Any woman who’s ever served her country knows what it feels like when other people assume that couldn’t possibly be you. The complete look of surprise, the automatic glossing over, even the occasional angry assumption that you don’t belong. The subtle (or sometimes blatant) distrust that spurs people to challenge women on their Veteran status, while taking men at their word.
US Air Force
Women in the US Air Force.
She stepped out of her car and was immediately accosted by a man in the parking lot. He pointed out that her husband was not there. She responded politely that she was aware. He kept talking, adamant that she was in the wrong. “Well you can’t park there. This is for Veterans only.”
She told the man she was a Veteran. He insisted she was not. But she didn’t back down. “I said, I was in the Air Force, I did my time. I have a DD-214. He said, ‘No you don’t. They don’t look like you in the Air Force.’”
“That Chapstick must be really good.” Regularly surrounded by men who outranked her, it was the kind of comment Carmen Felder …
We recently had the honor of speaking with Mary Chisholm Hamrick; a Korean War Era Veteran who served during a groundbreaking period of changes for women in the military. Now 87, she is easygoing in conversation and carries a warm demeanor with a natural smile. And she speaks about her military service with a look of fond nostalgia and a sprinkle of humor.