1999 Homecoming Conference

VWV 1999 Homecoming Conference

VWV Homecoming Attendees

Adams (Marshall), Carmen P., MSC USNR
Allen, Doris I., USA
Allison, Claire V., USAF
Anderson, Alice F., USAF
Anderson (Ellis), Ruth, USAF
Anno, Margaret, USAF
Black (Harris), JoeAnne, USA
Bostwick, Sally L., USN
Branch, Elizabeth H., USA
Brock, Cathy L., USA
Brooks, Fannie M., USA
Cadoria, Sherian G., USA
Caldwell (Eichholz), Brenda S., USA
Carroll, Sallie L., USA
Carter, Amy L., USA
Chavez, Sarah C., USAF
Clemons-Parkerton, Laurie A., USAF
Cole (Brown), Janie M., USA
Commons, Susan M., USA
Conaway, Faye, USA
Connolly, Bridget V., USMC
Cox, Juanita, USAF
Cramer, Barbara A., USAF
Crawford, Marion C., USA
Dear, Donna J., USA
Dennett (Hildalgo) Anna, USA
Eagleson-Dodge, Linda J. USA
Earl, Frances A., USA
Egermeier, Phyllis R., USA
Elliott, Betty J., USA
Embree, Emily E., USA
Eslick, Joyce E., USA
Fague (Renfroe), Edna N., USA
Foote, Evelyn Pat, USA
Fowler (Grenfell), Gloria M., USA
Freeman, Penny A., USA
Fuller, Doris D., USA
Gittman, Carole A., USA
Gonzalez, Sonia B., USA
Graebe (Storni), Glenda E., USA
Grasso (Brackett), Linda M., USA
Griffith, Virginia A., USAF
Gross (Dube) Marie I., USA
Guion (Kearschner) Bernice A., USA
Gutierrez, Marie J., USAF
Hallman (Dortch), Juliette, USA
Halsey (Asmus), Cheranne, USA
Hanley, Virginia, USA
Haselrig, Louise, USAF 
Hickman (Murphy), Tanya, USA 
Hildebrand, Dona R., USAF
Holson, Norma L., USA
Hootman, Mary L., USA
Jernigan (Hess) Pat H., USA
Johnson, Clara C., USAF
Johnson, Marjorie K., USA
Jurgevich, Nancy J., USA
Karr (Stoabs), Rhynell M., USA
Kinne, Rayneta, USA
Knutsen, June E., USA
Larsen, Shirley, USA
Lincoln (Mellen), Carol A., USA
Loring, Donna M., USA
Lowery, Donna A., USA
McArthur (Stephens), Susie Mae, USA
McClenahan, Linda J., USA
McCurdy, Judith L., USA
McDermott (Walsh), Mary P., USMC
McGuiness, Gina, USAF
McKenney, Ruth A., USA
Messer, Catherine E., USA
Michaud, Marilyn B., USAF
Miller, Hester E., USA
Misiewicz, Maryna L., USA
Murphy, Joanne P., USA
Nelson, Gail, USA
Oatman, Catherine L., USA
Offutt, Karen, USA
Ogg Carol A., USA
Ogg, Patricia, USA
Pariseau (Holguin), Laura, USA
Peck, Joan A., USA
Perkins (Mach), Nellie, USMC
Peters (Harnden), Therese E., USA 
Phillips, Charlotte E., USA
Pitts, Ruth E., USA
Poole (Deschamps), Kathleen, USA
Poole (Barnes), Linda M., USA
Powell, Patricia M., USA
Price (Ormes) Penelope A., USA
Radebaugh (Hill) Penny, USA
*Retzlaff (Votipka), Kathryn, USA
Reyes, Maria, USA
Rivera-O’Ferrall, Lucie, USA
Robinson (Carmack), Carolyn A., USA
Roth, Marilyn, USA
Ruff, Cheryl K., USA
Ruiz, Aida, USA
Saitta (Harker), Joyce, USA
Sams (Dunlap), Donna J., USA
Sanchez, Lillian, USA
Sanchez, Theresa, USA
Schamp, Adrienne L., USA
Schmauch (Babcock), Patricia V., USA
Simmons, Nancy E., USA
Spatz-Wiszneauckas, Sandra, USMC
Stallings, Jean, USA
Starnes (Brisebois), Claire, USA
Thomas (Ivy), Alaine K., USMC
Tinsley (Bermudez) Rosie, USA
Toth (Gibson), Aurora, USAF
Vasas (Stedman) Mary A., USA
Viduya (Kubeczko), Julianne, USA
Wagner, Camilla, USAF
Wampach, Anita M., USA
Watson (Keys), Linda, USA
Webb, Mary Joan, USAF
Weeks, Lois E., USA
Weikel, Sharon D., USA
Wilcox, Kathleen E., USA
Wilcoxon, Patricia A., USA
Wilkewitz (Landry), Precilla, USA
Wudy, Susan E., USA

Letter from Secretary of Defense of the United States, William Cohen

The Secretary of Defense
Washington, DC 20301
To every woman who served so selflessly in Vietnam:

Congratulations on your first Homecoming Conference! Our thoughts, prayers, and gratitude are with every one of you — those who were able to make the Homecoming, those who were not, and especially, with those who gave their lives and are at home in our hearts.

