SCHANEN:This is an interview with Judy A. O'Hara who served with the USMarine Corps from January 3rd of 1969 to January of 1971, and then with the Army National Guard from 1988 to 2001. The interview is being conducted at her home in Grafton, Wisconsin on December 11th of 2004, and the interviewer is Vicki Schanen. Judy, why don't you start just by giving us a little bit of background on you. What year were you born and where?
O'HARA:I was born September of 1950. I was born in a little place calledHartley, Iowa. In Northwestern Iowa over by the South Dakota border, and [clears throat] I was the second oldest of four kids. I had a brother, Jimmy. There was me, Judy, my brother Jerry and my sister Jenna. My Dad was James. [both laugh]
O'HARA: My mother is Ida. My mother was born in Mexico City, my dad's from Iowa,and as my dad was in the Navy, he was a veteran of Pearl Harbor in World War II and-- 1:00
SCHANEN:And what about your education before you went into the service?
O'HARA:I was just graduating from high school, went through K-12.
SCHANEN:So, why did you decide to enter the service, and why did you choose thebranch you did?
O'HARA: My dad was in the Navy, and my dad was always my hero, so I thought I'mgoing to grow up just like him. [laughs]
SCHANEN:Daddy's little girl.
O'HARA:Daddy's little girl. That's right. And I went downtown and startedlooking into different military branches, and I went to the Navy first because that's what my dad was.And I went there and they didn't take me seriously, and they said, "Come back when you're eighteen, kid." And I didn't like that so then I went and looked into the Marine Corps, [both laugh] and they were--they took me in with open arms, and they said, "Sure, well we'll have you, and we'll get you on the early program." So I could sign--be ready to go a little early, but as soon as I turned eighteen then I could go right-- 2:00
SCHANEN:This was at sixteen, already you were--?
O'HARA:I was looking into it, yes.
SCHANEN: Okay, so all your life you knew you wanted to be in the service.
O'HARA: In the service at some point in my life, yes.
SCHANEN: Ok. Alright, so the Marine Corps said, "Yes come on." What did you do forthe two years before you turned eighteen, then?
O'HARA:I graduated high school at seventeen, and after I graduated from highschool I had to wait until I was eighteen before I could go in. And so I went out to California where I worked at an awful place called an egg ranch where you [clears throat] candled eggs, packed them, washed them, and did that. So I did that until I went into the Marine Corps.
SCHANEN:And why did you go to California to get a job?
O'HARA: Oh, I just wanted to get away from Wisconsin and I wanted to get awayfrom the weather, and so when I graduated my Dad said, "What would you like for graduation?" I said, "Oh, I would like a ticket to ride the Vistadome, that was before Amtrak, the train. And I went out to California, and I just wanted to work out there until I entered the Marine Corps. And that way if something happened, like I wasn't able to get into the Marine Corps, or something, at least I would be living in California and it was warmer and I just--it was 3:00someplace I just wanted to go.
SCHANEN: And at what point did you come from Ohio?
SCHANEN: Oh, Iowa. I mean, Iowa to Wisconsin?
O'HARA: My dad was in the--after he got out of the Navy, he was in the Navyreserve, so we lived in different places.
O'HARA: And we lived in, Illinois for a while, and then we lived in Michigan; mydad was in Benton Harbor, Michigan, and then he was in the Naval Reserve Center in Quincy, Illinois. So we lived all over, and then eventually we moved to Milwaukee.
SCHANEN: So then your education was all over.
O'HARA: Yes, I started Kindergarten in St. Joseph, Missouri, with the schoolacross the street from where Jesse James was shot.
SCHANEN: Oh dear. [laughs]
O'HARA: Yeah, it was just a big thing, then, you know to--a big historical thingin town. And then we moved back to Iowa and then so I went to school in Iowa for a while and then we came up to Wisconsin.
SCHANEN: What was the longest time you had in any school?
O'HARA: I would probably say high school. I lived in the same area for fouryears, so that was the longest time-- 4:00
SCHANEN: So you got your entire high school education from the same place.
O'HARA: Yeah. I graduated from St. Francis High along the lakefront inMilwaukee, in 1968.
SCHANEN: Okay. Um, so I guess I was just--when I asked you from sixteen toeighteen that's the early program. Are you definitely committed to having to go into the Marines?
O'HARA: No. They give you, you know, all the paperwork to do and they give youthe physical and everything, but until you take an actual oath, but they don't tell you that. But when you're a teenager you think, Oh now I'm really obligated and if I don't, they'll come to my door, you know. But I knew I was going to stay committed to it.
SCHANEN: Okay, because at those ages, you change your mind every week it seems.
O'HARA: Absolutely, and that's the way the recruiter makes it sound like thatyou can't get out of this, but you can. But I had no desire to.
SCHANEN: Well yeah. That's why I was wondering if you were really stuck, becauseI thought, Oh [both laugh]. So you're out in California, now, and turned eighteen after having worked on an egg ranch for a few months, and so you go 5:00into an induction center in California, or--?
O'HARA:Yes, in Los Angeles. And they took pictures and [clears throat] and wetook our oath and then we went off to boot camp.
SCHANEN: And where was that, now?
O'HARA: Parris Island [laughs].
SCHANEN:That's out there, too?
O'HARA: No. Parris Island is in South Carolina.
SCHANEN:That's right! Still Warm.
O'HARA:That's right. And as an enlisted woman--all the enlisted women in theMarine Corps go to Parris Island.
SCHANEN: Okay. Were there many women enlisting in the Marine Corps then?
O'HARA: Actually quite a few, yes. Our platoon was full.
O'HARA:Yes, oh yes.
SCHANEN: And a platoon would have about how many?
O'HARA: Oh, gosh, if I remember right, I thought there were forty or fifty, orsomewhere around there, for women's basic platoon. It could have been more, but I thought it was somewhere in there.
SCHANEN: Okay. Do you know when it would have been more common that women startedjoining in the military? Usually you think of men. 6:00
O'HARA: Yeah, I don't know. Desert Storm, maybe it would have picked up. Butbefore that there were women in the military and like I say, our offices were always full of women, but still compared to the population as a whole we were very minute so it was still kind of a novelty then.
SCHANEN: Okay, you still were. And when you did enlist in the Marines, did youhave a choice of what you'd be trained for?
O'HARA: No. You could say, "I'd like to do this or I'd like to do that," but weall know, they put you exactly where they want you, and they take tests. I thought--you know really I didn't care where they put me. I just didn't want to be a cook. [laughs] I didn't want to wear those ugly hats they wear. [both laugh]
SCHANEN: Those chef hats?
O'HARA: Oh, yeah. I didn't want to wear those. And I didn't want to stand behinda grease pot all day, so I kept thinking oh gosh I hope I have enough going for me during the testing--but they made me an admin clerk which was administrative. So I was in an office, so I could never complain.
SCHANEN: But you didn't know that yet when you were going to Parris Island?
O'HARA: No, no, I didn't--
SCHANEN: Okay, so what happened down there?
O'HARA: Oh we went into boot camp and--
SCHANEN: And this would have been when?
O'HARA: January of 1969.
SCHANEN: Okay, and your training would be how long?
O'HARA: It was nine weeks.
SCHANEN:Nine weeks, okay.
O'HARA: Nine weeks for the actual basic, and then I had another four weeks foradministrative training.
SCHANEN: And that was still at Parris Island?
O'HARA: Right across the street. [laughs]
SCHANEN: Okay. So you didn't have to change homes right away.
O'HARA: No. I didn't have far to go.
SCHANEN: Okay, and what did you do then in the first nine weeks?
O'HARA: Oh [laughs] I got down and I thought, I hate myself for doing this.[both laugh]
SCHANEN: Oh. A lifelong dream and you weren't [inaudible]
O'HARA: Yeah, and I knew I wouldn't give up because that just wasn't part of mynature. But we got up at five o'clock in the morning, and you had to do cleaning, and have inspections, and all that. But for about the first two weeks I learned that if you were a smoker you had privileges. If you were a non-smoker you had to take the laundry down in the morning, you had to hang the other 7:00laundry up, so I never considered myself a shirker, but I thought, Wait a minute--this is unfair that all those--and because our drill instructor was Catholic and I was a Protestant, I still had to go do it she says. Everyone who's Protestant outside get clothes, and if you're a non-smoker outside get clothes.
SCHANEN: Oh really, oh my.
O'HARA: Yes. So what do you know, its' just--I never took it personally.
SCHANEN: You mean outside to get the clothes?
O'HARA: To hang up the clothes and take the wet clothes--I mean the dry clothesdown and hang up the wet clothes.
SCHANEN: I see. Now who was washing these clothes?
O'HARA: We washed them by hand. We didn't--the men had washers, but the womenhad to do all their laundry: all of it, all of it by hand.
SCHANEN: And you all had to hand--no only certain people had to go hang them up, though.
SCHANEN: So you'd just throw them in big baskets, everything is--
O'HARA: Mmh hmm.
SCHANEN: Labeled so--
O'HARA: You had your name in the clothes, so yeah. After a while, even though Iwasn't a smoker, I just had someone light a cigarette for me and I held it and I thought, for two weeks I'm a smoker even though I never [laughs] even--I didn't smoke. And then I felt guilty so then I went back to doing my duty--being a 8:00non-smoker and getting clothes down in the morning and putting the other ones up.
SCHANEN: It was better than breathing all that smoke, huh.
O'HARA: Yeah, it was. [both laugh]
SCHANEN: Fresh air and exercise sure beats holding a cigarette, doesn't it.[both laugh]
O'HARA: I guess it does. And then we had classes about eight hours a day and atthe time it seemed--you know it seemed hard because it was a different way of life. But when I look at the women now, what they go through training, I think the women now have it much harder.
SCHANEN: Oh, really?
O'HARA: Because now the women actually go out in the field, and they actually dothe slide for life, and they do go out on the rifle range. And at the time that I was in, women were not allowed to drive the big trucks. They weren't allowed to shoot the weapons. Actually, about all the women could do was be an admin clerk, a cook, or supply.
SCHANEN: Oh, okay. So women weren't going into battle or combat at this time.
O'HARA: No, not at all. In fact, they didn't even wear fatigues I think backthen. We did have a uniform that we wore when we cleaned which was a blue--a 9:00dark blue pair of pants, a light blouse, and then what they call the piss cutters which were the ugly little hats.
SCHANEN: Oh, really?
O'HARA: Those are the ones which you pull open and they just fit down on your head.
SCHANEN: Oh, okay.
O'HARA: Yeah, that was the name for them. There's military term you probablywant to put that in your book. [laughs] But that's what we wore, and then we wore that when we were marching.
O'HARA: In camp and stuff.
SCHANEN: So youdid wear pants at that time, but you weren't trained for anyduties that men--
O'HARA: Absolutely not. Absolutely not, and I always wore to work every day,wore heels. Women could actually wear tie shoes back then, but I always wore the heels, had my uniform on.
SCHANEN: Now that was a dress with the heels, or you wore that with the pants too?
O'HARA: No, just with my--
SCHANEN: A skirt?
O'HARA: Skirt and then the button down blouse that went with it.
O'HARA: I always wore heels. I never wore the tie shoes, and I thought, I'm agirl, I'm a girl. [both laugh]
SCHANEN: You didn't want to wear the funny chef's cap.
O'HARA: No, no, I was very particular about my fashion wear. [laughs]
SCHANEN: You were fashion conscience then.
O'HARA: Yeah, I didn't want to be a walking foux pas. [both laugh]
SCHANEN: Okay, so you didn't have all the--I always hear people with theirbasic, you know the men are always, "We were doing all these calisthenics and all this marching--"
O'HARA: Oh, we did pushups. We did a lot of marching, and we did a lot ofpushups, sit-ups. We went to--
SCHANEN: Regular men's pushups, or did they have women's pushups?
O'HARA: No, they were the ones on the knees--
O'HARA: Yup, well they figured women weren't going into combat and they weregoing to be doing these other ones. We needed to be physical, but not as much as the men. We didn't do nearly what the men did.
SCHANEN: Okay. So you did these and you did go on marches, you said?
O'HARA: Uh, well we did marching on the parade deck and that, but as far asforced march like the men do with packs, then no. We didn't--we did go through the gas chamber, and then we had life-saving in the swimming pool and all that, but that was fine. 10:00
O'HARA: It was more classroom.
SCHANEN: Anything memorable about any of your instructors or people you metwhile you were going through basic or did--
O'HARA: Met a girl that was--she was Cajun and I found her a very interestingperson. I knew that she was a colored person, but her skin was more of a yellow, and one day she said something about that she was Cajun and I had never heard that expression. So I found her to be a very nice, a very likable person. But she washed out and I always felt bad about that. And the day she left I cried with her.
SCHANEN: Washed out means that--
O'HARA: She didn't make it through. Um, she didn't have enough education to--
O'HARA: It just--she just couldn't pass the test.
SCHANEN: And you had never heard the term Cajun.
SCHANEN: Did she describe to you what that meant, or--?
O'HARA: She just said it was French Creole and black mixture, is what I came tounderstand it.
SCHANEN: French Creole?
O'HARA: You know like the French were down in Louisiana and the whites were--
SCHANEN: And they just call them Creole because they were in Louisiana?
O'HARA: And I guess their skin is more of a yellow color or something.
O'HARA: But, she was just a genuinely nice person and otherwise our boot camp itwas just--I was just trying to just make it through. And you know I hear people say, "You know when I was in boot camp I laughed about this or I laughed about that." And you know, for the life of me I didn't find anything to laugh about for nine weeks. [both laugh] Not one thing.
SCHANEN: Did they try hard--did they try to make it hard on you, so you wouldwash out as you say?
O'HARA: Oh, I don't think it was to wash out, but they wanted you to bedisciplined and--
SCHANEN:And did you have a little problem with discipline?
O'HARA: No. I didn't have a problem with discipline. I knew it was for apurpose. Some days I didn't care for it, but you put up with it and you know this, too, shall pass.
SCHANEN: Right. And how about free time? Did you have free time and what did you do?
O'HARA: Actually very little, and when you did have free time you were studyingfor your test that you were going to have, or else you were writing letters home. And so when these people now in boot camps say, "Oh, we saw the movies and stuff like that." You went to a movie! [laughs] Where'd you go to boot camp? [both laugh] So my free time was either writing letters home or studying, and actually it was more studying because I wanted to make it through. I made up my mind that I wasn't going to go home and shame it. And really it wouldn't be shame, but to me--I would have taken it that personally.
SCHANEN: You wouldn't have succeeded at what you attempted.
O'HARA: No. Even so, I just couldn't do it.
SCHANEN: So you finished your nine weeks. How did you feel then?
O'HARA: Oh boy. I thought, It's got to get better from here. It only can go upfrom here.
SCHANEN:So you moved across the street.
O'HARA: Across--they said--so they told us all of our assignments were--wegraduated, we went and walked around thinking we were hot stuff, you know. Now we were official.
SCHANEN: And what was your title now?
O'HARA: Private. [laughs]
SCHANEN: Private. What were you before?
O'HARA: I was a recruit. [laughs] At boot camp you were not private you wererecruit. So now you were a whole E-1 private and then they gave us out assignments, and one girl went to Hawaii, and another girl went to San Francisco, and another went to North Carolina. And then they said, "Tiffany" and I put up my hand.
SCHANEN: Because your last name then was--
O'HARA: My maiden name was Judy Tiffany. And they said "Tiffany", and I said,"Yes," and they said, "Across the street." And I thought--and I looked across the--and they said "you're going to admin school across the street." I thought, Oh crap, I'm stuck here for another four weeks at Parris Island. [laughs]
SCHANEN: So what kind of training was the girl going to get in Hawaii? Do you know?
O'HARA: No, I don't what she--no.
SCHANEN: Okay. So you didn't know what some of these other places were. You justknew you were going--
O'HARA: I just knew where I was going. And I was standing there, on bated breaththinking, This ought to be good, oh Lord don't fail me now. And he says, "Across the street," and I went-- [laughs] So I had to--
SCHANEN: So you move out of those barracks that you were in barracks?
O'HARA: Right. We were in the--at first we were in the boot camp barracks forrecruits, and then we moved across the street, and then we were a part of women's battalion then officially. And then I just went to admin's school for four weeks.
SCHANEN: Did your sleeping facilities change in any way?
O'HARA: My mattress got thicker. [laughs] I went from a mattress about this thick--
SCHANEN: Which is like about a half inch?
