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tv   American Artifacts The Womens Memorial Part 2  CSPAN  July 4, 2019 3:11pm-3:46pm EDT

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group. it seems like annually there is legislation that goes before the hill asking to give them veterans benefits. they'd never been given veterans benefits. it was an amazing thing for america and certainly for medicine here in america. another group of people were the civil air patrol. we had a number of women who served with the civil air property and flew. and then we all know about those women who were rolling bandages with the red cross, women who served with the uso. we recognize them as well. they stepped forward to be part of the national effort in world war ii. >> this was the first of a two-part look at the women's memorial. in part two we'll pick up the story where we left off by learning about women's service during the korean war. you can view this and all other
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american history tv programs at
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>> as we leave world war ii and legislation that gave women a permanent part of the military,
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we are -- we wait a few short years, and we are faced with war on the korean peninsula. there was such a concern that it would be a world war, like world war ii was, that we recalled people to service, to be sure we had people in place to be part of this war. and many of them were women as well. for the first time. it didn't turn out that way we needed that many. but at any rate, most of the women who served in korea on the ground were army nurses. it was a horrendous situation. they would barely get established and set up a hospital. and they would have to move. we have one diary from a woman, a nurse who talked about setting up a hospital in an abandoned school. it was dirty. and it it was hot. but they needed to close the windows because rats crawled up the outside of buildings. so those were the conditions under which these women served. >> long hours of duty for all of us. we work from 18 to 24 hours, 36 hours around the clock. >> this is the whole crew? >> the entire crew. >> how many operations could you do at one time? >> our first setup, we could make good use of our six tables. we had six operating room tables. and they were in full swing at all times. and patients were taken care of as soon as they came in. we had three anesthesiologists and we could hold down two or three tables at a time. >> that was your job, you were an anesthesiologist? >> that's correct. >> we had women who served on ships and as flight nurses. treating the wounded from japan out of battle. they were the army, navy as well as air force, which were by this
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time, air force had been created. in 1947 by this time we had air force nurses as well who were serving in that theater. we had other women serving, of course, around the world as well. but on the ground in korea were primarily army nurses. so we could see how uniforms and how the military was beginning to be more accepting and realizing that women were here to stay. and fashioning uniforms under the conditions under which they were served. so this would have been the fatigue uniform, so to speak. of the nurses in korea. it was very familiar. looks like the m.a.s.h. ones we've seen on television. these were flight nurse uniforms, our air force uniforms. we have a hospital chest that would have been carried with the
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nurses into the hospital. there was a considerable effort to recruit women. everyone, but certainly for women. i don't know if the nation was battle weary. they wanted to get back to their normal lives. when korea came on the heels so quickly of world war ii, there was a great effort to try to recruit everybody, but certainly for women as well. >> certainly a lot of girls watching this program we would like to see become army nurses. this is your opportunity to talk to them, molly. there they are. >> we need nurses and very badly. especially nurses with critical mos's, most of all
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anestes. >> molly, we're asking for nurse, we're asking for these girls to join you. we're not doing what the army used to do, join and see the world. in fact we've given them a pretty rough picture right here, i think more important than anything else is the fact that you get a great deal of satisfaction out of your job, don't you? >> yes, we do. we save lives and can't think of anything more important than to save lives. >> one of the efforts the postal service became a part of was to create a stamp with the profiles of military women. only four of them. they left out the coast guard. here is our first stamp ever that speaks to military women. when we dedicated the memorial in 1997, we were honored to be able to work with the postal service to create a second stamp
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to celebrate the story of women's service to the nation but this time we included all five services, so we were quite proud of that. the date of issue was october 18, 1997. they generously brought in the post office kiosks here that we could get stamps and have them stamped for the women's memorial. we were very excited that we created the defense advise committee of women in the services. it still exists today. it was compromised of individuals from across the united states influencers, business leaders. education leaders, things of that sort. community leaders who came together to provide advice and