Throughout America’s history, women have made untold sacrifices and direct contributions in all of our Nation’s conflicts. Unfortunately, many of those early contributions are captured only in anecdotal accounts. But every American who has served in combat knows first hand of the important role women have played in our successes. They know women have shared the same hardships, endured the same horrors of war, surrendered the same youthful opportunities, and suffered the same debilitating after effects of combat. Women were there and made a difference.

The time has come to ensure that every American, not just our combat veterans, is aware of the lasting impact women have made in combat. Your conference is an important step toward achieving the recognition our women veterans deserve. I can think of no more appropriate time than on Veterans Day to conduct your inaugural conference.

As you gather to rekindle old friendships and to reflect on your experiences, I encourage you to offer a candid review of the many veterans programs that you will discuss during the conference. Your views are important to me.

All across America on this Veterans’ Day, we will remember your sacrifices.

Congratulations again and best wishes for a successful homecoming conference.

Bill Cohen

Greetings from the Govemor of Washington State

Greetings from the Governor November 1999
As Governor of Washington, I am pleased to welcome you to Olympia, our state capital, for the first annual reunion of the Women’s Vietnam Veterans Association.

I know the citizens of our state share my deep appreciation for the thousands of patriotic women who have served honorably and fought valiantly to protect the many liberties we enjoy as United States citizens. I applaud the members of the Women’s Vietnam Veterans Association for your dedication to our great nation, and I express my heartfelt thanks for the sacrifices you have made in the name of American freedom and democracy.

Whether you make your home in Washington or are visiting from abroad, I hope you will take advantage of your visit to enjoy the beautiful scenery in and around Olympia — one of the Pacific Northwest’s most spectacular natural settings. The Olympic and Cascade Mountains, Mount Rainier, and the sparkling waters of Puget Sound are just a few of the magnificent sights to explore.

Again, welcome to our state, and best wishes to you and your families for a memorable reunion!


Gary Locke Governor

State of Washington Proclamation

The State of Washington

WHEREAS, more than 1,200 American women served in the Vietnam War in various positions other than nursing, such as administrative, intelligence, operations, flight control and other capacities; and

WHEREAS, these women served with distinction throughout their years in Vietnam; and

WHEREAS, the Vietnam Women Veterans is comprised of Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy female enlisted and officers who served in Vietnam; and

WHEREAS, many of these women bear emotional scars from their service during the war and are just now beginning to heal from their war-time experience; and

WHEREAS, the contributions of women veterans throughout our nation’s history have been long and proud; and

WHEREAS, these distinguished veterans are gathering in Olympia, Washington, for the first-ever National Vietnam Women’s Reunion;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gary Locke, governor of the state of Washington, do hereby proclaim November 9 through 12, 1999, as

Vietnam Women Veterans Week

in Washington State, and I urge all citizens to join me in recognizing the contributions of this special group of veterans.

Signed this 26th day of October, 1999 Governor Gary Locke

Concerned Women for America of Washington

November 11, 1999

On behalf of the over 7,700 members of Washington State’s largest women’s organization, we welcome women Vietnam veterans to our capitol city. We also want to thank the many women of valor who served in this conflict. Congratulations on your first “official” gathering. While we honor all veterans on this day, we are pleased to highlight the selfless service of your members. We have not forgotten.

God bless America,

Anne Ball
State Director
Concerned Women for America of WA
Bellevue, WA

Women Veterans Committee, Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc.

Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc.
Washington, DC
November 1, 1999

Women who served in Vietnam, as active duty military, for years were unrecognized, not only for their presence but for their contribution to the effort. I congratulate you and your officers in the successful formation of Vietnam Women Veterans, Inc. This organization will bring strength to the voice and efforts of others, representing and crusading for the issues and concerns of women veterans.

As women veterans we have seen a recent increase in the acknowledgement of our accomplishments while serving in uniform. The establishment of the Women In Military Service for America Memorial brought home, loud and clear, the message that women cannot . . .must not. . . . be forgotten as significant contributors to our nation’s armed services.

We still have roads to travel in reaching our goals: one being a lasting respect for women in the military; another, achieving and maintaining the equitable allotment of benefits, care, and treatment of women veterans, now and in the future.