O'HARA: Yeah, and then I got--in fact, you could have two mattresses at thatpoint if you wanted. You know, you felt like the princess and the pea.
SCHANEN: Uh huh. So you went from a half inch mattress to one or two that were--
O'HARA: The ones that were nice and thick, nice thick mattresses. And I remembersleeping so good after that, and knowing that I wouldn't have to get up in the middle of the night to stand duty, and so--
SCHANEN: Okay. So now what--in this you were in training yet. So what would atypical day have been like in administrative--?
O'HARA: Oh, administrative school. I just got up in the morning, five o'clock--
SCHANEN: Five o'clock?
O'HARA: Yes, still showered. I mean we didn't have to get up quite that early,but you knew you had to be in class by seven. And after being awake for nine weeks at five o'clock in the morning, my eyes flew open at that time in the morning. And I just had to be there, and then we had class all day, and I think about four o'clock or so when we were done.
SCHANEN: And now, you didn't--did you still have to study?
O'HARA: Oh, yeah.
SCHANEN: So you were still spending your free time studying.
O'HARA: Some of it. Some of it, and other time we would just go down to therestaurants on base and check out all the drill instructors. [both laugh]
SCHANEN: Why drill instructors and not--
O'HARA: Oh, they were kind of the 'gods' of Parris Island. You know, they wereconsidered--if you could date a drill instructor, you had made the--they were really hot commodities. The most of them, you would find out that they were married, and thought there was just too much to be spread around to be stuck with one woman, so--but I never dated them. So I just dated one or two of the 11:00guys--not really dated but went to a movie or something.
SCHANEN: Uh huh, until you found out he was married?
O'HARA: No. [laughs] No, didn't want that problem.
SCHANEN: Okay, no. Did you get any time off in between your basic training andgoing across the street?
O'HARA: No. I graduated on one day, and I think it was on a--if I rememberright, it was on a Friday, and then on the Monday I was back to--back then at school. See, that's why most people went--that's another reason I was kind of disappointed at first, they--as soon as they got out of boot camp, they got their two week's leave. I didn't get mine right away. I had two days off and then I had to go back to the admin school, and then after admin school, then I got two weeks to go home.
SCHANEN: Oh, okay. What did you do then, on those two days off, did you leavethe base?
O'HARA: No, I don't remember going off base. I didn't have a car, and you weremoving all your personal items, and getting set up in the other barracks, and then it felt good to put on civilian clothes again. And that's when miniskirts were big, so you're running around base with your miniskirt thinking, Oh, I'm 12:00free and I get to wear my civilian clothes again.
SCHANEN: Okay, so while you're in basic, you only had to wear your uniforms.
O'HARA: All you could wear. That's right, could not wear your--
SCHANEN: And the other training, you could wear civilian clothes in your off time?
O'HARA: On your off time, yes.
SCHANEN: Alright, so now you graduated from that, I assume. Did they have agraduation, or--?
O'HARA: Uh, they had a little ceremony. I wasn't top of the class, I was justglad I graduated. [laughs]
SCHANEN: What were they teaching you?
O'HARA: Typing, filing, that type of thing, a few more regulations in the officeif you had certain--like you had a top secret or you had a secret clearance, you know, what you could do and what you couldn't do.
SCHANEN: So different categories.
O'HARA: Yeah, and office etiquette, and a lot of different things.
SCHANEN: And how did that sit with you? Did you like office training?
O'HARA: I was thankful. I was just glad I wasn't a cook. [laughs] I keptthinking, I can't complain about anything: They didn't make me a cook. But I had 13:00taken typing in school, so.
SCHANEN: How were the eating facilities?
O'HARA: At Parris Island they were some of the best I had ever eaten, but Ifound out that especially the women's battalion was especially good food, and it was because they used to bring marines from different countries and they would always take them to the women's battalion kitchens. And we had British marines going through and everything, so we had excellent food. We had the marine recruits doing the cooking. Oh, I did have a crush on one of them. To this day I don't know his name. I still remember his face, but he always used to serve the food and he'd always wink at me, and I'd think, Ooh--
SCHANEN: Somebody noticed me.
O'HARA: Yeah, somebody noticed me, even looking this awful in this baggy oldugly uniforms they gave us just for boot camp. But every day he gave me a little extra potatoes, or a little extra this or that, or an extra cookie. [laughs]
SCHANEN: But you never talked to him.
O'HARA: I wasn't allowed to, and he wasn't allowed to talk, either.
SCHANEN: Oh, Okay.
O'HARA: No, no, no. They had the head cook walking behind them, and theywould've been in big trouble had they talked to the girls.
SCHANEN: Because I'm sure the women were a hot commodity on a marine base.
O'HARA: Oh, those guys went through basic a lot longer than we did, so I thinktwelve or thirteen weeks--I could be wrong, but that's what I think I remember--so seeing the girls was a big thing. So if you got duty at the women's mess hall that was big stuff. I didn't have a problem with weight. I think when I went into boot camp I weighed 112, and I came out weighing 116. But we had a girl, one time that was in the fat line. She was overweight, so they kept trying to bring her weight down. So they kept putting her through the salad bar line. That's all she could eat.
SCHANEN:That's what they called the fat line?
O'HARA: The fat line. And it was just salad bar.
SCHANEN: Would they kind of direct you, or tell you, "You take this one"
O'HARA: Oh no. You--they let you know if you were in the fat line, "So and so,in the fat line, over in the salad bar line." Oh there'd be no bones about it. You're not there to learn etiquette in boot camp; you're just there to do what they say. But this one girl, she got so hungry that she dropped her fork, and 14:00she asked someone to pick it up, and when she did she grabbed her meat off her plate, she was so hungry. I felt bad for her, but I thought, Well, you know--
SCHANEN: Did she ever lose weight? I mean did she ever get--
O'HARA: Oh, she lost weight.
SCHANEN: Go in the regular line?
O'HARA: No, she didn't go in the regular line, but she did lose weight. So thewhole boot camp she was in the fat line. I won't say her name, but I do remember her name to this day, but I wouldn't embarrass her.
SCHANEN: No, no. But she did lose the weight, so eventually you think they lether eat in the regular line when she moved on to a different place?
O'HARA: Probably to her regular duty station, I'm sure she did.
SCHANEN: Okay. Oh boy. All right, so after you finished your training, nowwhere--did you go someplace else or did they keep you there yet?
O'HARA: No. I kept thinking, Dear lord, if you love me you won't let me be stuckhere for seven--'cause I'd had like thirteen or fourteen weeks there. So then I went home on two weeks leave, and then I went out to Marine Barracks Treasure Island, San Francisco, right in the middle of San Francisco Bay. And I was an 15:00admin clerk there, and I was with the headquarters and casualty Marine barracks--headquarters and Casualty Company barracks Treasure Island, and we had guys that were coming and going--
SCHANEN: From Vietnam at this time.
O'HARA: From Vietnam, we had anybody that was on their way to WestPac that hadbeen a casualty at one point. They went through us. When they were coming back as a casualty they came through us.
SCHANEN: Now WestPac would be--
O'HARA: Viet--that's not the name they call Vietnam.
SCHANEN: West Pacific is that what it stood for or--
O'HARA: It could be. We just always referred to it as, "oh, he's going, you'vegot WestPac orders." That meant you're on your way to Vietnam, bud. And then we would take care of records of guys who were over at Oak Noll hospital.
SCHANEN: Oak Noll?
O'HARA: Oak Noll Hospital. That was over in Oakland [California], that was theguys that came from Vietnam, a burn and amputee center. So we took care of the records.
SCHANEN: So how long were you stationed out there from what time to what time?
O'HARA: Oh, let's see what was it? It had to have been--It was about March Ithink, but by the time I got to--maybe it was April. April of '69, and I was there until--it was about April or May, no must have been June of '70, somewhere around that time.
SCHANEN: So what would a typical day have been like there, now?
O'HARA: Got up in the morning,
SCHANEN: Still at five, or did you get used to sleeping a little later?
O'HARA: Ah, I slept in 'till six. Usually I get up and get ready to go to work,go eat breakfast, and then you'd just go to the office, then you'd have off for half an hour at lunch, and then by four o'clock every day I was done, and then I could go into San Francisco and--
SCHANEN: And now you were leaving the base.
O'HARA: And now--well, I didn't have to--all I had to do was take the bus.
SCHANEN: Okay, so it was harder also to get away from the base--
O'HARA: At Parris Island, yeah.
SCHANEN: Really nowhere to go?
O'HARA: Yeah, in Beaufort, there wasn't a whole lot going on in Beaufort, SouthCarolina. But in San Francisco, all I'd have to do at treasure was get on a bus, and they'd take us across the Bay Bridge right into San Francisco, and the world was mine.
SCHANEN: So this is after four o'clock in the evening?
SCHANEN: Okay, so what type of things did you do then in San Francisco?
O'HARA: Oh gosh, we would take the--rode the cable cars, had a wonderful time. Idid a lot of shopping. [both laugh]
SCHANEN: Had to keep that wardrobe up to date. [laughs]
O'HARA: Oh, Heavens, yes! [both laugh] I used to go down to Ghirardelli square,fisherman's wharf. I used to go to Union Square, tease the drunks.
SCHANEN: Tease the drunks?
O'HARA: Sorry, we were eighteen. We thought we were invincible.
SCHANEN: That was entertainment for the women from the base?
O'HARA: No it wasn't. Well, no. Just once in a while some old drunk would comeup to ask you for some money or something, and you would give him a hard time. By and large, no I used to give them a buck, but after a while that got very expensive. But if you did go into town in uniform, a lot of guys would come up because cigarettes were only a quarter a pack then. And they would ask you if you would pick up a whole pack, or not just a pack but a case of cigarettes-- a carton of cigarettes, right. And so it was real cheap back then but you could get into a lot of trouble, you know, selling them--buying them on base and then selling them in town. But a lot of them, if they saw you in uniform would say, "Could you buy me cigarettes on base and then sell them to me," because it was so much cheaper.
SCHANEN: So what time did you have to be back on base, then?
O'HARA: You could be back on base anytime you wanted. Some women would come in,they would come skirting in at five o'clock in the morning, but usually I was in bed by nine or ten.
SCHANEN: Oh, okay.
O'HARA: I was kind of a poop even when I was eighteen. I knew I was obligated,and I knew I had to put my hair up in--remember the old bristle rollers? 16:00
SCHANEN: Oh, yes.
O'HARA: I had to put my hair up in them.
SCHANEN: And you had to sleep on them.
O'HARA: Yes, or heat up the electric ones and then sleep on those all night, sothat your hair didn't come undone. You wanted to look good. Some women wanted to look bad and sloppy, but--and they got kind of fat in the Marine Corps. But I was a runner. I always made sure I got out and ran every night and I did some swimming so.
SCHANEN: Now why did it make a difference that you looked good in the marines? I mean--
O'HARA: Oh, the ratio was one woman to every hundred men.
SCHANEN: Oh my. [both laugh]
O'HARA: So when you got those kind of odds, you wanted to look your best. [laughs]
SCHANEN: Was it common at this point you could date the fellas that--
O'HARA: Absolutely. Sure.
SCHANEN: Were there? Okay. And was it common that--I'm sure romances, but werethere marriages that came of any of this?
O'HARA: Oh, sure, there were a lot of them. They would meet in the office, orthey would meet where they worked or something.
SCHANEN:Alright. And what did you do? You did the shopping and that, were thereever any movies on base, or did they provide things on base, too?
O'HARA: Oh, sure. They had a lot of movies. They had one --it was fun to go tobecause they showed the movie The Green Berets, which was one of the all-time worst movies. And those guys back from Vietnam were booing it so much they were throwing popcorn boxes and candy bars and throwing their sodas at the screen. [laughs] I shouldn't laugh, but it was such an awful movie.
SCHANEN: It just didn't depict reality, or--
O'HARA: Oh, heavens no. But the helicopter went down, and then John Wayne jumpsout with nothing along with him. Yeah, right, jack. But one time there was a movie, and you know I can't think of the name of it, but it was a movie with Jacqueline Bisset, where she met three teenage boys, and they all wanted to have an affair with her. So one of them got to have an affair with--he was eighteen or something--got to have an affair with this older woman, and one boy 17:00when he got there he--Jacqueline started to undress, and he said, "I can't do this. I promised myself I would save myself for marriage." And the whole place just went nuts, the whole base, and talk about guys throwing stuff at the screen and they booed and hissed. They had to stop the movie because that line was so schmaltzy. "I'm saving myself for when I'm married." And while it's a great line, these guys on base just went wild and they had to shut the whole theater down. [laughs]
SCHANEN: Oh. So you didn't see all of all the movies.
O'HARA: Yeah, well then they shut it down for a while, and then they started themovie over again.
SCHANEN: So they started it after they got everyone to calm down.
O'HARA: You know, it's just one of those things where you just sat there andlaughed and watched everybody acting stupid.
SCHANEN: What about other things on base for entertainment? Did they provideanything else for you? Were there ball teams? You know, soft ball teams or anything?
O'HARA: There were, but back then for women there weren't a lot of organizedsports. You could go to Special Services and get tickets for baseball games and different events in town and they did have--I don't remember if they had a baseball diamond, I think--but Treasure Island is very--it's only like a mile or two in each direction, but they did have an enlisted club where you could go and eat. They had a little PX [Postal Exchange] there and that. But most of the time, people--I mean, but when you got Sausalito, Oakland and San Francisco going on around you, who would stay on base?
SCHANEN: Uh huh. Okay, so you said this went until sometime in '70. Where didyou go after that, then?
O'HARA: I went back to Parris Island. I went to the women's battalion and firstfor a while, I worked at first battalion--or excuse me--headquarters battalion. But I couldn't--even though I was a clerk typist and what they call the--an 01-41-- that was the number of my MOS [Military Occupational Specialty] that was an 01-41, admin clerk. I couldn't type fast as this Colonel wanted, so then they just sent me over to the--I became the mail clerk for a while over at the women's battalion.
SCHANEN: Okay. And why did you have to leave San Francisco?
O'HARA: San Francisco, I put in for a transfer.
SCHANEN: Oh you did, okay.
O'HARA: Well actually when I was in San Francisco, I put in to go to Saigon. Iwanted to go to Vietnam, but at the time I was eighteen or nineteen, and I was told I had to be twenty-one. Now whether that or the colonel, or the major at Treasure Island was just looking out for me, thinking this isn't a place for a skinny blond to go or something. I didn't know, but he did tell me at the time I had to be twenty-one. And then I did have the chance to go to Guam, but I passed that by, but now I wish I wouldn't have, but at the time they said that really there was not a lot to do there, and those guys were kind of wild there, coming back from Vietnam.
SCHANEN: Oh, okay.
O'HARA: It wasn't a good place for women to begin with. So then I went back toParris Island.
SCHANEN: So did you have to stay a certain period of time in San Francisco andthen you could put in for a request, or--
SCHANEN: Just any time. You had been there long enough and just wanted to see something--
O'HARA: And then there was a guy I was thinking about getting married to. He wasa drill instructor--or he had been at Treasure Island--and then he went to Parris Island to become drill instructor and so then I went down there.
SCHANEN: And they didn't let you to go to Saigon, but did other women?
O'HARA: Oh, there were some women that had, at Treasure Island that had been inSaigon, but they were in their middle to late twenties and they were quite a bit older than me.
SCHANEN: Alright, so you thought you were pretty young for that experience.
O'HARA: Yeah, and I'd had a lot of experience at Treasure Island, so I--in fact,I used to go out and raise the flag every morning at Treasure Island. They said we need someone to do something, they were asking for people to raise the flag, and only men had been doing it. And I said--at one point I said, "Pick me, pick me, I want to do it." And they said, "Do you really want to do that? Sure." So they had pictures of me in either in the--I know in the base paper, but I think 18:00it was also in--I think the Navy Times I think it was.They had a picture of me raising the flag there at Treasure Island.
SCHANEN: Because you were the first woman to ever be doing that?
O'HARA: Be doing it there. I guess women had done it at other bases, but I wasthe first one to do it at--
SCHANEN: Parris Island--
O'HARA: No, Treasure Island--
SCHANEN: All these islands.
O'HARA: To raise the flag. I know.
SCHANEN: Well what else would you expect with Marines at Parris Island?
O'HARA: There you go. [laughs]
SCHANEN: Well that's interesting. Do you still have a copy of that today, that picture?
O'HARA: Oh, sure.
SCHANEN: Okay, so you're back now to Parris Island.
