ODVA Celebrates Women Veterans’ Legacy of Service During Women’s Military History Week

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In honor of Women’s Military History Week in Oregon (March 19-25), the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs has been honoring women who have served in the United States military throughout our country’s history, in every branch of military service.

In keeping with the theme of ODVA’s upcoming Women Veterans Conference, “Stronger Together – Voices of Service,” these featured podcasts and other oral history pieces feature stories of exceptional women veterans who have served in every era of service since WWII.

Lena King | U.S. Army, World War II

As World War II in Europe unfolded, the U.S. Army encountered a massive backlog of mail for the troops. Officers knew that no mail for meant low morale, so the 6888 Central Postal Directory Battalion was born.

This unit of African American women in the Army was sent to Birmingham, England, and tasked with organizing a three-year pile of mail in six months. They did it in three months. Then they tackled a similar mess in Rouen, France.

Hear 96-year-old Lena King share her story of service in the Veterans Chronicles podcast.

Doris B. Porpiglia | U.S. Army, Korean War

Doris Porpiglia was asked how her family felt about her being in the military. Although her parents and immediate family were proud of her, her rich aunt told her that “Ladies don’t do such a thing.”

Doris Porpiglia replied, “I am more of a lady than you’ll ever be, and what I wear isn’t going to determine the person I am going to be.”

Hear more of Doris Porpiglia’s story from the Korean War Legacy Foundation.

Diane Carlson Evans | U.S. Army, Vietnam War

Growing up on a farm in Minnesota, Army Veteran Diane Carlson Evans, founder of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Foundation, always knew she wanted to be a nurse.

After her second oldest brother was drafted, she had no doubt that she would go to Vietnam herself. So she went to Minneapolis, found an Army Nurse recruiter and asked how she, too, could go to Vietnam.

Hear more of Diane Carlson Evans’ story on the federal VA’s Borne the Battle podcast.

Esther Massimini | U.S. Air Force, Cold War

How does one go from a career in tech to the opera? Air Force veteran Esther Massimini could tell you. Serving from 1979 to 1984, she was one of few women to work in tech.

At the time, the government was on the leading edge of the changes in technology and she had the opportunity to see how things changed and have an impact on these changes.

Hear more of Esther Massimini’s story on the Women of the Military Podcast.

Amy Forsythe | U.S. Marines, U.S. Navy, Iraq War

Amy Forsythe served on five combat tours, including becoming part of the first-ever female engagement teams, who courageously served a critical role for patrols in Iraq and Afghanistan.

She served as a combat correspondent and public affairs chief in the Marine Corps from 1993 to 2010, when she was commissioned as a public affairs officer in the Navy Reserve. 

Hear more of Amy Forsythe’s story on the Women of the Military Podcast.

Sarah Holzhalb | U.S. Coast Guard, Post-9/11

Sarah Holzhalb entered the US Coast Guard Commissioned Corps as a deck watch officer in 2002, serving for five years.

While grieving the suicides of two shipmates, she decided to train for her first marathon. The long training hours proved therapeutic, and her running club provided a new tribe to replace the shipmates she’d left behind.

Hear more of Sarah Holzhalb on the Borne the Battle Podcast.

2023 Oregon Women Veterans Conference

The Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs is excited to announce the in-person return of the Oregon Women Veterans Conference, which will be held May 20-21, 2023, at the Salem Convention Center.

This free biennial conference, hosted by ODVA for more than 25 years, celebrates the contributions, diversity and strength of Oregon’s women veteran community, and is the largest gathering of women veterans, across every generation of service, in the state.

This year’s agenda will include inspirational speakers, informative seminars and breakout sessions, and opportunities to network with other women veterans and receive direct assistance in accessing earned benefits and other resources

The 2023 conference registration will also incorporate social community connections through the Whova platform, which will further allow women veterans to access conference information and resources, and connect with one another before, during and after the in-person event.

For more information about or to register for the 2023 Women Veterans Conference, visit wvc.oregondva.com.

Additional Resources for Women Veterans

Women Veterans Call Center: The Women Veterans Call Center (WVCC) is your guide to VA. It is your resource for information about a variety of services and benefits that you’ve earned and deserve through your military service. To get in touch with the WVCC, you can call or text 855-VA-WOMEN (855-829-6636). This year also marks the 100th anniversary of Women Veterans Healthcare. Learn more in this video at https://youtu.be/UkEDQJCW4S8.

Military Women’s Memorial: The Military Women’s Memorial is a one-of-a-kind tribute to America’s servicewomen, past and present. The Memorial features an education center, interactive exhibits, and a world-class collection of military women’s stories. Learn more or register your service at womensmemorial.org.

Center for Women Veterans: The Center for Women Veterans’ (CWV) mission is to monitor and coordinate the federal VA’s administration of health care, benefits, services, and programs for women veterans. Stay in touch, sign up for email, follow the CWV on Facebook and Twitter @VAWomenVets. Learn more at va.gov/womenvet.

Borne the Battle Podcast: If this week hasn’t quenched your thirst for veteran stories, the federal VA’s Borne the Battle Podcast is highly recommended. Launched in 2016, this weekly podcast recognizes each battle, challenge, and sacrifice our veterans endure during and after their service, as well as spotlighting important resources, offices, and benefits offered by the VA.

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