On behalf of all the members of the Women Veterans Committee of Vietnam Veterans of American, Inc., I wish you much success on your First Homecoming Conference. We look forward to working with you in the future, establishing a strong and healthy line of communications.


Marsha Four
Director at Large Chair
Women Veterans Committee

Kim Heikila, Program in American Studies, University of Minnesota

Dear VWV members:

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for allowing me to attend the First Homecoming Conference of Vietnam Women Veterans. It was truly an historic event, and I feel very privileged to have been able to attend. The women who gathered in Olympia were truly an amazing group. I feel like I stepped into another world for a few days, and have emerged with greater understanding and appreciation of your contributions and experiences.

It seems that the non-medical women veterans of the Vietnam War are finally receiving some long-overdue recognition. I was impressed by the number of media and research people who were at the conference. Hopefully, these reports will help spread the word to the American public about the difficulties and triumphs non-nurse military women encountered both during and since the war. Adding your stories to the history of the Vietnam War is important if we want to better understand the war, the military, and U.S. citizenship — and women’s relationships to all three. Besides that, the women of VWV go a long way toward dismantling stereotypes of women as (only) caregivers whose (only) roles in war are to provide medical care. I consider you fine role models of people who took action — consciously or not — to break down gender barriers for women in U.S. society.

I was also struck by the depth of pain that so many women veterans have experienced since the war, on many levels and for many reasons. I hope that this conference helps to ease some of that. Perhaps, in some small way, my dissertation can help as well — by helping to disseminate the voices that came through so clearly at the conference and in the interviews I conducted. Your stories need to be told, and people need to hear them.

Here’s wishing you all a heartfelt thanks — for what you did for the rest of us 30 years ago; for your forbearance in dealing with an uninformed public; for your perseverance in guiding the VA, the military, and the public toward an awareness of and increased responsiveness to the needs of women veterans; for taking the time to organize VWV and the First Homecoming Conference as a voice for forgotten women veterans; and for allowing me to take part in this occasion, these memories, and these experiences. Because I wasn’t old enough to say it at the time, allow me now to offer you all a sincere “Welcome Home!”

Kim Heikkila
Program in American Studies
University of Minnesota

Women In Milltary Service For America Memorial Foundation, Inc.

Women In Military Service For America Memorial Foundation, Inc.
Washington, DC
November 10, 1999
Dear Friends,

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Women In Military Service For America Memorial Foundation and the thousands of women who have served or are serving today, I extend best wishes for a meaningful and successful First Homecoming Conference. This “reunion” has been a long time coming and I am delighted to know that the Women’s Memorial played a part in bringing you together. My only regret is that my schedule did not permit me to attend as well.

These three days are sure to be a time of great emotion and reflection. Certainly, we all should take pride in our service. Donning the uniform of one’s country is always an honorable thing but doing so as a volunteer is an extraordinary act of patriotism. My years with the Memorial Foundation have confirmed that we are, indeed, heroines and trailblazers to those who followed. Until our service in Vietnam and except for some 700 nurses in Korea, US military women had not served in a combat theater since World War II. We proved that modern American women are fully capable of functioning effectively in a military role in a combat environment. We can take pride in the fact that we set the stage for enormous change in the utilization of women during and since our time in Vietnam. And while many may have wanted us to be weak and faint-hearted, we proved we could cope with the hardships and dangers as well as anyone else, returning home with combat decorations, wounds inflicted by the enemy, and psychological wounds inflicted by dealing firsthand with the horrors of war.

I’ve thought a lot about my service in Vietnam. While thirty years have passed, that one year at MACV headquarters in Saigon seems like only yesterday, with many of the sights, sounds and smells easy to recollect. In a larger sense and beyond the more personal memories, I’ve come to view my service there and our country’s involvement in other ways. I feel today, as I felt then, that as a member of the US military I couldn’t have done anything but serve in Vietnam — it was my duty. I also believe that America was right in being there. Communism was, indeed, a threat to democracy and the horrors it wrought upon the people of Vietnam compelled our involvement. Where we were wrong was the execution of that involvement. And lastly, with the many changes in Vietnam of the past few years, I have concluded that our defeat there was only temporary. While the loss of so many lives is still difficult to reconcile, I firmly believe their sacrifice was not in vain. And as the years pass, I realize even more the meaningful contributions each of us from that era made to our military, our nation and our society.

Again, best wishes for a wonderful Homecoming Conference. I am confident each of you will bring a unique contribution to the event, adding to the rich body of knowledge and memories that already exists about that era and the brave women who stepped forward to make a difference in that most difficult war. We at the Foundation are eager to learn the results of this historic three days and to work with the Vietnam Women Veterans organization to identify mutual goals and reach out to the many women veterans of all eras so that their story may, too, be told.


Wilma L. Vaught, Brigadier General, USAF, Retired