O'HARA: Back to Parris Island. And it was a culture shock compared to TreasureIsland because Treasure Island there was so much more going on. And the people had a different attitude. You get back down to Parris Island, and you've got that recruit depot type of mind again, where everyone was kind of anal, because you're all trying to put on the show for the recruits and stuff, so.
SCHANEN: And they weren't training anybody at Treasure Island?
SCHANEN: Okay, so--
O'HARA: I mean, they had naval schools there, because the naval ships used tocome in and out of there. And we used to watch when the big--what kind of ships were those--they were more the modern day ships, and they used to line up--all the sailors would line up around the edge of the ship and they'd go through. We used to watch them go under the Golden Gate Bridge. And in fact I was at Treasure Island when the Indians took over Alcatraz. And we used to stand on the edge of the base and we used to look through the binoculars and watch the Indians running around Alcatraz. And we had a couple guys that worked Special Services, and they took a boat and motor and went over and were waving, "hey girls," waving to the girls over there. And they came back and they got in trouble for taking it without permission and were thrown in the brig.
SCHANEN: Oh, thrown in the brig, huh?
O'HARA: They got thrown in the brig for a couple of weeks for taking itunauthorized and going over and trying to make time with the Indian girls over on Alcatraz. [both laugh] So I guess I saw more than what I thought. I used to 19:00watch the guys come back from Vietnam and go into town and have a lot of anger and tear up the bars and stuff. And people would say, "Oh those military people are so awful." But considering what those guys had been through and what they came back to, and no one cared, and people blamed them for things they should never have been blamed for. And I always felt, Why are you going after the enlisted men. Go after the guy that was elected that put them over there to begin with.
O'HARA: But I saw a lot of that at the Fillmore West. A hippie with hairliterally to his waist and he had on Marine Corps dress blues, handing out show bills for the show. And I heard later on he got his ass kicked. [laughs] I thought, Oh well, maybe you shouldn't be wearing something that you're not authorized to wear.
SCHANEN: And you don't know if he had been a Marine?
O'HARA: I [laughs] looking at that guy; I would have been shocked had he everbeen one.
O'HARA: I suppose there's always that remote possibility, but he was making amockery of it. He was wearing it more like a Sergeant Pepper type of statement at that time.
SCHANEN: Alright. So you've come back to Parris Island and you said it was sucha shock, even though you had been there for thirteen weeks.
O'HARA: Even though I had been there for--
SCHANEN: You forgot what it was like.
O'HARA: Yeah, I had gotten kind of used to San Francisco and that California lifestyle.
SCHANEN: Okay. And you said you asked to go back there because of someone youwere kind of interested in?
O'HARA: Mm hmm.
SCHANEN: Did that develop into anything then?
O'HARA: Yeah,it developed into a marriage that lasted six years.
SCHANEN: Oh, okay.
O'HARA: I was married when I was nineteen. I had just turned nineteen, so thatwas--I was a little young.
SCHANEN: Okay. But you were there when you got married?
O'HARA: Yes. Got married in Laurel Bay, which is just actually a little bitoutside of Parris Island. Could have gotten married at Parris Island but I thought, [laughs] no.
SCHANEN: Didn't care for it that much.
O'HARA: No, I didn't need USMCs tattooed all over my marriage certificate.
SCHANEN: Now you were there then--?
O'HARA: Until I was discharged.
SCHANEN: Okay, which would have been January of '97?
O'HARA: January of--
SCHANEN: I mean '71.
SCHANEN: January of '71. And you're married, so was your husband at that timedischarged also?
O'HARA: No. He was still in the Marine Corps.
SCHANEN: So you had to stay around that area or--?
O'HARA: Mm hmm. Once I was out, yeah. We stayed around that area just a shorttime and then he was transferred out to Hugh, then they transferred him from Parris Island back out to Camp Pendleton in California So then we lived in, oh gosh--
SCHANEN: Military housing?
O'HARA: No. It was a little town that Nixon had his summer home in. You know, Iknow the name of it, and right now do you think I can think of the name of that stupid town? But we used to watch Nixon's helicopter land in--because he was still president, so we used to watch his--because we lived like maybe between, 20:00I'd say three quarters of a mile or a mile from where Nixon had his summer home [inaudible], so we used to watch his big helicopter land and we saw the seal of it and everything.
SCHANEN: Alright. So now, how did you feel first of all when you were discharged?
O'HARA: You know, I--it really felt empty. I was so used to--even though it wastwo years, it was a regimented two years, I mean even though you had free time after work and everything, still it was a military way of life for two years, and then when I got done--I'd wake up in the morning panicked that I wasn't going to be to work on time, and where was my uniform. And I had to stop and think. And it lasted a couple of months. That's how ingrained it was just in a short time of two years.
SCHANEN: Did you get another job, then, right away?
O'HARA: No. Shortly after that I became pregnant with my oldest daughter.
SCHANEN: Alright, so you went from being in the Marine Corps to a pregnant--or anon-working military wife. 21:00
SCHANEN: Now you're--how did that feel to leave?
O'HARA: Oh, I had free time, and it feel like I had so much time on my hands, Ididn't quite know what to do with it all of a sudden.
SCHANEN: And now your husband's going to work on military bases, and you're justliving with the women who were married to men in the military.
O'HARA: Right, mm hmm, 'cause some of them lived around that housing area. Imean it was apartments that were not associated with the military, but there were still some around there.
O'HARA: But they--a lot of them they already had children or else they wereolder, and so it was kind of a--kind of a lonely existence at first, not being the military anymore and not having family around and, you know. Then I found out I was pregnant a short time later.
SCHANEN: So that kept you busy.
O'HARA: That kept me busy, yeah.
SCHANEN: Did you meet any of the other women?
SCHANEN: Have friendships with them?
O'HARA: Uh, just a few of them. One of them. Eventually she and her husbandbecame my oldest daughter's godparents.
SCHANEN: Oh, okay.
O'HARA: And she had been in the Marine Corps, herself.
SCHANEN: Oh, she had been, too.
O'HARA: Yeah, at one time. But she was out by the time I met her.
SCHANEN: Because I was wondering how those of you who had been in the MarineCorps and are now out, how you felt--your relationship like with your spouses or understanding what they were going through may have been different from the ones who were just married.
O'HARA: Oh, yes, it was a lot different, and I used to get up every morning andmake sure that when he left for work--that when Roger left for work--that all of his uniforms were ironed. I helped him polish his boots, because I always had--during inspections I always had high marks on good spit shining my shoes. So I used to help him polish his boots, and I used to help him wash his uniforms, and starch them, and iron them and--
SCHANEN:Spit shine? Did you actually spit on them and shine them?
O'HARA: We used a little hot water--actually you can spit on them--but actually,what we did was you'd take hot water and put it in the lid of your shoe shining can and then you'd--
SCHANEN: The shoe polish can--
O'HARA: Yeah, and then you would wrap your rag tight around your fingers and dipit in the hot water and then in the shoe polish to melt it a little bit, and then you'd put it on--but it was just a lot of elbow grease.
SCHANEN: But you weren't actually spitting on them. So at what point--
O'HARA: Well, people said they did. That's probably where spit shine came from,but I never felt the need to. I felt that, only camels spit don't they? [laughs]
SCHANEN: Camels. [laughs] Well I think llamas do, too.
O'HARA: Well, llamas and camels.
SCHANEN: They're probably from the same family. Alright, so that was now sixyears. Was your husband in the service all that time?
O'HARA: Mm hmm.
SCHANEN: You then separated, or whatever and he was still in?
O'HARA: Oh, I take that back. He got out about two years before we divorced, sowe were married four years while he was still in. And then he got out and he was 22:00on--then he--we had gone to--we had come back to Milwaukee--he was actually from New York--but we came up to Milwaukee. Where I was from.
SCHANEN: And you were in California the whole time?
O'HARA: Mm hmm. And when he got out they said, "Well where are you gonna live?"And he didn't want to go back to New York State, so I had some family in Milwaukee. So we came back here, and then my dad was taking a Tae Kwan Do class, and I went down to watch him and saw a guy that I had graduated with, and he was on the State Patrol so I got some information from him, and I gave it to my husband at the time and then he joined the State Patrol.
SCHANEN: So you're both civilians. How did--any changes there, going frommilitary life to civilian life?
O'HARA: Well, with his being on the State Patrol--that was kind of adisciplined. So I had finally gotten used to being a civilian, so I didn't find a lot of difficulties.
SCHANEN: Alright, so you--okay what year now did you find yourself alone again?
O'HARA: Seventy--was it '76.
SCHANEN: Okay, '76, and it says here then in 1989 you joined the Army National Guard.
O'HARA: Mm hmm. By then I had three kids and they were all--
SCHANEN: So you had remarried?
O'HARA: Remarried and they were all getting older, and--
SCHANEN:And how old would you have been now in 1989?
O'HARA: Thirty-nine. Yeah, well I was just--when I joined, I hadn't quiteturned--I was still thirty-eight and I was told by the recruiter that that was the cutoff age. So if I joined before I was thirty nine in September--
SCHANEN: Now you must have been thinking about this up to this point. You didn'thappen to just walk in at thirty-eight.
O'HARA: No. I had had some people who had said, "Well you were in the MarineCorps, do you want to join the American Legion and that?" And I thought, I got so many duties at home right now, three kids in school, housework, helping out at the school, being a scout leader--it was just--I just said, "No." And people 23:00kept asking me, and I thought, well, maybe I should look into something with the military, and the recruiter says, "You know we can still get you in," and I said "Oh, I'm too old," and he says "No you're not." So I thought well, why not try, it's just extra money.
SCHANEN: Uh huh. So that's what you joined, the Army National Guard.
O'HARA: Army National Guard, right. I looked into the Marine Corps Reserves andthey said, "Oh, you're too old," and I said "No, the age is"--he says, "Well we want women that are younger." I said, "Whatever." And so I turned my back on the Marine Corps since I felt they'd turned theirs on me and I went to the Army National Guard and they said, "You've got excellent skill for typing."
SCHANEN: They thought you typed fast enough, or had you practiced over the years?
O'HARA: Oh, I'd still been typing over the years. [laughs] That was beforecomputers, you know, so I was what the-- in the Marine Corps--what they called a Remington reader. You know, the old Remington I had still kept it up, because as a Scout leader I had to send out a newsletter every month to parents and at school and you know, I helped at school [inaudible].
SCHANEN: So your skills were still improving.
O'HARA: Kept up and improving.
SCHANEN:Okay. Did you have to go through any training in the--
O'HARA: What they did was--I thought I was maybe going to have to go back toboot camp
SCHANEN: Oh really?
O'HARA: And they said, "No." And I thought, Thank goodness, I don't wantto--then I wouldn't have gone back in because it would have been too hard on my family to be gone for the boot camp training.
SCHANEN: So what kind of time were they--commitment were they were requiringfrom you?
O'HARA: They just required weekends, and then I went to an administrative schoolto do the army's type of filing which was--everyone has their own style. So I just went on weekends instead of going to duty weekends once a month then, if they would just have to go to school.
SCHANEN: Okay, so once a month then, you were required give them a weekend.Instead of you going down to a reserves center, you had to go to a school for those weekends?
O'HARA: Yeah, it was a school just that they brought in army personnel and justbuilding--different buildings. It wasn't necessarily at a base. Some of them were rented out, or they used college buildings and they would just use a room for that.
SCHANEN: So you're only going just like two days a month. So how long till youfinished that training?
O'HARA: Six months.
SCHANEN: Oh, six months.
O'HARA: I had to go six months
SCHANEN: So that was six weekends that you went. So after you were trained, you went--
O'HARA: Then I just went back to--it was with the sixty-fourth REA, RearOperations, Rear Area Operations Center, in Hartford. So I was an admin clerk there.
SCHANEN: Alright. Anything particular you remember about your time in theNational Guard?
O'HARA: Oh, yeah--
SCHANEN: Okay, so you said that you do have some memories of that. Along withyour one weekend a month that you had to give them, did you have summer--two 24:00weeks or something that you had to do?
O'HARA: Yes. And those were usually pretty uneventful. They were just to FortMcCoy. Go out in the field and live, and then I usually worked in the tents with the--at the communications center, and logging people in and out--talking on the radio.
SCHANEN: But you had to live in tents during those two weeks?
O'HARA: Um, most of the time that we went down. One time we flew, well yeah,when we went to Fort McCoy we would live in buildings. Now when I went to Fort Hood, we flew in a C-130 down there and we lived in tents for two weeks, and I don't know why, but I always go stuck on night shift. From seven o'clock, or eight o'clock, or whatever it was at night, for twelve hours until seven or eight the next morning. But we always lived in tents at Fort Hood. But I think the last time I was at Fort Hood, we were down there until like the nineteenth of December, some military Santa Clause came around and left us each a stocking on our tent. I still have the stocking to this day, and put little candies in 25:00it. So it was kind of fun
SCHANEN: So your two weeks that you had to do weren't always in the summer. Theywere any time of the year.
O'HARA: Right. They were different every year. Sometimes we would go on two ofthem, one in the summer and then they'd get orders that'd say, "Well anyone that can go on an extra two weeks," and that's when you'd go into Fort Hood. We flew into Lincoln Nebraska and picked up another unit there on the C-130, and then we all went down to Fort Hood.
SCHANEN: Okay. And Fort Hood is--
O'HARA: I hated that place 'cause at night the rattlesnakes come out and--so ifyou had to go to the bathroom, as a girl and you didn't know if they were using night vision, I always made sure that I didn't have to go potty till' the next day when the dawn broke. And then when we were down there, the one time we were down at Fort Hood, we didn't get a shower for ten days. And I know I was getting desperate after about day eight and I thought, Jeez I stink like an old goat, but we all smell like old goats, but--so I went out behind the deuce and a half 26:00and took a pan so I could put some water in it and I started to take a sponge bath behind there. And all of a sudden I heard people talking and I thought, Well what the--and then I heard two guys jump in the truck and they started the deuce and a half up and the old engines and the pipes you know smoke was coming out of the pipes and they were getting ready to take off, and I'm waving furiously with a towel wrapped behind me. I was trying to catch their eye in the mirror saying, "Don't take off. I'm back here. You've got my clothes on the truck. Don't take off." So I'm waving like mad, and they started to take off, and then they saw me. One of them caught me in the mirror and realized. They backed the truck up and I said, "Let me finish my shower, or my bath." [both laugh]
SCHANEN: You didn't have shower facilities?
O'HARA: The facility was so far away that it took forty-five minutes to getthere and forty-five minutes to get back. And then once you got in there, I heard they gave you only seven minutes to get in and get out of that shower. Can you imagine a woman getting in and out of the shower, be in there dressed, and 27:00getting completely undressed--all that military uniform, and the boots, and everything? Then jump in the shower, wash your hair, brush your teeth, completely wash down, and be dressed, and ready to go back in seven minutes. I thought, That ain't gonna happen no matter how hard I try, because I have my hair down to my elbows. And so then I had to put it up and it didn't take me long, but it was putting it up wet, and you've got water running down your back, because seven minutes is a lot of time from the time you start to get undressed until you get completely dressed and are ready to leave again.
SCHANEN: Right, right. And this was just--I mean you're in the reserves,
SCHANEN: Right, so this is just a two week camp. I mean to live under theseconditions, was there a specific reason for that, or were they preparing you for something?
O'HARA: I don't know. They always think they're preparing you. I don't know. Ithink it's just whatever's convenient for them. I don't mean that wrong, but you know, it's just being honest.
SCHANEN: And you mentioned not wanting to go to the bathroom in the middle ofthe night because the night vision. Now you weren't talking about the rattlesnakes having night vision.
O'HARA: Uh, no, but the guys on base used night vision you know, for war gamesand stuff and you don't know if their--
SCHANEN: Did they not have toilet facilities there?
O'HARA: Yeah, but you had to cut across part of the field, and I didn't want totake a chance of running into rattlesnakes at night, you know to get to the toilet. And then I didn't want to open up and then you had to go in those porta potties, which to this day I detest and I didn't want to open up and find a rattlesnake in there, you know. I just-- my intake of water which wasn't good because it was so terribly hot, it wasn't good, but I was--what was I more afraid of, fainting from lack of water or snakes? Well, snakes took priority.
SCHANEN: So you're saying the fellas that were using the night vision, they couldsee the snakes better, or?
O'HARA: No, they could see you if you decided to go potty right outside the tent.
SCHANEN: Oh, that's what you're getting at, okay [both laugh]. You didn't wantthem to see you running to the bathroom?
