During the visit with my friend earlier this month, she asked why I hadn’t written my own memoirs about my time in the Army. As I’ve explained in the blog, I’m not ready to do that yet. Occasionally, certain things do pop up that remind me of particular incidents I don’t mind relating and that happened as I am trying to work my schedule for a trip to Louisiana. Fort Campbell, Kentucky is home to the 101st Airborne Division (The Screaming Eagles) that played prominently in WW II. They later converted from Airborne to Air Assault which has to do with the use of helicopters. It is a huge post with lots of different military units and when I was assigned there, not a large percent of women. I was not in the division, but with a major unit that provided logistical support (maintenance, supplies, fuel, etc.) Because of an oddity of timing in my first assignment to Germany, I held a couple of positions no female had previously held and in fact, worked a level above my lieutenant rank.
Anyway, my first assignment at Fort Campbell was in a position where there had been some problems and I helped get things back on track. There was a regular rotation system for younger officers and as the Battalion Commander (Lieutenant Colonel) was discussing the moves, my name came up as potential for a position no female had ever held. He wasn’t comfortable with the idea of a woman being in that role and said I could have a similar role which would have been okay. I wasn’t surprised when I was given the news. Unknown to me, however, my Captain commander went back and stood up for me. In the meantime, I was talking to my dad on the phone and when I described the complexity and responsibility of the position I really wanted and why I wasn’t going to get it, his response was, “Well, I can’t blame him. I’m not sure I’d put a woman in charge of that either.” Sigh, it was the context of the times. I won’t go into the details of what happened, but I did get the more challenging job and was in fact the first female in the history of Fort Campbell to hold a position of that type. I can’t say I didn’t make some mistakes during my tenure, but all-in-all, everything worked out.