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assistance to the secretary of defense on the utilization of women. that was created in 1952 as part of the effort to, you know, this recruiting effort to bring folks, women into the military. and it's still providing advice and assistance. of course, it's a little bit different now as the laws have fallen away with utilization of women. nevertheless the dacowitz was a force for sure. so now we move forward to vietnam. again, it was primarily a nurse's war. we had some 7500 women, we believe, on the ground. certainly most of them were nurses. the interesting thing about that is how other women, line women,
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those who were not in the medical side of the house ended up being in vietnam, was general westmoreland wanted some clerical support to come and support the senior staff there in saigon. so the wacs were the first one to get on the ground in vietnam. it's interesting when you hear the stories of the women who served there, i love talking with them. what they tell me is that they, so are you going to train us on a weapon? no, you don't need a women. think about that, you are sending a person to a war zone
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and you don't prepare them to protect themselves. one woman got orders to go to vietnam. she asked if she could go to the firing range to qualify. so she got a little bit of training from her brother-in-law and then she went to the firing range, they let her go, and she qualified. she gets to vietnam. of course they don't issue her a weapon. however, it was just after the tet offensive, she was living in a hotel in saigon. the woman she was replacing in the room kind of gave her a little tour and she opened up the bureau drawer and there was an ak-47 and ammunition just in case she needed it. so when she finished her year of tour of duty and went to her mps and said how do you turn in a
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weapon that you were never issued, one of the beloved female general officers general pat foot says when she went to vietnam they issued her a handbag so she could swing it and protect herself. so this is how they dressed. there were very few. i guess there were some occasions where they ended up in fatigues so to speak, so the nurses certainly did. but the line women were primarily in their dress uniforms on a daily basis because they were there kind of as clerks and things of that sort. but nevertheless, they were this. the important thing to point out is, by the time we're in vietnam, the women's movement is all restarted. bet bet bet betty friedan is doing her
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thing, and women are beginning to sort of chafe against all of those restrictions that were placed upon them as a result of the 1948 integration act, one of which was benefits. and a young first lieutenant in montgomery, alabama, was suffering financially because she was married to a civilian, and women at that time were not afforded the opportunity of quarters allowance or quarters. so she talked about this, and they told her she should sue. so she did and she lost. and she was encouraged to keep going. and the american civil liberties union picked up that case and carried it to the supreme court. the supreme court ruled it was unconstitutional for women not to receive the same benefits as men. and the woman who took that case
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forward to the supreme court was ruth bader ginsberg as a young lawyer. we're very proud to know that we're part of her story as well. that didn't only affect military women, it affected women across the united states. >> in asking the court to declare sex a suspect criterion, amicus urges a position forcibly stated by sarah rimke, noted abolitionist. she spoke not elegantly, but with unmistakable authority. she said, i ask no favor for my sex. all i ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks. >> we had other issues, the pregnancy issue, that fell away. women sued because they were put out of the military, who had
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long successful careers and ended up having to get out of the military. there were a lot of things going on at that time, and the same time, the american public was chafing against the draft. they had to look at what they were going to do to bring more people in. and again like in world war 1 and 2. they turned to bringing more women into the military. they knew that some of those rules had to go away. the 2% ceiling on the number of women who could serve. the restriction on grade. the restrictions on where women could serve on combat ships or combat aircraft stayed. in fact, they stayed well into the '90s following desert storm. you can see some of the things here that speak to what women were doing, where women were serving.
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this is sharon lane. sharon lane was a nurse, army nurse. she was the only woman to be killed as a result of enemy fire in vietnam. we had other women who lost their lives. we had women who were awarded the purple heart. we can see here a bronze star. these uniforms by the way, they had to be starched. you can imagine a hot climate like vietnam. we called ourselves strak lax. you had to be strapped. you ironed your uniform and pressed it and were presentable at all times. this is a picture of president johnson signing the legislation that removed the restrictions on grade in 1967. here we are, the chiefs of the
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women's services components are there to include the nurses. in 1970, the first women were promoted to general officer. we sort of end this journey of women's service to the nation with women serving today in the global war on terror. this is a unique exhibit in that we at the time we established it, there was a woman who was a command major in afghanistan. reseech we asked her if she could help us tell the story of what women were doing on the ground in afghanistan and iraq. she very generously reached out to the women, the very women who were serving to help us tell this story. we have their email diaries. we have pictures.