O'HARA: No, no, no. See if I didn't want to go across the field to go the portapotty and you think like guys, they'll just stop outside the tent. They don't--
SCHANEN: Turn their back, or--
O'HARA: Well girls, you know, you gotta drop trou. Well, then you got some guyor some pervert with night vision watching you, and I thought, You know, you've got all these factors. [laughs] And then if it's that time of the month, you know you can't do that outside and you gotta make sure you get in there, which is now a standard part of--Tampax and tampons you know that are all part, standard issue in supply now. But they have to take those with them because women are in the military, which was something that at one time was just--when I was in the Marine Corps, if you were pregnant; you weren't allowed to stay in. Now you could stay in the military if you're pregnant.
SCHANEN: Okay. But you wouldn't be sent to combat areas, I hope.
O'HARA: No. But that's the difference in attitudes. The minute a woman gotpregnant back then she was gone. We had a couple girls that came to boot camp pregnant and they didn't realize they were pregnant, soon as they found out they were home. They were given discharge. Now it doesn't make a difference.
SCHANEN: Okay. Alright, so I had asked you if there was anything you--eventfulabout your guard duty. 28:00
O'HARA: Oh, yeah, during, let's see, January first of 1991, I was sent over toTenth Chemical Company in Kaiserslautern, during Desert Storm.
O'HARA: Kaiserslautern, it's a town.
SCHANEN: What country?
O'HARA: It's in Germany. And it was on the Daenner Kaserne which was the littlebase there, and they sent me over there to work in supply, and I have getting supplies and gas masks ready and we shipped them out and sent them over to Desert Storm, and get used over there. And then they'd come back and we'd inspect them [inaudible] so I worked in supply.
SCHANEN: Okay. You were trained--your MOS [military occupational specialty] inthe guard was admin--
O'HARA: Admin, but they did send me--they had two positions open over there. Agirl from another part of the country was sent in and she got there first, so they put her in admin. Me they put in supply which was fine because it was 29:00record keeping anyway that I was doing, and so it wasn't too hard to pick up.
SCHANEN: Had you volunteered for this duty or as being a Guard member you werejust sent?
O'HARA: No. I had volunteered. I said, "If they had any openings that I would go."
SCHANEN: And how long did you have to stay there, then?
O'HARA: I was there for three months.
SCHANEN: Okay. And you still had your family, then, back here? How old were yourchildren?
O'HARA: Two, let's see, my daughter was out of high school. My oldestson was in high school. I think he was tenth or eleventh grade, and then my other son was in junior high, so [inaudible]. But it paid well, so I thought the money would help, too, so.
SCHANEN: Anything in particular you remember about the three months over there?
O'HARA: Yeah. We worked very hard. We got up at five in the morning again. Fiveo'clock. We cleaned barracks for an hour and then we had to--we had forty five minutes of calisthenics as a whole unit, and then after that we did a six mile run after the forty-five minutes calisthenics. So needless to say, I was wearing 30:00a size six. [laughs] And then you had to finish up the six mile run, and then you had to eat, get your shower, and then you had to be in uniform, and be at work by quarter to nine in the morning, so it was a full day.
SCHANEN: Your work day then would be how long?
O'HARA: Well, sometimes four o'clock, but--most of the time it was four o'clock,but sometimes it would get six or seven some nights, and because I was Guard and they were regular duty, then I didn't have to stand guard duty at night, or stand any kind of duty at night, but the captain there was very good. He let me travel on weekends, so I spent a week--right before I came home, I spent a week in Italy, Spain, Rome, Pisa, Florence--
SCHANEN: Wow, you just took a week and toured--how did you travel around?
O'HARA: Bus. They had a lot of tour busses. Went into Czechoslovakia for aweekend, Amsterdam for a week, went over to Holland for a weekend, Austria, 31:00Switzerland, France. I know I'm forgetting countries right now, but in Czechoslovakia, because the iron curtain hadn't been down that long, I had to have a briefing session before I went into the country for the weekend. And then, when I came back they had to do a debriefing. Did they know you were military? Did they know you were American? Oh, yes they did know I was an American because of the type of jeans I wore. The type of shoes I wore were not the kind you get over there unless you get it black market. And what I didn't know over there [laughs] is that they've got the Charles Bridge--it's a very famous bridge that goes over district--and I didn't know you were supposed to--you weren't supposed to buy from an unlicensed vender, because everyone on the bridge are licensed venders. But two guys came up to me and showed me this stack doll, you know where you pull the little dolls inside. Well, they were political figures, and I thought, this is so cool, and they wanted fifty dollars American, and I said, "I ain't giving you American money", because over there if you gave them whatever American money you had, it was worth three times more there. But you could go to prison for that, and I thought, I don't want to be sitting in the empty arms hotel over in Czechoslovakia. I'd never get out.
SCHANEN: Empty arms hotel they called jail?
O'HARA: Well that's the nickname we always had for it. [both laugh]
SCHANEN: This is a civilian jail, or military?
O'HARA: This would have been a civilian jail over there or just a prison in general.
SCHANEN: In Czechoslovakia?
O'HARA: Yeah, in Prague if you weren't careful, and they caught you givingexchange--giving them American money instead of--because they wanted to keep their own money going in the country. So this guy kept insisting and I kept saying, "No," well then all of a sudden he said "Okay." And I thought, Gee, I'm really good at this trading business, and haggling about it, and then come to find out that they saw some Czechoslovakian police coming--Prague police and he started getting nervous and he said, "Okay, okay, fifty dollars." And I 32:00said--and I thought, Well, I'm so good at this. Maybe I can go farther, getting down a little farther, and he said, "Okay." He said, "Forty-five." And I said, "Make it forty," and he said, "Okay, okay, okay." And I thought, Gosh am I good at this, and come to find out that the guy was an unlicensed vender and so he was just trying to get rid of the goods before the cops got there and give them to someone else, but make a little money off it. That's the only reason he came down that far, because I was so good at haggling, and so then all of a sudden he shoves it inside my jacket and he says "Run," and I looked at him and he says, "Police, run," and it dawned on me. He says, "I'm unlicensed, run!" And so then I started running, and then I thought, Where am I running to? I don't know the city. I don't know the language, but I saw the spire from-- there was this famous church where they had martyred people in like--was like 1000 or something like that. And I could see it and I thought, If I can run down these little 33:00streets that were really narrow and snaked around. If I can keep my eye on that spire I can make it back to the American bus, and so that's what I did. I just kept running through streets and hiding in doorways. I could hear the police's feet.
SCHANEN: Oh, they were chasing you.
O'HARA: They were chasing all of us. They were chasing the two guys that wereselling it plus me.
SCHANEN: And you were all going in the same direction?
O'HARA: Well, finally they went off in a different direction, but we started outon the same street area.
SCHANEN: So who--did the police let off then?
O'HARA: They must have. I think there were only two police and I think theychased them, because eventually I didn't hear their feet anymore. So then I started trying not to sweat and look all red and flushed from running so far, because we had run a long ways, and then I found the American bus, and then I got on the bus, and I had a box--two boxes of Teddy Grahams, and those were my meal on the way into the country, so I dumped the emptiest one. I dumped it out on the seat, put my stack dolls down inside there, and put the Teddy Grahams back on top.
O'HARA: So it looked like I had a half a box, then, instead of a quarter of abox. So that, later that day when we left the country, the border guards came on the bus and said we wanted--they wanted goodies, otherwise they were going to take all the things we bought. And they did take some of the peoples' things and then they take home, and what are you going to do, because they have your passports.
SCHANEN: Oh, yes.
O'HARA: So you can't argue, and so the guy came by and he looked at my TeddyGrahams. Well I had a box that was not opened. And so I showed him, I pointed to him that this one was only half full, but I was going to give him the full box. He didn't know that my stack dolls, he didn't know my illegal stack dolls were hidden. So I made out very well, and then some other people, when they saw the stack dolls when I got back on the base in Germany saw how neat these dolls were and they were considered collectibles. And so then they went in, but then they had theirs taken away at the border, and I got back with mine. So that was Judy's--
SCHANEN: They forgot the Teddy Grahams. [both laugh]
O'HARA: The Teddy Grahams I had two boxes of them, and the guy thought I wasreally being generous giving him the full box.
SCHANEN: Wow. So you didn't travel alone when you were going on a weekend event.
O'HARA: No, well, sometimes. I mean, we would take bus trips, but I was usuallyby myself among-- I didn't travel with someone I knew. The only time I did that was when I went to Italy; a couple of people went along. There were three of us, but we traveled all over Italy for a week. Our bus fare, our hotel, and our food were about 350 dollars. And you couldn't do that now.
O'HARA: Saw Pompeii, saw Vesuvius and everything, Naples, so really--we workedhard. We worked very hard. A lot of calisthenics. A lot of--we went and lived in the field for two weeks there for exercises. The captain right before we came home gave me an army commendation and then he said that, he said "We came", and then he went like this, like an eighth of an inch, "We came that close to going," and he said "you would have gone with us if we would have gone into Saudi." 34:00
SCHANEN: Oh, really.
O'HARA: Had the unit gone into Saudi. He said, "We came that close. Even thoughyou were Army National Guard, because you were attached to us on active duty," I would have gone with them.
SCHANEN: And you didn't realize that until you were leaving.
O'HARA: No. I didn't realize that until we were leaving, how close we were.
SCHANEN: And how did you feel when you got that information?
O'HARA: I just felt, If that's what we were required to do, that's what we wouldhave done. I had no problem with it. I mean, I enjoyed the traveling that I got to do with seeing all the countries and stuff, but I also knew I was there for a purpose. And so I worked hard, and then some weekends I did week work when I didn't have to, to get caught up on things. But I was there for a purpose and then the fun on the side was then an added bonus.
O'HARA: So I had no problem if we had gone to go.
SCHANEN: And so you always felt safe traveling alone? I mean a woman alone in aforeign country that was--?
O'HARA: Oh sure. Well, I don't know. I guess I was--I guess I didn't feelvulnerable until I was--probably hit close to fifties.
SCHANEN: Well, I didn't know if times have changed that much that it's justgotten more dangerous, or the military didn't recommend that you go more than just one person, especially women?
O'HARA: Well, you were on your free time so you could travel, so theythought--but there were always plenty of people you could travel with if you wanted. But--one woman wanted to travel with me one time, but she had a newborn, and then she said, we can help--you can share the babysitting. And I thought, I didn't come all this way to travel and babysit your kid. Uh uh.
SCHANEN: She was working there and had a newborn?
O'HARA: Yeah. She was--
SCHANEN:She could take the baby with her?
O'HARA: If she wanted to travel on weekends. It was her free time. I mean thebusses weren't military busses. They were civilian companies that had come in with the sightseeing busses.
SCHANEN: Was she with the Army National Guard, also?
O'HARA: No. She was regular Army.
SCHANEN:And so she must have been living over there?
O'HARA: Yes. She was cooking. She was--
SCHANEN: I mean, she and her husband--
O'HARA: Her husband was in Saudi. They were both in the army. He was in Saudi.And he had left just a couple months before I got there. Her daughter that she had was only like two or three months old. And she wanted to travel, but she wanted someone to travel with her on weekends. She wanted to see things, but she 35:00wanted someone to help her babysitting, and I thought, I ain't getting stuck with that.
SCHANEN: Right. Well who was taking care of the baby while she was working?That's--I mean--
O'HARA: Probably, she probably just had some German lady babysitting her or something.
SCHANEN: Okay, so she would have had like off base housing?
SCHANEN: What was the housing like, your sleeping facilities?
O'HARA: I stayed right in the barracks.
SCHANEN: They had barracks.
O'HARA: Mm hm. But when I was there, though, because they had problems with whatwas called the Red Army--they were some guerrilla group, I guess you'd call it--there in Germany. And they had posters up with all the pictures of the members of the Red Army. "If you see them, watch for them, let us know." And we had three rows of sandbags on all our windows.
SCHANEN: And yet you were traveling out by yourself?
O'HARA: I know. I look back and think girl, God watches over children and fools.Let's see. Which category do you fit under?
SCHANEN: I mean how would you feel if you knew your daughter was doing that, alittle nervous?
O'HARA: Oh, of course I would. [both laugh] I don't know. I just thought, Thisis my one big chance to see as much as I can. And so I got to see the capitals 36:00of Italy, and of Germany, and went up and went to Dachau, went to Munich. So I got to see prison camps and I got to see a lot of history. And I have to admit out of all the countries; I really, really like Germany. I like the people. I love the scenery. ent to Oberammergau [Germany], the famous city where the Passion Play was. Rode around the mountains, I just couldn't have asked for a more beautiful time.
SCHANEN: Okay. So now you were there three months, so you're coming home againand you go right back to your civilian life.
O'HARA: Right, go back to civilian life--
SCHANEN: And this would have been when?
O'HARA: Uh, let's see, this would have been still '91.
SCHANEN: '91, okay. And was the rest of your time then in the Guard uneventful?
O'HARA: No. In 1996, I got a call that they needed someone--they needed extrapeople for admin to go to Bosnia. 37:00
SCHANEN: Is this volunteering?
O'HARA: Yes, because the group of the unit that I was with--I was with themedical--they weren't at that time--they weren't up to go. So they hadn't been called, but because I,--and I really didn't like--they had sent me to combat medical school. But the minute, the first day, the first hour of class, they said, "Remember thermometer, red is for rectal" I thought, I'm all done. This medical field is not for moi. [laughs]
SCHANEN: Send me back to admin, right.
O'HARA: Please, at least I don't have to deal with the thermometer.
SCHANEN: So you never completed that training?
O'HARA: No, so I got a call and they said they need people, and I said, "Well ismy name in the pot to go, you know, with this unit?"
SCHANEN: And they said, "No. Your name was recommended to us because you knowadmin and you're reliable" And I thought that was--"and you're known to be responsible" --and I thought that was a nice kudos.
SCHANEN: That makes me want to go to Bosnia.
O'HARA: Yeah, but it got me out of medical school.
SCHANEN: Oh, so you're still in training.
O'HARA: Yeah, medical combat medical training.
SCHANEN: Oh, okay. That's where you were at the time you got the notice.
O'HARA: Yes, and so then--and I had three different calls from people sayingthat I had been recommended and would I please go. And I knew the pay would be excellent, and it was.
SCHANEN: Now your kids are all out of school at this time?
O'HARA: My youngest son was a senior. So the rest of them were grown.
SCHANEN: And what were they--Bosnia there was activity there at the time.
O'HARA: Yeah, we were called peacekeeping, but there were incidents, there wereplenty of incidents.
SCHANEN: And so how did the kids feel about you going into this?
O'HARA: My children? Their attitude was pretty normal. Do your duty, Mom.They've always been supportive. I've got three very patriotic older children.
SCHANEN: Okay, alright, so you're off to Bosnia now.
O'HARA: Yep. So we went January 1st, 1997, and it was I think that day it wasthirty or forty below zero. It was that terrible, it might have even been colder 38:00because a family celebration, you know they had snow activities provided for us, or planned for us, but we couldn't have them because it was so cold that--on that day. And we took a huge jet and we were in the jet--half of the--the biggest part of the unit, forty some members of the unit went on the C-5 Galaxy. That's the biggest jet they had.
SCHANEN: That's a military jet?
O'HARA: Yeah, I think it was, I think that's considered military. And then tenof us flew to Germany in a C130, and I was one of them, but I guess I didn't mind. You know, you get down in the webbing.
SCHANEN: And what is a C130? That's a transport plane?
O'HARA: Yeah, they called them the deuce and a half of the sky.
SCHANEN: And what's it like inside?
O'HARA: You know where they drop the back end open and that's where they takethe trucks, it's like all the transportation and stuff.
SCHANEN: So what's the seating? Nice comfy seats with plenty of legroom?
O'HARA: Absolutely. Don't you know? Stewardesses. No.
O'HARA: No. They just had, we'd sit in webbing seats or seats that are webbed.
SCHANEN: Oh really?
O'HARA: Yeah, they just have the straps and webbing, and you just kinda nestledown in, and you leave your jacket on if you're sitting farther away from the pilots, then you leave your jacket on, and if you're sitting closer it's a little warmer. And then you've got all this trucks and gear, and you put your feet up on the gear, and get a book, and have your snacks close at hand, and you're ready to go. And it took us about--
SCHANEN:Like a flying warehouse.
