Department of Florida

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Women Veterans: Chair

From the Chairman

Deb Wheeler
Women Veterans Chair

September 2020

Not All Veterans are the Same

Over the years I have been told countless times that we are all veterans, that women veterans should be treated like our male counterparts. If that were true, I would not have to explain this. If your grandmother, mother, wife, daughter, or granddaughter, has ever served in the US military those experiences would not be the same as a male soldier. What if she had been sexually harassed, raped, kidnapped, or even killed. Look at most recently Vanessa Guillam, she was someone’s daughter and granddaughter. Raped, murdered, dismembered, and missing from Ft Hood and later her body was found. In the past couple days I have read about a female soldier who was shot and killed by her soldier husband after she had alerted her primary physician, supervisor, and her entire chain of command of her fear and situation – no one listened. This appears to have been a trend for decades. Reports made fall on deaf or uncaring ears.

I have heard personally some shocking and compelling stores. Let me mention just a couple. An Air Force Academy Cadet female experienced the hazing, snickering, spying, and harassment for starters. After surviving that she headed to flight school and she experienced the same treatment, no worse on the ground than in the air. After earning her wings, off to be in a C130 unit as a pilot. It didn’t stop there. She retired after 20 years as a Colonel only due to her strength, faith, and perseverance. She still suffers from nightmares, PTSD, and more. Another young lady, a Marine deployed to Iraq, was brutally raped and was discharged medically due the nightmares, anxiety, and panic attacks. Her discharge documents stated Bipolar disorder. Again, her rape was reported to her change of command.

These are just a few of the stories I hear, some would make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. I now want to ask the question, are all veterans the same and should they be treated the same? Just think twice about someone’s daughter, granddaughter, wife, mother, or grandmother being a veteran!

Coming soon to a District near you!

Deborah Wheeler
Women Veterans
womenveterans@legionmail.org