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we have stories of what they did on the ground and certainly the uniforms that they wear today as opposed to what you saw during world war ii, and certainly think about american revolution, when women weren't issued uniforms at the time. so we have women wearing 60 pounds of gear as they go out. we used to have a placard here, and it keeps disappearing. it was for aifuate aviators. but it kind of applies to women who are on convoys and things of that sort. it was to pee or not to pee. it was a whole story about what women are doing in order to be part of these operations. to take care of themselves. so, you know, you have to think about those things for sure. to pee or not to pee. the placard, i guess people are interested in having that for
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themselves. so anyway. we have these women serving in afghanistan and iraq. there's a real cultural issue with men and their contact with the local female population. the military formed these groups of women. the first called lioness. where they would go, they would partner with a team that was going into a village, or doing a night raid or whatever, they were going into a home where they would have contact with local women which was, of course, cultural. and we wanted to be able to honor this culture. so we had women from all the services who were doing that. but if you think about the law that said where women could
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serve or not serve and the restrictions on that, they were really kind of violating that. and later, we formed these female engagement teams that were really out in the countryside. some of them on their own. but again, they're also part of homes. the establishment of the outfits or units really kind of expanded where women were on the battlefield. i kind of think back about the progress of women over time, and it's always been about need. you know, things moved forward because they needed women to do these jobs. and it was the very same case with women in afghanistan and iraq. they needed them because they could get good intelligence from sources that they could never
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get near and were very very successful. so that sort of kicked open the door again with the laws and the rules about where women were going to be. finally, it became such a burden to commanders as they thought about they had a mission to accomplish, but they had all these rules that they had to lay on top of it that would impede the accomplishment of that mission, that the secretary of defense in january twi2013 said we're going to get rid of all of that, women are serving everywhere anyway. we're not going to do that any more. in 2016, the secretary of defense opened all jobs. so today, there are no
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restrictions on women. secretary panetta as well as the joint chiefs of staff copies of the ruling that rescinded those combat restriction policies. it has been certainly a journey when you think about where the restrictions that were placed on women. you even look back just as close as vietnam where women were not even trained in weapons. i can tell you that my class of wac officers in 1973 was the first class of women who were trained on weapons, you know, formally trained on weapons. and i've been told that the next classes they sort of stepped back from that. you think about what women were asked to do, that these
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restrictions they had to live within these. so again, i would say we just wanted to serve. we come to the very heart of the memorial, the register, which is a place where we tell the individual stories of the women who served. to date, we have some 267,000 women's records of service that can be accessed by the public. and to pay tribute to these women, beginning with the american revolution to today. we've identified some folks from each service so that you can -- so that you can see some of the heroes that every day heroes that live among us that are registered here at the women's memorial. our first woman was a petty officer initially when we first
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met sarah vega. she's a coast guard woman. and she was part of a redeployment assistance and inspection attachment team. their primary mission is to inspect materials that are being shipped back to the united states from a war zone and for hazardous materials and items that shouldn't be coming back into the united states. she was deployed twice. once to afghanistan and iraq. since we first met sarah, she has gone to officer candidate school, and is now an officer in the united states coast guard. our second woman that we are meeting today is a retired navy commander tammy jo shultz. we know her as the southwest pilot who just a few months ago successfully landed a southwest
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airliner that had taken off from laguardia and an engine blew, blowing a hole in the fuselage. and tammy successfully landed that. she was one of the very first women in the navy to fly the high performance aircraft. and really quite a story for this woman. sandra spots is one of 36 women marines who were permitted to serve in vietnam. she was a clerk. obviously you can see from her picture that she did a lot of other things when she was on the ground and volunteering in orphanages and things of that sort. she was one of the few military women besides nurses who are able to travel around vietnam when she worked with senior