O'HARA: Yeah. That's what it is, a big transportation. They're kind of like,what are those big trucking companies, you know the moving van? You know, it's the U Haul of the skies. And it was very comfortable, but we were going to stop in Newfoundland, but we had to stop in--had to lay over in New Jersey. First time ever I--first time ever in Joisey [Jersey], and we had trouble with an engine so we had to get another--we had to unload everything and reload it. 39:00
SCHANEN: Onto a different plane?
O'HARA: Onto a different C130.
SCHANEN: After you just got comfortable, huh?
O'HARA: I just got comfy. So--
SCHANEN: So how long was the trip on the flight, then?
O'HARA: I think it was like eight hours, maybe nine or something.
SCHANEN: They serve a snack on the plane?
O'HARA: [Laughs] Whatever was in your pocket. [laugh]
SCHANEN: No movie?
O'HARA: [Laughs] The one in your mind. [laughs] You close your eyes and watch itthrough the back of your eyelids. Whatever fantasy you bring up is what you watch. [laughs]
SCHANEN: How long were you in Bosnia, then?
O'HARA: Oh, let's see. We got to Germany and were in Germany about--oh let'ssee--about a week or so.
SCHANEN: Training you to go in there, or why?
O'HARA: Um, well that's what they said. We were actually in Kaiserslautern, backon the same exact base, in the same barracks, and everything that I was in before when I was there in '91. And then we had to make sure we had all our gear because we changed planes and everything. There was a week of making sure you had all of your gear and all of our equipment and everything. And then they sent 40:00us to Hohenfels [Germany]--no not Hohenfels, that was on the way back--can you turn off for just a second, and take--
O'HARA: Alright. We went to Combat Maneuvers Training Center in Hohenfels,Germany. And they gave us training on landmines and that type of thing.
SCHANEN: And this is the first time you've had training in something like this?
SCHANEN: 'Cause even as a Marine, you had not been trained in any type of combat stuff.
O'HARA: No. Right. Women, nowadays, but back then when I was--so then theytaught us what to watch both for landmines and then how to--told not to dig them up, so they just took us through different classes on dealing with prisoners in case we ever had to deal with that.
SCHANEN: Did you get any training in like weapons use, anywhere along the linein your training, or--?
O'HARA: Just whenever we would go to the field to qualify on our two weeks, orelse once or twice a year we would go up to the rifle range up at Fort McCoy.
SCHANEN: This is with the Guard. Had you learned any of that with the Marines?
O'HARA: No. And then I learned how to fire a M-16.
SCHANEN: Okay. So then you're going into an area, did you have to carry a weapon?
O'HARA: You bet. Once we left Hohenfels, then we went down to Slavonski Brad,Croatia which was right on the border of Croatia and Bosnia. And you had--the Sava River was the only thing that divided the two countries, and we were stationed right there and that's where--in Bosnia, right across the river there--was where the whole Bosnian war started. And every time we crossed the River, we had to carry 150 rounds on us, so you had your weapon, plus 150 live rounds on you--which is a lot of weight--plus your body armor, plus your helmet, 41:00or your kettle as they call it now, plus your weapons. So you have a lot of weight on you.
SCHANEN: So you were learning--are you getting all this type of equipment forthe first time when you were in Hohenfels?
O'HARA: No. When I was in the Guard I carried a weapon.
SCHANEN: You were trained on that.
O'HARA: Right, on the M16, but I hadn't worn body armor until we got intoBosnia. That was the first time I wore body armor.
SCHANEN: What were you thinking during all this? I mean, you'd never--you'd beenin the service for a long time, and how old are you at this time?
O'HARA: Uh, forty years old.
SCHANEN: Forty years old?
O'HARA: Oh, uh no, uh, forty-six years old.
SCHANEN: I was going to say--
O'HARA: Whereas most people were thinking of retiring then, but it didn't botherme. I didn't have any problems physically.
SCHANEN: Kind of an adventure for you?
O'HARA: Yeah, Judy's big adventure, there you go.
SCHANEN: Okay. You kind of strike me as one, "each new experience is an adventure."
O'HARA: It always was.
O'HARA: I had no fear.
SCHANEN: What was your dad feeling?
O'HARA: I mean, that sounds stupid. Oh, my dad had died in '95, or '96. I guess'95, so he didn't know about it.
SCHANEN: Okay. How did he feel about you joining the guard again after being outof the Marines?
O'HARA: He figured it was safe. When I went in the Marine Corps, then he was soworried. He says, "You know, there's a lot of bad guys in there," and I said, "I'm okay."
SCHANEN: So he was worried more about the men in the Marines than anything else.
O'HARA: Yeah. [both laugh]
SCHANEN: Having been in the military.
O'HARA: Yeah, yeah. It probably worried about some of his own experiences.
SCHANEN: Right, and the hundred to one ration was probably what really made him nervous.
O'HARA: Yes. [laughs]
SCHANEN: Okay, so now you're in Bosnia.
O'HARA: Yeah, and when I said--that was a stupid statement. I shouldn't say Iwasn't afraid. It's just that you know, I wasn't like these guys in World War II that were sitting in a foxhole and had the Germans all around them or the Japanese, you know. So it wasn't that type of experience, so I--
SCHANEN:You said you're peacekeepers.
O'HARA: Yeah, that's what we went in there we were peacekeepers.
SCHANEN: So there wasn't any combat really going on at that-?
O'HARA: No. I mean some people did have some firing and stuff like that, but notthat it couldn't happen, 'cause there was certainly enough going on around there.
O'HARA: But every time you went over the border you had all that on you. And Ihad--we walked along some paths when we had to go into different areas where you knew there were landmines on each side and you could see little tripwires, so you had to be very careful. But you just stayed on the path that they told you to stay on and sometimes when we would leave bases we left--there was what was called base camp Eagle which was down towards, I think it was down toward Tuzla, Bosnia. We couldn't leave because they had minesweepers out on the road because when we had come in there was nothing on the road. By the time we were ready to leave, they had mines on--they had set up mines everywhere, so we couldn't leave for a while.
SCHANEN: So that's what I was wondering when you said stay on the paths theytold us to. I mean, how did they mark these paths and how did they know that overnight--?
O'HARA: They had people that did--they were going in before we got there, thatwent ahead of us awhile before us.
SCHANEN: So it was a regular road?
O'HARA: A regular path that we had to go on.
SCHANEN:And you know, they'd have to do that basically every morning, then tomake sure nobody come in during the night.
O'HARA: Probably. Right. Because you just didn't know and we would convoysometimes and one time one captain took a wrong turn, and it's possible, I shouldn't make a face or roll my eyes, or anything, because it happens. But he got us off the beaten path, and then we went into some town in Croatia, right on the Croatia-Bosnia border where there was some--it was a Saturday, and it looked like they were having a market day or something. And here we come through convoying, and then all of a sudden everything stopped and you could feel the tension in the air. And everyone in this market area just stopped, and your music stopped-- 42:00
SCHANEN: You're riding in trucks now?
O'HARA: We're in convoy. I was sitting in a Humvee. I was licensed on Humvees,deuce and a half--two and a half ton--trucks, and five tons I was licensed for.
SCHANEN: When did you get this training? Not in the marines?
O'HARA: No. I got it when I was--as soon as I went in the guard they testeddifferent women, and I tested out so I could--
SCHANEN: So you could type and drive a truck.
O'HARA: Boy, I tell you, if they couldn't use me inside, they could use me outside.
SCHANEN: You were a valuable commodity.
O'HARA: Oh, no doubt. [laughs] But we went into this town and I was sitting inthe Humvee, and I remember taking my weapon and moving it from safe to clicking it onto auto just in case. And then I heard the other ones clicking after so, nothing moved. No one moved. The music stopped. The traffic stopped. People stopped, and the only thing that I remember--all you saw moving were their eyes. And they saw us going by and we were so close to them you could just look right 43:00into their eyes and all that moved were their eyes. Their heads didn't move and it was just like something wasn't right, but--and I guess it's because you go to church and you try to do what the Lord tells you, and I remember saying a little quiet prayer and suddenly I was s--I don't want to say relaxed, but I had no doubt of what I would do. I had no fear that it was such a calm, it was kind of the calmest I've ever been in my life, that if something happened, I knew what I had to do. And maybe someone would say she thinks she's tough saying that, but I know what I felt at that moment and afterwards I was very prayerful, very thankful that nothing happened. But if it had, I had no doubt that I could have used that weapon, and it was--I have to say it was a divine calmness, 'cause I couldn't that make that calmness myself [inaudible]. It was divine, I know.
SCHANEN: Well fortunately he was able to keep everyone calm.
O'HARA: Everyone, yes.
SCHANEN: I mean one false move, and who knows what could have happened.
O'HARA: And watching their eyes--in their eyes, it wasn't just them going--andlooking at us. There was hate. You could see the hate in their eyes. So, I was just very thankful that day that nothing more came of it.
SCHANEN: And this was a wrong turn that you had taken.
O'HARA: All from a wrong turn, and I was about half way back in the convoy.
SCHANEN: So you were in unfriendly territory.
O'HARA: But other times we would convoy into Sarajevo [Bosnia] and that was theone thing, you know, I was the only girl on the convoy a couple of times, so you've got all these vehicles, and then they say, "Potty break," so everyone jumps out of the truck and I just sit there and just look the other way, while you know--
SCHANEN: They don't have a lot of trees?
O'HARA: No, no, because sometimes you would stop by the cities, and so theysaid, "O'HARA, what are you going to do to go to the bathroom?" And I said, 44:00"I'll just hold it," and so one captain said, "No, no, come with me." And so we looked for trip wires and we were about, oh, a little ways from a hotel that had been bombed out. So he said "We got enough time." So we looked for trip wires in the grass, in the building, and so we found what used to be the--you know where you'd go and check in the hotel, and so that had been blown out and there was a wall standing with a door. And so we checked the door to make sure it was okay, and on the other side, the building had been blown out and there was just a field over there. And he said, "Just go on the other--go through this door and just go on the other side of the wall. Use the bathroom. We'll wait for you." And I thought, Okay, thank goodness, because I had to go to the bathroom so bad my eyeteeth were floating. And I get back there and so I drop my drawers and I'm trying to pee to beat the band as fast as I can. And all of a sudden two old Bosnians walk over, and one of them was on the side, and they had a donkey. One 45:00of them was sitting, and the other one was leading, and here I am right in the middle of--urinating--
SCHANEN: And you can't stop--
O'HARA: And I can't stop. And they go by and they look at me and I justkinda--well what do you do--I just kinda smiled and gave them a weak little wave and they waved back and they just kept on going on their way. [laughs] There was no such thing as pride over there.
SCHANEN: Well what were the bathroom facilities in the villages? Did they haveouthouses or indoor plumbing?
O'HARA: A lot of them didn't have indoor plumbing because their houses had beenblown up. People--we saw people who lived in houses that they--that all that was standing was just parts of the frames of the house, and people had put boards over it and they were living under boards that were leaned up against it--leaned up against the building. We saw people that were living in little wooded areas. We saw--
SCHANEN: Like little camps they had set up in the woods.
O'HARA: In the woods they had set up in Tuzla, there was a--the garbage waspiled because the people were afraid to go out at one point--the garbage was so high it was literally more than a story high.
SCHANEN: Well they all had to be aware--fearful of landmines.
O'HARA: Fearful, yeah. And just of snipers, and of everything else, and therewas a stream in one part of the town, like a little river, it was clogged with trash. And then we went up to a stop sign and there was a median strip and a woman and her son--he looked about ten maybe, maybe eleven--and he was--every time the red would go light, he would go out and wash windows and then he and his mother would beg for money. And to this day I can almost cry because in the median strip--in the middle of this busy road--sitting in this narrow median strip was a little girl--maybe about three or four--and a little boy--he looked to be about four or five--he had an empty soda can that had been bent that he was sitting in the median strip waiting for his mother and his brother who were 46:00begging and washing windows. And he was sitting in the median strip, playing in the dirt using that soda can like his car. And the little girl was doing like the women over there do. They take like a homemade broom or a branch and they would sweep the sidewalks. And she had a stick that she was using for a doll, and she had a branch, and she would act like she was interacting with this stick which was her doll, and then they would both--it would help her--she would pretend it was like helping her sweep the sidewalk, which was the dirt in the median strip.
O'HARA: And I kept trying to get money out to this woman, but I was in amilitary vehicle, which was like a military bus and the windows didn't all work. And the guy next to me had me so squeezed in, he was a very big MP [Military Police], and I was squeezed in the seat so tight with all our gear on that I couldn't get my hand into my pocket and get the money out to the window. To this day, I have never forgiven myself for not just telling that guy--to push him, or do something, so that I could have gotten money out of my pocket, and given it 47:00to this woman. To this day it still haunts me that I couldn't get to that money quick enough.
O'HARA: And to see that little girl and that little boy, and they were socontent with a soda can car and a stick doll and a branch in the middle of traffic on both sides of them. They just sit there, so their older brother and their mother could give them something.
SCHANEN: And this was where?
O'HARA: In Tuzla, Bosnia.
SCHANEN: So there was a lot of traffic.
O'HARA: There still was traffic in there, but evidently they didn't have people,or the money, or the facilities to clean up all the garbage that was in there--that had built up there when they weren't [inaudible].
SCHANEN: Well, when you were talking about trying to relieve yourself in thisarea and the Bosnians going past, it probably wasn't unusual for them to see stuff like that.
O'HARA: No. Americans, they're all dogs. They would've stood there and watched,or said, "That's terrible," even under the conditions and then. But these guys just went on, seeing I was an American. It really amazed me, too, that under all this Kevlar, with all this gear on and everything, even this little part of my face you could see, the men still always knew I was a woman. We had all these--they must have been some Bosnian militia or part of their army, I don't know, but they were riding on a tractor. And they had, must have had I believe it was eight to ten guys on this old farm tractor, and that's how a lot of the people would ride around. You would see these families piled on--
SCHANEN: The fenders--
O'HARA: Everything on old farm tractors and riding down the road and so at onepoint I had to drive, and I was driving a Humvee on another time that we were convoying and they were all pointing and waving and trying to say "Hello" or something to woman, "hello woman" or something. And I thought, How did--I'm sitting behind this wheel, but yet just that little bit of my face they could see. They always knew I was a female--
SCHANEN: Finer features.
O'HARA: Yes. It's one you have to admit, no matter where, whether it was FortHood, or no matter where it was, I always wore makeup. I was always reminding myself I was a girl. Never once did I go out without makeup.
O'HARA: I always had to remind myself that no matter how I lived, what kind ofgear I wore, what kind of job I was doing, because I had to help set up tents, tear down, when the deuce and a half would come in with our gear, I lifted down the trunks, the desks, and everything, just like the men. But never once did I go--no matter what kind of conditions, I always wore makeup, even if it was just a little eyeliner and mascara.
SCHANEN: Well the makeup was probably a giveaway. There probably weren't any menin your area wearing makeup. I mean, I--
O'HARA: You don't see so much of that face, though. But it must have been thebuild, too, or I sat low on the seat or something, but they could always pick you out just like that. But men are men. [laughs]
SCHANEN: Yeah. So how many women were actually there in your group?
O'HARA: In our unit? Three of us were women, out of fifty-two there were three women.
SCHANEN: Three women, though.
O'HARA: I was the only one that was licensed to drive vehicles, and I'd be ableto drive some vehicles.
SCHANEN: So you said sometimes you were the only woman out there, I mean--
O'HARA: Yeah, the other two were back on another base, or they'd be sent out toa different base. But when we weren't on convoys and we weren't doing different things, we were stationed a lot at Kazar, Hungary. And on that base, for a while, I was the battalion mail clerk. I took care of all the mail for 800 people, and then--
SCHANEN: So out of eight hundred, how many would have been women, now?
O'HARA: Oh, yeah, there were more women, but there were still always more men.Yeah, there was still always a higher percentage of men always. But then--and I didn't understand why they put me in mail when I was in admin, but I did a fine job. But finally they had one guy that they had in admin that was normally full time, so they put me--I guess, that's why they put me in mail once we got there for a while. But he proved that he wasn't doing the work, so then they put me back in the admin where I normally was, and I did that most of the time. And a female captain and myself worked at a very small trailer-- 48:00
SCHANEN: You said a female captain?
O'HARA: Mhm hm. And she and I did the paperwork--all the paperwork for eighthundred people. So needless to say we worked 'till midnight many times, working on records. Sometimes eight or nine o'clock at night we'd get done.
SCHANEN: What was your rank at this time?
O'HARA: I was a sergeant five. And the other female was an E-6 and she worked insupply. And then the captain, she and I worked together.
SCHANEN: Okay. And how long were you over in Bosnia?
