submit their recollections, along with letters, photographs, memoirs and other documents, to the Library of Congress to be archived in the American Folklife Center and shared with future generations.
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