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leadership at the naval forces headquarters there in saigon. emily walker was a flight nurse during the korean war. she flew between japan and korea medevacing casualties from the korean peninsula. she was with one of the storied evacuation units. they were responsible for the evacuation of marines, served with them for 18 months. and our last woman, our army representative martha putny. her story is just amazing. she was one of the first 40 women, african-american women to join the women's auxiliary corps. hand picked by mary macleod
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methuen. they travelled to ft. des moines to be -- it was a great effort on the part of civil rights activists as well as with the support of the first lady, eleanor roosevelt to ensure that african-americans were able to be a part of the military. and martha putney was one of them. the story she told about what she endured and those women endured. they were segregated. they ate in a separate dining room, at least initially. when they used the pool on the post it was cleaned. it they could only use it once a week. german pow's were permitted to go to the club, african-american officers were not. she was one of those. they formed a band. african-american formed a band and the army decided they didn't want the band, so i think martha probably reached out, those
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folks who helped her as well as eleanor roosevelt. because she said eventually eleanor roosevelt intervened and they were able to have their band. she used the gi bill to get her ph.d.. she taught at howard, she was a senior fellow at howard. as well as various schools here on the east coast. she's the author of four books. just an extraordinary woman, and i can see her. she's passed away now, but i can see her after we had dedicated and had programs here, walking up from the metro. i would say, dr. putney, let me come get you. no, i can walk she said. walking up to be part of the ceremony at the women's memorial. >> i know i made a contribution
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to the women's army corps, but both in the short run and the long run i also realized that i learned a lot. it was a tremendous learning experience in the army. if they profited from my service, i really profited from having served. >> family members can register a family member or friends online, at click on register. doesn't cost you anything, but we're always very happy for donations. or we have forms that can be sent or downloaded for people to register. the register itself it is for security and privacy reasons, at least until today, we have chosen not to put those
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administration registrations online, but visitors certainly can come. she spent a lot of time with journalists, researchers, using the database to help tell the story of women's service. so we accommodate wherever we can to help to have other folks tell us the story. what we found is that like so many veterans, the women are the same, they seldom talk about their service. so we have brought that alive for them. it is a very gratifying place to be. >> this was the second of a two-part look at the women's memorial. you can watch part one and all other american history tv programs at
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here's a preview. >> this is richard straiter in washington, d.c. each year for the past 1years americans have celebrated. this year's fourth of july celebrations were something special . americans from all walks of life took this opportunity to find common ground in affection for
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the country. >> the speaker was evangelist lead er billy graham. >> if riots occur, the whole world knows about it. instead of an iron curtain, we have a picture window. >> in the evening there was a two hour and 45 minute show featuring american film, television and recording stars and hosted by world faemous comedian bob hope. >> here's a gal we're so happy to have with us. she's miss black american. ms. geo smith right here.
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♪ ♪ no matter where i run, i meet myself there ♪ ♪ looking inside me, what do i see ♪ ♪ anger and hope and doubt ♪ what am i all about and where am i going ♪ >> they sang "this land is your land". ♪ this land is your land, this land is my land ♪ ♪ from california to the u.s. islands ♪ ♪ this land was made for you and
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me ♪ ♪ >> hundreds of thousands of persons took part in the celebration at this nation's capital while millions more in their own way, in their own towns and cities throughout the united states took this day to affirm their love for their country. this is richard straiter in washington, d.c. travel back in time and watch the entire film "honor america day" saturday night at 10:00 p.m. eastern on "reel america." according to the cdc, there have been more than 1,000 cases of the measles in the united states so far this year.
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the largest number since 1992. the cdc attributes the rising number to unvaccinated internal travelers who bring the disease to the u.s. and its spread in pockets of unvaccinated people. next on "reel america" we travel back to 1964 to learn about the history of the highly contagious disease caused by a virus and the development of the measles vaccine. the pharmaceutical company merck with help from the u.s. public health service produced this 20-minute film. >> this is the virus magnified thousands of times by the electron microscope. this, the disease caused by the virus, one which has plagued man since recorded history.


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