O'HARA: Nine months.
SCHANEN: Anything specific you remember? What were your sleeping facilities, orshower facilities?
O'HARA: Oh, nasty. At least they were better than Fort Hood behind a deuce and ahalf that was taking off, but considering it was in buildings--it was an old base that the communists used to use. And I have pictures of communist airplanes with the communist red star, so they still had those on the building, and we 49:00slept in the old barracks that the old pilots and stuff used to use. My bed--I shared a room with twelve women. That's a lot of women to pack into one little room.
SCHANEN: What were the temperatures like over there?
O'HARA: Just like Wisconsin. If you look on a map when you go across over toHungary, it was pretty much the same.
SCHANEN: And you were there for how long, and for what months?
O'HARA: January until end of September, but when we first got there when we werein Croatia, it was below zero. And there we had no heat in our tents at all. We had no heat in the buildings we worked in. The only time you had heat in thirty below zero weather, was when you went to the mess hall.
SCHANEN: How did you stay warm? How did you keep from freezing to death? Thirty below?
O'HARA: You dressed warm, and you stamped your feet a lot and when you weresitting at a computer, [laughs] I don't see how the computers worked then, but a lot of times you just had to write things out, and you could see your breath the 50:00whole time you were working. And it was very cold. And one sergeant--there was an E7--he summed it up perfectly. One day they said, "Alright, line up everybody." Because we had something going on so we all had to get into a group, and he said, "I'm so sick of being cold. I could puke." And I thought that summed up the whole winter there, I was so cold.
SCHANEN: I wonder if the puke would be warm.
O'HARA: [Laughs] But that's the only time you were warm was when you went intothe mess hall. When you went into the shower, a lot of times the water was ice cold.
SCHANEN: Thirty below, ice cold showers.
O'HARA: When we would shower sometimes. When we were in Hohenfels, Germany, whenwe first went into Germany, and we were there, we had no hot water the whole time we were there.
SCHANEN: And that was how long?
O'HARA: That was a week. I had--I didn't--and so finally eventually between thatand being a Mormon, I couldn't drink coffee. So I had my choice of either cold water in a canteen, or cold soda. So, it was--so I ended up getting walking 51:00pneumonia, and it lasted about four or five months.
SCHANEN: Okay. I was just going to ask if people were getting sick.
O'HARA: People were very, very sick. Nothing was put on your records. You'd gointo the dispensary to talk to the doctor and you'd literally be coughing until you were vomiting. They'd give you a pan to vomit, they clean your mouth off, and they give you cough drops.
SCHANEN: What do you mean nothing went into your records?
O'HARA: They never put down, no. They said that you were there, but cough dropsadministered. They never put down that you coughed until you vomited. They listened to your chest and they'd say, "Boy your lungs are pretty full," but was never put into our records.
SCHANEN:Why was that?
O'HARA: Probably so you couldn't come back and get benefits later. You couldn'tclaim for benefits later.
SCHANEN: What about frostbite, and things like that?
O'HARA: Some people had that. Luckily I never had that. When I was in the MarineCorps, I did get a disability, I did get ten percent. But then I had just gotten 52:00off duty and I was in a car accident. I was a passenger in a car and I had my ankle broken, my head completely went through the windshield. This was in 1969, but I was taken right by ambulance over to Oak Knoll hospital, and I was in the hospital for fifteen days with a broken ankle and then they stitched up my forehead and--but then I went back it was about six months later and they did plastic surgery. And those surgeons did a beautiful job. Most people say, Military doctors, oh, quacks, or Frankenstein doctors or something. But these guys did a wonderful job. But they were the surgeons who did the plastic surgery on those coming back from Vietnam. But then they--and to this day, you can't see that much of it. My forehead was completely torn up. My--glass torn in from my nose all the way up here. And I had a huge lump of glass, or metal in here. 53:00
SCHANEN: Imbedded just between your eyes?
O'HARA: About the size if you took a golf ball cut it in half. It was about thatbig a lump.
O'HARA: And they had to cut my hair way back because I had it all back in hereand I had glass in my eyelids and everything from the windshield, but--
SCHANEN: Boy, it's amazing you survived that.
O'HARA: Yeah, but they did a beautiful job and to this day for those doctors Ihad a lot of respect.
SCHANEN: So you had a disability for a while?
O'HARA: I get ten percent disability.
SCHANEN: Oh, you still do?
O'HARA: I get ten percent disability.
SCHANEN: Because you were on active duty at that time.
O'HARA: Right, I was on active duty, and I had just come off being on watch--oras they call watch--you know we called it duty.
O'HARA: But from Bosnia, no I didn't get anything. And every time it gets cold--
SCHANEN: Alright, so now every time you get a cold,
O'HARA: A cold, yeah, or I breathe a lot of real cold air in for a long periodof time, it does make me cough a lot. I think it's left over from then. It'd have to be for as long as I was sick over there. But honestly, I have to admit, 54:00I never missed a day of duty.
O'HARA: Never missed one day of duty, so.
SCHANEN: Just gave you more cough drops.
O'HARA: And then I had a wonderful two weeks leave while I was over there.
SCHANEN: Oh yeah? What did you do?
O'HARA: I took a C130 up to Frankfurt, and my husband came over. And we touredall over the British Isles. Went into Scotland, up in the highlands, went to Wales and saw the wonderful mountains and waterfalls there. Went all over England, all over London; Ireland, went to Dublin, went to Belfast. In fact, when we got to Belfast, we were lucky that we didn't get in trouble because going in from regular Ireland into Belfast; you had to go over the borders. Well they had police there at night, and we were trying--at three in the morning--trying to find a hotel which aren't real common over there. You know you can stay in someone's private home, but here, if you want to--at three o'clock in the morning--you say, "I'm tired of driving, I want to go a hotel or 55:00a motel." We just couldn't find that in Ireland. And the few that were, were all taken up by bus tours. So we get up to the border, and the police said, "Well what are you doing at three o'clock in the morning driving around?" "Oh we're Americans," you can tell by our accent, so they let us go. Well, as dawn came up, I looked out in the field and I said, "Brandon look quick," and there were British soldiers fanning out across this field with haystacks in it, and their weapons were all drawn and they had on radios and everything. And I said, "Something's up, oh boy. What's going on?" And their little antennas just went up.
SCHANEN: And you're on leave from Bosnia right now.
O'HARA: From Bosnia, and I had all my gear in the back end. All my gear.
SCHANEN: So you're ready to--
O'HARA: Yeah, and I thought, This is great. Come to find out, the night beforewhen the police were on the border there, and asking us why we were going in there, two police in London area got murdered by the IRA [Irish Republican Army]. So they had all these British soldiers all over there, and my husband 56:00said, "Well, maybe they're on maneuvers, and I said, "No, I just got a feeling. Something's going on. This is great." And what we didn't know--
SCHANEN: Judy's big adventure.
O'HARA: Another big adventure. And so then we pulled in the road up to Belfastand we no more than pulled up to the stop light and all of a sudden we all of a sudden heard ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, and we saw rocks go by our windshield. And I thought, Oh boy what's going on? And there was a British armored car that went--or armored truck--that went by, a couple of them, and then there were British soldiers running around, and they were fanning, going back and forth with their weapons at our car and everybody else's as they were going down the street. And then behind them were all these teenagers and young boys throwing rocks at them. And I said " Oh, boy. Follow it. I want pictures, I want pictures."
SCHANEN: How's your husband feel?
O'HARA: And he said, "I'm not going down there," and I said, "Oh, please." Hesaid "No" and I threw my camera down and I said, "I'm right in the middle of this and I don't even get pictures." So then we went up and he said "No, no, we don't want to get involved in that," but we were taking pictures of murals along 57:00the way that the IRA had put up. People with ski masks on and sayings in Irish, in the Irish they were written, and some of them had English, so we were taking pictures of those that they painted.
SCHANEN: Kind of what we call tagging? Spray painting?
O'HARA: Spray painting, graffiti, but some of them were huge murals. They werealmost like a billboard for their cause, and so we took pictures of that and then we went up to Belfast Castle. Well up there, they had to go underneath our vehicle because they said, "Well everyone is suspect at this point no matter who they are or where they're from." I don't know what happened but then I looked to Brandon, and I said, "I've got all my military gear in the back end." I didn't have my weapon 'cause I couldn't go out of the country with my weapon, but I had my body armor, uniforms, Kevlar, everything, and they checked underneath there, and they checked everywhere, but they didn't check the trunk. The one place you'd think they would check.
SCHANEN: Yeah, if somebody's hiding.
O'HARA: And they checked under our seats and everything, and they didn't checkthe trunk. Why? You know, what a fluke.
SCHANEN: Yep. Otherwise you would have been in one of their little prisons.
O'HARA: The Irish empty-arms hotel. And then from there we saw where the Titanichad been built, and then we took the Stena Lines ship from Belfast over to Scotland, and came down and went to Stratford upon Avon, saw Shakespeare's home and theaters and everything. You know, thanks to the military, I've really seen like fifteen countries in my life.
O'HARA: It was back to base, and back to ho hum, but--
SCHANEN:So how long were you in Bosnia all together?
O'HARA: Nine months.
SCHANEN: And you came home when?
O'HARA: Of '97, and got to see a lot of Budapest, also. Got a four day pass upto Budapest at one time.
O'HARA: And it was while I was there I looked into--when we were in Croatia,Bosnia, we got to visit orphanages on weekends. They say, If you have extra time, go visit the orphanage, and we did and I started looking into adopting a 58:00child over there. Didn't happen 'til when I was back for like two or three years, but then we adopted a little girl from Hungary because of the experience over there. So, got to see a lot when we flew into Sarajevo in a Chinook, that's the long helicopter with the blades at each end, and got to look down, go through the mountains, and look down on Sarajevo, what used to be the Olympic rings, were now just a complete cemetery. So we saw that from the air when we landed in Sarajevo, and then when we took off again on the Chinooks, we got to see Sarajevo and the big Olympic rings, but now cemetery.
SCHANEN: They had the Olympics in Sarajevo once, and you said they're allcemeteries now?
O'HARA: Yes. The big rings-- the Olympic rings they used to assemble, and theywere huge and laid out on the grounds, and they used to have events in there. Well, now, it's filled in cemeteries for all those who died during Bosnia.
SCHANEN: Oh my.
O'HARA: So, thanks to the military, all my little adventures are a lot the thingI got to see in my life.
SCHANEN: Mm hm. Okay. You did mention the veteran's benefits that you get thedisability because of your accident. And you said you got a citation for--
O'HARA: Yeah, I got a couple of 'em. Army commendations. I got a couple ofthose, and the one, though, I think I really prize the most is the NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization]. I got the NATO for working--for what we did in Bosnia, being there, and down in Sarajevo. So our awards all came out of Belgium where the NATO headquarters was, and so that's the one that I think I treasure the most. And it's a beautiful metal, and the ribbon is blue with white stripes moving in. So that's the one that means the most. And because of being in Bosnia, then I can join the American Legion and I can also join the--what's the 59:00other one--
SCHANEN: VFW? [Veterans of Foreign Wars]
O'HARA: Yeah, the VFW, the Veterans of Foreign Wars. But the Veterans, theCedarburg Veterans--the American Legion--they welcome women open arms there. I served for a year as their first vice commander. I would have done it a second year, but because of family reasons I couldn't. Otherwise I would have been still first vice commander, but they're very fair. They welcome women into their unit. There are other women that are members there. They have no problem with women being officers. The VFW, on the other hand, I've looked into a couple of them, and all I've ever heard from them is, Oh, we can put you in the auxiliary. "No wait fellas, excuse me. See this? It says I'm entitled to--" And the only one that ever contacts me is the auxiliary, and they've never shown any interest so I've stayed with the American Legion over in Cedarburg.
SCHANEN: Okay. Now you retired from the Guard?
O'HARA: No, it had to be twenty years. And I didn't have twenty years so, butthat's fine. But when I adopted Mary-Kate from Hungary, I knew that my time--I didn't reenlist, I just thought, now with this little person that's come all the way to America and her first sentence was, "love America."
SCHANEN: Oh, really?
O'HARA: Very first sentence.
SCHANEN: How old was she?
O'HARA: She was five and a half when we adopted her.
SCHANEN: And how old, now?
O'HARA: And she's ten, now. Let's see what's the date, the eleventh? In eightdays she's been in this country for five years.
O'HARA: And I thought, I just can't make her sacrifice any more as an orphanliving in an Orphanage. I couldn't make her have to pay the price and be over--and I feel bad because I wouldn't mind serving my country if they said, "you have to go over to Iraq." I would have no problem. I have a nephew that's over there with the Marine Corps. I have another nephew, his brother that's just 60:00come back from Afghanistan with the Army. I would have no problem going, but I just felt that now, and I got out before all this started, but I just couldn't--
SCHANEN:Take that chance?
O'HARA: Take the chance of letting her stay here and me be gone.
SCHANEN: Okay. Do you feel that any of the training you had in the military hashelped you now in later life?
O'HARA: I think so. Not putting up with a lot of crap from people a lot oftimes. You know you just learn to stand up, and you learn in the military that there's no one else in the military gonna stand up for you. Might as well learn to stand on your own two feet and be responsible. You know you have to be someplace, you be there. You know you have to so some things, you do them. I think that helped because when I came back from Bosnia I got a job teaching in an alternative school in Milwaukee. I don't want to say what area because, but I 61:00worked with gang members. I worked with ex-cons, former prostitutes, jail birds, kids that were in and out of jail while they were in school, so--
SCHANEN: What were your duties there? Administrative or--?
O'HARA: Yeah, I was a secretary administrative, but we did deal with these kidsone on one on a regular daily basis as much as the teachers, because these kids, they needed someone to talk to. They had a lot of problems at home; a lot of problems in their community, and I just feel that I was able to listen to them probably more than I would have the other way and knowing how to deal with them and stuff. And then when I moved up to Cedarburg and I got a job working with special needs children, I figure, if you can work with the military and handle yourself, if you can work with gang members and handle yourself, you can probably work with special needs children. So then I took this job and work with special needs children. So I think that all that helped. Plus, the 62:00administrative probably helped more with my typing skills, with filing, and stuff.
SCHANEN:And you had to do a lot of typing and that with the jobs that you've hadin all this.
O'HARA: In all the jobs I've had, yeah. At the alternative school, I'd come backfrom Bosnia with computers, I hadn't had much computer experience until I got there and they said, "You will learn a computer." So then when I got to the alternative school, I computerized all the records. Put all their forms on the computer so all they had to do was bring them up all the time and because the administrator was still--she was a Remington writer. She had never worked with a computer, and was afraid of them, so I was able to put everything they had on computers.
SCHANEN: Well, then I guess that was a skill that was definitely was helpful.
O'HARA: It definitely would help.
SCHANEN: I'm one of those "afraid of the computer" people.
O'HARA: To this day I--now I enjoy the computer.
SCHANEN: Okay. What about your overall feeling about your military and--well youwouldn't exactly call it combat experience--but your close-- 63:00
O'HARA: Yeah. It wasn't combat, and I don't pretend to say that I went throughwhat they were going through in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq, and Afghanistan. I don't pretend to know what all that is, and if anybody says, "Oh, she thinks she knows," No I don't, and wouldn't take that honorable duty away from them by saying mine would be comparable, because it wasn't. But I don't think the military hurts anyone. In Israel, everyone, men, women, both have to serve for a certain amount of time. If you're a conscientious objector, well then, put 'em in the kitchen. The only combat you'll see is maybe with that chicken you have to cut up. You know, or go into something, help the Chaplain or do something. But I don't think that two years minimum service hurts anyone. I don't think it hurts, and if it were mandatory, my children--I would say to them "Go do your duty. You've been given, you're 64:00free to worship the way you want, you're free to have all these freedoms. Freedom isn't free. Do your duty to your country. Be grateful. Be grateful that you can serve God. Be grateful you have a family. Be grateful you have freedoms, and the least you can do is pay back that two years.
SCHANEN: I think Switzerland--the men at least have to serve a period of time,maybe a long period of time.
O'HARA: Switzerland, I don't think Switzerland has a military, do they, per se?Because they've always been--
SCHANEN: They've been neutral, but I think everybody--I was there once, and Ithought they have something, and I don't know if you have to be active for a couple of years and then its reserve for quite an extended period of time.
O'HARA: I know Germany--that my brother-in-law, my sister-in-law is married to aGerman national, and he had to go in. It was mandatory. Not for women, but for men. But honestly, I think like Israel, I don't think it hurts for even women to go. That two years is a small drop in the bucket most of the time of your life 65:00as a whole. And the experience, and learning responsibility and to stand up, I don't think that hurts.
