Monday, August 20, 2018

First female active duty at WPAFB

November 3, 2010 by  
Filed under Bras & Boots, Most Recent Posts

I joined the United States Air Force in April of 1976. My first career choice out of high school was to be an airline hostess, but at that time I was too young.  So I joined the military.  My father had served in the Army in the late 1940’s, but I decided the Air Force was a better fit for me. This, of course, was a time when women could not serve in combat, or be a pilot, etc.  Women were limited to either the administrative or medical field(s).

After finishing my basic training in Texas, I continued on to complete my administrative training in Biloxi, MS.  From there I was sent to Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio where there were no female barracks at that time.  In other words, I was the first female active duty to be assigned at WPAFB. Apartments were both hard to come by and far from the base.  Transportation to and from the office was another huge problem. There was no military uniform when I was expecting our first child,  so I was told I could wear civilian clothes.  Living off base, traveling in to work daily and wearing every day clothing made it feel as if I wasn’t even in the military. And again, at that time, the military recommended a discharge to stay home and bring up your child…if you were a woman.

Amazing how many drastic changes there have been in the last 30 years! I was honorably discharged many years ago, but yes, I miss it. On several occasions I wanted very much to go back, but due to several reasons this idea was impossible…


One Response to “First female active duty at WPAFB”
  1. Joanne Skidmore, Lt Col ret says:

    Just to set the record straight, my sister-in-law, Lt. Jeanne Hardie, was assigned to WPAFB before 1971. She was a personal officer. In fact, she is the one who said I should join AFROTC as it had just formally opened up to women.

    Also, women had more options than administration or hospital as when I went on active duty in 1973, we had women in supply, transportation and working on aircraft. I can recall how tough women on the flight line had it, they were usually unwelcomed.

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