Magazine article VFW Magazine

Women Vets in Focus

Magazine article VFW Magazine

Women Vets in Focus

Article excerpt

This month VFW is paying special tribute to female service members and veterans alike. Their contributions warrant some extra attention.

As you will see, six articles on women vets and their specific issues grace the pages of this month's issue. Pieces on how female members are helping make the organizational infrastructure work at the grassroots also are included.

As women increasingly play a greater role in the war zones, they also do so in VFW ranks. Now far more prominent in leadership positions and at organizational functions, female veterans infuse much-needed new ideas and perspectives into our future plans.

Women have come a long way since Army contract nurses began serving on Cuba at the very same time that VFW's pangs of birth were being felt in 1898. Military nurses and later members of the various women's service branches served in war zones up through Vietnam. But the watershed came when 40,000 women deployed to the Persian Gulf in 1991, assuming roles in uniform never before played up front.

Afghanistan and Iraq broke even greater barriers. Large numbers of women have been serving in close combat support units for years now. That proximity to the fighting has earned many of them the coveted Combat Action Badge. Casualty figures tell the story best: 105 women killed (59 by hos tile action) and 569 wounded to date in both theaters of war. (see the Final Salute on page 38 for their names.)

Respect and recognition are vital first steps in attracting new members to VFW ranks, and women are certainly no exception. That's why we feel they deserve top billing on the cover. …

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