SCHANEN: I think it gets you a lot out of self, because you have to work togather with people. I think in our society it's so me, me, me.
O'HARA: It is. One little girl at school, and I think she innocently wore thet-shirt, but it said "Danger: It's all about me." And that's the way our society is becoming. We are so worried about materialism, and we are so worried about us. What about me, if we need to start giving of ourselves instead of thinking of ourselves.
SCHANEN: Yeah, what am I getting?
O'HARA: Yes. To give and not to get. I know that as a Latter Day Saint, thatthey encourage their women not to go in, but to stay home and be wives, but you know, if girls go off to college, okay you're learning, but you can get college benefits out of a military etcetera. And I don't think that it hurts anyone for just two years.
SCHANEN: Did you take advantage of any kind of benefits?
O'HARA: I did, but I only took a year. I only went for a year to MATC [MadisonArea Technical College]. That was just getting just a general. I didn't have any special--I was just kind of getting a general degree, but then other things came up, so I just didn't go back for a second year, so that's my own fault.
SCHANEN: Okay. Did any of your children go into the military?
O'HARA: Mm hmm. My youngest son was in the Marine Corps and now he is aMilwaukee fireman and a Milwaukee paramedic.
SCHANEN: Okay, how did he pick the Marine Corps?
O'HARA: Gee whiz. Mom and dad were both in.
SCHANEN: It's mom and dad both.
O'HARA: Yeah. Honestly, I tried to encourage air force, though, because he'sabout six feet tall and at his heaviest he weighs maybe 145 pounds. He's just rail thin and I thought that maybe the Air Force might be more his thing, but he went in the Marine Corps, and he lived through boot camp, and so he did fine. He showed that good old Irish backbone. "Tell me I can't do it. Go ahead and tell 66:00me I can't do it. I'll show you." So he made it. [laughs] In spite of it, and became a fireman in spite of his willowy build and everything. And my youngest son now, he didn't go in the military, he graduated from the Milwaukee school of engineering, with a degree in business and computers. And then he became a missionary, and he's a missionary getting ready to come home in a month and a half from Norway. But he says, "If things ever get bad, and there is a draft, or if they ever need me, I have no problem serving my country. I watched my mom," and it did make me feel good. It kind of made me tear up a little bit, he says, "I've always learned to be patriotic to my parents. And he says, "I don't--most people bitch and complain and say they have a terrible time paying their taxes when it comes around, but I don't. I don't mind paying for my freedom." So my children have all--
O'HARA: Yeah, followed. They're good patriots. That's all I have to say.
SCHANEN: From all the time you've spent in the military, are there anyparticular friendships that you formed that you maintained?
O'HARA: Oh, yeah. [coughs] In fact, I went down to Chicago a year ago this pastJune of '03 and saw a girl I was in boot camp with, that we would write over the years, and--
SCHANEN: In the Marines?
O'HARA: In the Marine Corps, and we had---and we were stationed together for awhile on Treasure Island in San Francisco, and I hadn't seen her in thirty some years, and we had the best time--just the best time, and then--
SCHANEN: Seemed like yesterday, huh?
O'HARA: You know, really it did. We could have accepted maybe fifteen, butthirty some years ago was a little harder to accept. But it was so nice seeing each other, and talking, we laughed, and we talked 'til like four in the morning about the old times and people that we run into. A girl that was my roommate in Germany when I was over there during Desert Storm, she and I write. And she had a job where they sent her from New Mexico to Chicago for a while, and we went to 67:00see her in Chicago. Write to the woman and her husband that were my daughter's godparents back at 1971. Still write to them so, and not a lot of them, but just a few, but the few I have are the special ones.
SCHANEN: Mm hm, that's neat. Do you remember any particular stories about anyinstructors or people you were with? Any pranks you made or pulled on each other?
O'HARA: No, honestly I'm not a prankster.
SCHANEN: And you didn't see anything going on around you that was typical ofmilitary, or--?
O'HARA: Oh, probably, but you know I've thought about it the last couple days,and there's none I can think of. The ones I think I pretty well thought about. No. There were some things, but people got into trouble, so those aren't good to tell. They were some higher ups once in a while. And girlfriends that he shouldn't have and black market, and I shouldn't talk about this, so. 68:00
SCHANEN: Oh, okay. So those weren't necessarily pranks. It was just things thatthey were getting into that they shouldn't have.
O'HARA: Yeah, I had a commanding officer I used to go babysit for his kids, soI'm sure that put me a little bit higher on the--
SCHANEN: Oh, that helped.
O'HARA: One time the same commander--he was a major, he was the head of theCasualty Company--he came in, and little did I know he was standing behind me, and I was standing there being a wise guy and they were talking about who had what day off and I said, "Oh, well don't they know that today I should be off?" And they said, the admin chief's looked at me and says, "Why?" And I said, "Well this is is Be Kind to PFC [Private First Class] day," and I didn't know that major was standing right behind me, and he says, "No, no, there is no such thing that's ever Be Kind to PFC day." "Sir you didn't tell me you were there."
SCHANEN: Would have been nice if it had worked, though.
O'HARA: Oh, Yeah. [laughs]
SCHANEN: Well they have holidays for everything now, Sweetest Day, Grandparent's Day--
O'HARA: Be kind to PFC day.
SCHANEN: [inaudible, laughing] There you go.
O'HARA: Well back in the sixties I guess that wasn't popular.
SCHANEN: I don't think they had that yet.
O'HARA: No, no.
SCHANEN: Hallmark hasn't gotten to that yet. [both laugh]
O'HARA: But, officers and military leaders, I can't think of any right now. Iknow that in San Francisco, we used to go in there and down on Market Street a lot of the gays were staying there. Well coming from Wisconsin, I wasn't used to seeing men dressed up as women running around--professing they were men, but looking for other men dressed up as women--but I just wasn't used to that. And we went by this--my girlfriend and I went by this place called the Pussy Cat Lounge. [laughs] It just sounds bad, just the name of the place, it was called the Pussy Cat Lounge, and it was some gay bar right off of Market Street.
SCHANEN: For men, or--?
O'HARA: Yeah, it was a men's gay bar. And a guy came out and he was dressed in--
SCHANEN: You just went past it?
O'HARA: We went passed it, and he was dressed in white bell-bottoms and had onwhat they call like wife beater shirts, it was a blue and white stripe, like 69:00those t-shirts, those--
SCHANEN: Tank tops?
O'HARA: Tank tops, yeah, he had on one of those. He had an ear ring in his rightear, like a big one, you know. He almost looked like he was off the HMS Bounty or something.
SCHANEN: Yeah, a pirate. [laughs]
O'HARA: Yeah. And he had his hair pulled back in a ponytail and boots on with anice big heel on 'em. But he had on blue and green eye shadow, and we walked by and I said, "Nice eye shadow," or something to that effect. And his voice was real high like this and I kind of looked at him. And so then--I don't know--barbs were back and forth, and pretty soon he started chasing us and he says, "I'm having my girlfriend beat you up--or my boyfriend beat you up." And so he went back in and pretty soon we had some guys chasing us down the street that were all gay and unhappy with women, and I don't know how we lived.
SCHANEN: So you weren't always so quiet.
O'HARA: No, I guess not.
SCHANEN: And just how big were you? You said you were wearing a size six at one point.
O'HARA: I was five-two, and when I was in the Marine Corps, in fact, when Iwent to Treasure Island they in fact told me to put on weight because I was down 70:00to a hundred--
SCHANEN: You were a petit little thing.
O'HARA: Yeah, I was down to about a hundred and three pounds.
SCHANEN: Exchanging barbs with these people--
O'HARA: We were just glad they didn't run as fast as us.
SCHANEN: Were you in your high heels and mini skirt at the time?
O'HARA: Yes. Actually, we were. Because, you know that's when we used to wearthe not quite the platforms, but they had the chunkier heel, they were still the high heels, you know.
SCHANEN: And you were running in those?
O'HARA: I was born to run in heels. I was born to wear heels, and I figured, hewasn't born in 'em, so I can run faster and--
SCHANEN: But his boyfriend could.
O'HARA: His boyfriend had regular shoes, but he had to run in there and get 'em.And we thought he was just kidding, but then this big Dick the Bruiser came out with him and they had their arms around each other. And I thought, That ain't natural. But I wasn't used to seeing that. And so then some other guys and they said a bunch of women, and they were calling us different names, so they were all chasing us, and so we jumped a cable car and got out of there.
SCHANEN: Oh, okay. I was wondering how you got out of that situation.
O'HARA: Cable car. [laughs] I'm no hero. But all you'd have to say is honestly,because the guys on base really took good care of us that if something like that 71:00would have happened, I guarantee you Pussy Cat Lounge would have been torn from limb to limb.
SCHANEN: Oh. Were the Marines known for being a little physical?
O'HARA: Oh, yes. [both laugh] There's nothing they loved more than a good fight.In fact, we had the Black Panthers were very active then, and Angela Davis, when we were out there. And so, they tried to storm the base. The Black Panthers tried to storm Treasure Island, and the Marines held them off, and the Naval MPs, I want to give them credit, too. And when they had the trouble with the--over at the when the Indians took over Alcatraz, they thought there would be trouble on base. But every time something happened, they would always have Marines, and MPs and the Shore Patrol around the women's barracks. I think back then, and I think that's a big difference between now and then. When the women wore heels and skirts, and there was a definite different look, and a separation between the genders, the men protected the women more--took care of them. When 72:00we started dressing like them, I didn't notice the same care. Only one time when I wore a skirt when I was in the Marine Corps did I have someone not help me and he was in the Army. And I was at San Francisco Airport, and I had these two big duffle bags, plus my regular suitcase and the little--that's when women used to carry the little makeup--remember the little smaller makeup cases we used to carry that matched our luggage. And one guy said, "Well why don't you help her?", because I was in heels trying to work my way down there. And this guy in the Army who had his jacket unbuttoned, his top button of his shirt unbuttoned, and his tie pulled out, and this was--as a Marine you had enough pride that you never would do that in public. But the Army, evidently they did that. But he said, "Eh, she's a Marine. Let her do it herself." That's the only time the whole time I was in the Marine Corps. Otherwise, men always would open doors, they were always polite, never had that--but the minute we started dressing like 73:00them, I noticed that in the guard, that if you're carrying a big box and somebody walks through, and you wore that same camouflage that they did, they didn't bother with the doors.
SCHANEN: But it was your job, yeah.
O'HARA: That's right, and I honestly, I don't think it hurt if you are a girl,to dress like a girl, and leave the combat to men. And while I admire the women that go in, if they went back and said, "You're in the military again, but we only going to let the women do certain jobs," I wouldn't have a problem with that because I know I'm a girl. I wore the makeup every day, and I think that combat should've been left to the men. But that was me. But see a lot of women say, "That's antiquated thinking. You know, that's not up--" I don't care. It's the way I still feel today. I carried my weapon. I wore the camouflage. I carried the hundred fifty rounds. I did the whole nine yards; drove the big trucks, but I had no problem when they said, "Be in the office and wear your class A's with the skirt and heels," I was in my glory. I was shining. 74:00Cock-a-doodle-doo. [SCHANEN laughs] I was dancing around like a peacock. I liked being a girl, and I had no problem, and I still think that it wouldn't hurt. But I don't think it hurts girls to go in for two years.
SCHANEN: Right. The discipline if nothing else.
O'HARA: That's it.
SCHANEN: 'Cause there isn't a whole lot of discipline.
O'HARA: I work in a K through five school, and I see it already. We have to havespecial classes on guidance to teach kids manners. No, that starts at home when you're young. That's not the school's job. That's the parent's job from the law.
SCHANEN: Okay. Any other specific things you wanted to share with us? It's beenvery interesting. [both laugh] And it's kind of neat your viewpoint, having been in when women going in was more of a not common yet, and we were treated more with the respect that women had traditionally received.
O'HARA: And I had no problem with it. I guess the only other thing I thinkof--real quick--a guy came back from Vietnam. He lived--was it eighteen or 75:00twenty-four months during his time, in Vietnam. He came back, got his hazard, got all his back pay duty--had about three-thousand dollars on him--and he went in to a certain section--I won't say what section--but he went into a certain section of San Francisco, and he was murdered. And I remember doing the paperwork on him--broke my heart that he lived through all that, came back, and was murdered for three thousand dollars. His life wasn't worth more than three thousand dollars. And here he had just come back, and [inaudible]. But I used to see Oak Knoll Hospital, saw a lot of those guys, amputees, no arms, no legs, eighteen, seventeen years old. Watched guys in front of my desk when I was eighteen, at a casualty company, you see 'em start flashing back to Vietnam, and all of a sudden those guys would literally, right directly, in front of my desk, like a foot away from me, just start sobbing and shaking so bad that they were just having a breakdown. And you'd watch them strap them on a gurney and take 76:00them out. And they're crying and sobbing and calling their friends' names. That bothered me for a while.
SCHANEN: Yeah, that's really--
O'HARA: Not that I didn't sleep, because I knew that those kind of things had tohave gone on, but it just made me-- it just broke my heart for those guys.
SCHANEN: And I think people aren't as aware of that kind of thing, either. Imean, we get numbers of people killed over in Iraq, but you know--and so many just wounded. Just wounded.
O'HARA: No. You don't see what that wounded means. You don't see--
SCHANEN: Physically and emotionally
O'HARA: There was a woman on the news that she was Captain in the Army. She wentover there. And thank goodness, I think that she--it was her left arm she lost--that she's right handed--thank goodness. But she went over there and got hit with--I think it was some kind of round that was pretty good size--and it took her arm off. She said, "I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life in the Army, and retire, and go on retirement, and do something else." And she 77:00says, "Now I'm going to be out." She'll get 100 percent disability and the money will help her, but that's not her arm back. And that she was just "a casualty." So you don't see all that much--And you know, they show [Slobodan] Milosevic on TV when they had him going through the trial. I remember when we were down in Bosnia, we were on some back roads away from some bases, and there were posters up glorifying him. And they told us not to take them as souvenirs, so I didn't because a lot of them had explosives behind them, or they had snipers. You just didn't know if you got out of a vehicle. And it said in English--in broken English they would write, "Do Not Touch Milosevic, Good Man Very" instead of "Very Good Man" and try and write it how they would in America. But I remember seeing as we would go by these telephone poles, and if a telephone pole was sitting on someone's--was on the road, and somebody's house was there, they cut it off real short and put it on top of their house. And then the next one would 78:00be long again. And on all these telephone poles were posters of Milosevic, "Man good very, touch not." Okay. [laughs] If your aim's as good as your English--boy we ain't got nothing to worry about. [laughs] But you saw a lot of those, and then when they caught him, I thought, Good, because we heard and sometimes people saw where they--I won't go into it, but some of the things that went on--and it was horrendous what they did to those people. When you turn it off, I'll--
SCHANEN: Okay. Alright, well thank you very much for sharing.
O'HARA: Sure, sure.
SCHANEN: Okay, you just remembered a cute little story of--where were you?
O'HARA: We were at our base in Hungary, and there were some big country westernstars coming and I thought, Oh, I don't have time to go to that. We were working late in admin, and I thought I'd be too tired, and I had to get my boots shined, and get my clothes done and everything, so I don't have time. So I went to the big--where we eat--the mess hall--and I was in line, and there were some guys in 79:00front of me talking and they had on cowboy hats, and I thought, Rednecks.
SCHANEN: Getting ready for the big show tonight.
O'HARA: Yeah, they're getting on their gear to go see the show. And they'restanding there blabbing and blabbing, and the line was moving and they weren't, and so I tapped them on the shoulder, and I looked at this one guy--he was very nice looking--and I said, "Excuse me, but you're holding up the line. How 'bout if you move it." And he kind of looked at me like, well excuse me. And so then they moved up a little bit, and then the other guy couldn't decide how he wanted his food, because he was going to have some eggs, and did he want them scrambled, or did he want 'em--and I looked at the guy, and I said, "Will you make up your mind?" I only had so much time, and so the guys moved along, and then finally I just went [sighs] so I took my tray and I moved clear on ahead of them down the line. And then I went and sat down and ate, and I took my time that night after that. I thought, You know, I have so much to do, but I'm really tired, and I just want to sit here for a few minutes. And everyone started leaving the mess hall, and pretty soon this guy in the cowboy hat--the good 80:00looking one--goes by the table and as he goes by, he kind of slows down a little bit, and he kind of smiles at me under his hat and bats his eyes a little bit. And I looked up at him and kind of eh, smiled, and then he left and pretty soon he came trotting back with something else. And then he kinda slows down, and kind of runs his fingers along the table, and looks at me and smiles real nice. And I looked back up and I thought, Who the hell is this guy? [both laugh] So then I went back to the barracks, and I started looking at those posters as I was walking in, and it says, "Star of the show, Rico Rosco all the way from Nashville." And I looked, and I thought, That face looks mighty familiar, like the guy that was going by the table, and the guy that I told to move it in line. [laughs] And he was the big star--the big country western star that was there. And I didn't know it and the whole time I was saying "Who the hell does this guy think he is," and "Get moving buster," and "Would you make up your mind."
SCHANEN: But you had just a limited amount of time to get in there, and he had--
O'HARA: I had just a limited amount of time, and I was tired, but I thought, Ishould run out of here and eat and run out like I usually do, and I thought, I'll just take a few minutes and take my time with this last piece--or whatever I was eating. And so here this guy was coming by, trying to make amends, and smiling, and grinning, and being all nice. And I'm giving him a hard time, never knowing who he was, thinking, Redneck--with that cowboy hat on. And then I find out it's the star of the show. [laughs]
SCHANEN: Did you then go to the show that night, or you just get--?
O'HARA: No, I figured it just as well he didn't see my face again. [both laugh]
SCHANEN: You didn't know what would happen.
O'HARA: I wanted to remain anonymous from there on in. So it was Rico Rosco, sovery nice looking young man, he looked a lot like--if I remember right now, I try to look back--he looked a lot like Tracy Byrd, or something like that, but that was my story.
SCHANEN: Now was he brought in USO [United Service Organization]?
O'HARA: USO brings in the shows.
SCHANEN: Did you ever have any other shows brought in?
O'HARA: They brought in Hootie and the Blowfish, but that was right before wegot there, so I missed that. So afterwards they brought in some--I don't 81:00know--some women dancers from some place. And I thought, What do I want to go look at women dance for? So I didn't go. And then they had the Army band, and they were playing a little bit of everything. But they only place you could see these shows was at the beer tent, and that was clear across the base. And I usually didn't get done from work--everybody else was usually done by about five o'clock. I usually didn't get done 'till eight or nine because there's so much admin work. And by the time you change, and you shower, and you fight your way into the showers, and then you go all the way across base and wait for the bus, by the time you got there--and then everybody's drunk it's stupid because you can't when you're off base. And then you've got somebody groping or pinching you, you figure, it ain't worth it. So believe me, I read a lot of books while I was over there. Lots and lots of books, and stayed in the--it was kind of boring a lot of nights because I stayed in my room. But then, that was when it was quietest, because sharing a room with twelve women and eleven of them are gone, it's mighty quiet.
SCHANEN: Yes. Yes, I bet it is.
O'HARA: And then you take your time in the shower, and there'd be hot water,82:00and--but the showers were maintained by the Hungarians, and they hadn't been updated since the communist flyers were there. So you had to wear rubber shoes in, because there was so much mold growing on the showers, on the floors, you looked up and the ceiling was just black with mold. That, you got--
SCHANEN: And this was when it was so cold out all the time, too?
O'HARA: No. That was when we--this was when we were up in Kazar, which isfarther up in Hungary. When we were in Croatia, you had to go into little trailers when you had to take a shower, and they were maintained by the Croatians. But if you left your uniforms out, they cut the buttons off your uniforms. So one day I went to button and they said, "You know you're supposed to have your pockets buttoned on your uniform," and I thought, Oh shoot, I didn't do it, 'cause I put on my uniform real quick. And when I went to button it and the Croatians had cut the buttons off--
SCHANEN: Oh, as souvenirs?
O'HARA: I don't know if they were making buttons for themselves, or just makingit harder for us, or whatever, but they were cutting all the buttons off all our 83:00pockets and off all our sleeves. So you go to put your uniform on, and you thought, I don't have any buttons on. And you're looking for a uniform that you can wear, but it didn't work, but--
SCHANEN: Now you said this was where it was thirty below?
O'HARA: Yes, down in Croatia. And that's where you had to go to take a shower ina little stall in a trailer, but you didn't want to be in there long, because then you know your uniform would be cut up--
SCHANEN: Right. And you said the water was cold by the time--
O'HARA: It was cold by the time I got there.
SCHANEN:So it did start with hot water, but--
O'HARA: It did start with hot water.
SCHANEN:But with so many people--
O'HARA: At Hohenfels, they started with hot water but we didn't get any in. Itwas below zero up there in the mountains of Germany, so.
SCHANEN: And you had no facilities where you could take heat water and justsponge bathe someplace.
O'HARA: Not unless you wanted to take a coffee cup of water out of the--
SCHANEN: The mess hall.
O'HARA: Out of the mess hall, yeah. And then you could take it back. But I thinkthat's where I originally started getting more and more of the walking pneumonia, because one night I couldn't find my flip flops, I couldn't find my boots, and to keep warm, I would sleep in my uniform, or else I'd sleep in my 84:00guard--what do you call them--your insulated underwear. And you'd always put your uniforms inside your sleeping bag so that--a lot of them would hang them up so that they'd look nice. I didn't care if I looked wrinkled, because if you hang it up then it was hanging in the cold. If you folded it up and stuffed it in your sleeping bag, then at least it was warm from your body heat. But one night I couldn't find my flashlight, couldn't find anything, and I had to take a leak so bad, I thought, I'm gonna wet my knickers. I gotta get going and I didn't want to go to the bathroom right outside the tent again, because I knew they had night vision there. So from our tent down to the women's bathroom was probably about a city block. And so I ran through the snow barefoot because I had to go the bathroom that bad. And I was still on US time, and they were eight hours ahead over here in Hungary--or seven hours--so I just--I thought I'm either gonna literally wet my pants, or I have to run down there barefoot. And I 85:00ran a city block in the snow barefoot and back, and after that I really was sick, but didn't miss a day of work.
SCHANEN: Oh dear.
O'HARA: So those were some of Judy's other big adventures.
SCHANEN:Well I'm glad you remembered those.
SCHANEN: Thanks again.
[End of Interview]
Direct segment link:
Partial Transcript: Interviewer: Judy, why don't you start just by giving us a little bit of background on you. What year were you born and where?
Segment Synopsis: O'Hara discusses her family and childhood. She describes moving often as a child because her father was in the Navy reserves. She discusses her reasons for joining the Marines after graduating high school. O'Hara then describes working at an egg ranch in California before going to basic training.
Direct segment link:
Partial Transcript: O'Hara: And they took pictures and [clears throat] and we took our oath and then we went off to boot camp
Segment Synopsis: O'Hara describes basic training on Parris Island (South Carolina). She describes the number of women in training and the types of jobs available for women. O'Hara discusses how training was difficult and how she did not have a lot of free time.
Keywords: Basic; Boot Camp; Parris Island
Direct segment link:
Partial Transcript: Interviewer: So you finished your nine weeks. How did you feel then?
Segment Synopsis: O'Hara discusses advanced training on Parris Island (South Carolina). She describes her four weeks training in administrative school, and the differences between basic training and advanced training. O'Hara also describes military food and relationships between men and women on base.
Keywords: Advanced Training; Parris Island
Direct segment link:
Partial Transcript: Interviewer: All right, so after you finished your training, now where--did you go someplace else or did they keep you there yet?
Segment Synopsis: In this segment, O'Hara describes being assigned as an administrative clerk in Treasure Island (California). She describes her duties on base and seeing men return from Vietnam. O'Hara then describes spending time in San Francisco and on base entertainment.
Keywords: Marine Barracks; Treasure Island
Direct segment link:
Partial Transcript: Interviewer: Okay, so you said this went until sometime in '70. Where did you go after that, then?
Segment Synopsis: O'Hara discusses transferring back to Parris Island (South Carolina). She discusses being discouraged from transferring to Saigon, Vietnam and transferring to Parris Island to follow her boyfriend. O'Hara then discusses being the first woman to raise the flag every morning at Treasure Island (California). She also discusses the differences between Parris Island and Treasure Island.
Keywords: Parris Island
Direct segment link:
Partial Transcript: O'Hara: And in fact I was at Treasure Island when the Indians took over Alcatraz. And we used to stand on the edge of the base and we used to look through the binoculars and watch the Indians running around Alcatraz.
Segment Synopsis: In this segment, O'Hara discusses witnessing the Occupation of Alcatraz by Native Americans while she was stationed on Treasure Island (California). She also discusses public opinion about the Vietnam War in San Francisco, and relations between the military and the public.
Direct segment link:
Partial Transcript: Interviewer: And you said you asked to go back there because of someone you were kind of interested in?
Segment Synopsis: In this segment, O'Hara discusses her first marriage. She discusses life after being discharged and moving to Camp Pendleton (California) to follow her husband's assignment. O'Hara then describes military housing and adjusting to civilian life.
Direct segment link:
Partial Transcript: Interviewer: Okay, '76, and it says here then in 1989 you joined the Army National Guard.
O'Hara: Mm hmm. By then I had three kids and they were all--
Segment Synopsis: In this segment, O'Hara describes joining the Army National Guard. She discusses her initial reluctance and ultimate reasons for joining. O'Hara describes her training for the Army National Guard and becoming an administration clerk at the Rear Operations Center in Hartford (Wisconsin).
Keywords: National Guard
Direct segment link:
Partial Transcript: Interviewer: Along with your one weekend a month that you had to give them, did you have summer--two weeks or something that you had to do?
Segment Synopsis: In this segment, O'Hara describes her two week assignments in Fort McCoy (Wisconsin) and Fort Hood (Texas). She describes her duties working in the communications center. O'Hara then discusses bathroom and shower facilities on the bases.
Keywords: Fort Hood; Fort McCoy
Direct segment link:
Partial Transcript: Interviewer: Alright, so I had asked you if there was anything you--eventful about your guard duty.
Segment Synopsis: In this segment, O'Hara describes being assigned to work in supply at the Tenth Chemical Company in Kaiserslautern, Germany. She describes her duties on base and preparing supplies for Desert Storm.
Keywords: 10th Chemical Company; Desert Storm; Kaiserslautern
Direct segment link:
Partial Transcript: Interviewer: Wow, you just took a week and toured--how did you travel around?
Segment Synopsis: In this segment, O'Hara describes traveling throughout Europe during her time off. She describes a close encounter with the Czechoslovakian police. O'Hara also discusses her commitment to going into a combat situation if necessary. She then discusses how she felt traveling alone as a woman.
Direct segment link:
Partial Transcript: Interviewer: And was the rest of your time then in the Guard uneventful?
Segment Synopsis: In this segment, O'Hara describes her reasons for going to Bosnia as a peacekeeper. She describes the plane trip to Germany for combat training. She then discusses combat training at the Combat Maneuvers Training Center in Hohenfels, Germany.
Keywords: Bosnia; Hohenfels; Peacekeeper
Direct segment link:
Partial Transcript: Interviewer: Okay, so now you're in Bosnia.
Segment Synopsis: In this segment, O'Hara describes her experience as a peacekeeper in Bosnia. She describes watching for mines and traveling in convoys. O'Hara then discusses a tense moment between her unit and a town on the Croatian-Bosnian border. O'Hara also discusses becoming licensed to drive trucks.
Keywords: Bosnia; Bosnian War; Peacekeeper
Direct segment link:
Partial Transcript: O'Hara: But other times we would convoy into Sarajevo [Bosnia] and that was the one thing, you know, I was the only girl on the convoy a couple of times, so you've got all these vehicles, and then they say, “Potty break,” so everyone jumps out of the truck and I just sit there and just either way, while you know--
Segment Synopsis: O'Hara describes traveling as a woman with the Army National Guard. She discusses having few moments to use the bathroom while traveling on convoys and always being recognized as a woman despite her military gear. O'Hara also describes seeing the effects of the Bosnian War. She describes seeing refugee camps and poverty-stricken families.
Direct segment link:
Partial Transcript: O'Hara: But when we weren't on convoys and we weren't doing different things, we were stationed a lot at Kazar, Hungary. And on that base, for a while, I was the battalion mail clerk.
Segment Synopsis: O'Hara describes life on base in Kazar, Hungary, between assignments in Bosnia. She describes her duties as the battalion mail clerk. She also discusses sleeping and shower facilities. O'Hara then describes the freezing temperatures in Croatia and Hungary, and how people became sick.
Keywords: Bosnia; Kazar; Peacekeeper
Direct segment link:
Partial Transcript: O'Hara: When I was in the Marine Corps, I did get a disability, I did get ten percent. But then I had just gotten off duty and I was in a car accident.
Segment Synopsis: O'Hara describes getting into a car accident and having reconstructive surgery. She explains how she gets disability payment. O'Hara also discusses how she has never missed a day of duty, despite becoming sick from the extreme temperatures.
Direct segment link:
Partial Transcript: O'Hara: And then I had a wonderful two weeks leave while I was over there.
Segment Synopsis: O'Hara describes spending her two weeks leave during her assignment in Bosnia with her husband. She describes traveling in England, Ireland, and Scotland. O'Hara also discusses having a close encounter with British police after an Irish Republican Army attack.
Direct segment link:
Partial Transcript: O'Hara: And it was while I was there I looked into--when we were in Croatia, Bosnia, we got to visit orphanages on weekends. They say, If you have extra time, go visit the orphanage, and we did and I started looking into adopting a child over there.
Segment Synopsis: In this segment, O'Hara describes her reasons for adopting a daughter from Hungary. She also discusses her commendations and medals that she received for her service. O'Hara then discusses joining the American Legion in Cedarburg, Wisconsin and her dislike of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Direct segment link:
Direct segment link:
Partial Transcript: Interviewer: Do you feel that any of the training you had in the military has helped you now in later life?
Segment Synopsis: In this segment, O'Hara describes how her experience in the military has helped her later in life. She describes teaching in a Milwaukee school as a secretary and working with disabled children. O'Hara also discusses why she thinks everyone should join the military. She then talks about getting a higher education, and discusses how her children feel about the military.
Direct segment link:
Partial Transcript: Interviewer: From all the time you've spent in the military, are there any particular friendships that you formed that you maintained?
Segment Synopsis: In this segment, O'Hara discusses reconnecting with a friend she met while in the Marine Corps. She also shares two stories from her time in the Marine Corps dealing with the Casualty Company commanding officer and the LGBTQ community in San Francisco.
Direct segment link:
Partial Transcript: Interviewer: Were the Marines known for being a little physical?
Segment Synopsis: In this segment, O'Hara discusses how men used to treat women in the military, and why she thinks that treatment has changed over time. She then discusses how she thinks women should dress and how they should not be allowed in combat. O'Hara also reiterates how everyone would benefit from joining the military.
Keywords: Gender; Women
Direct segment link:
Partial Transcript: Interviewer: Any other specific things you wanted to share with us? It's been very interesting.
Segment Synopsis: In this segment, O'Hara shares a story about a Vietnam War veteran who was murdered after being discharged. She discusses seeing veterans with post traumatic stress disorder, and how it affected her. She then discusses the significance of the number of wounded in war.
Keywords: PTSD; Vietnam
Direct segment link:
Partial Transcript: O'Hara: And you know, they show Milosevic on TV when they had him going through the trial. I remember when we were down in Bosnia, we were on some back roads away from some bases, and there were posters up glorifying him.
Segment Synopsis: In this segment, O'Hara discusses seeing posters praising Milosevic in Bosnia. She talks about how she felt when he was put on trial.
Keywords: Bosnia; Milosevic
Direct segment link:
Direct segment link:
Partial Transcript: Interviewer: Did you ever have any other shows brought in?
Segment Synopsis: In this segment, O'Hara discusses the entertainment that the United Service Organization hired while she was stationed in Kazar, Hungary. She discusses why she did not go to many of these shows and chose to stay in the barracks.
Direct segment link:
Partial Transcript: O'Hara: And then you take your time in the shower, and there'd be hot water and--but the showers were maintained by the Hungarians, and they hadn't been updated since the communist flyers were there.
Segment Synopsis: In this segment, O'Hara describes the shower and bathroom facilities on the Kazar base in Hungary. She then discusses the shower facilities in Croatia and talks about how some Croatians would cut the buttons off of United States military uniforms. O'Hara then shares a story of how she once ran barefoot in snow to get to the bathroom facility in Kazar, Hungary. The interview is concluded.