Women honored for military service
HIGH POINT — A Mebane woman was one of six female veterans honored Friday during the fifth annual Outstanding Combat Female Veterans of North Carolina Ceremony Program.
More than 150 people gathered in High Point to recognize female military veterans whose legacy of serving in combat areas dates from the founding of the nation.
State Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Secretary Walter Gaskin said that female veterans “have stood shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts.”
Gaskin, a retired lieutenant general in the Marine Corps, said female veterans have gone far too long without their valor and heroism being publicly recognized.
The veterans honored at the luncheon were:
• Tammy Williamson of Mebane, Marine Corps, now heads the Triad-Triangle chapter of the Montford Point Marine Association as group president.
• Jacqueline Kohler of Clemmons, Army, served in the Afghanistan war and now volunteers with Triad Honor Flight group that takes area veterans to Washington, D.C.
• Katina Patterson of Madison, Army, served in the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq wars and now works for the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs helping veterans file claims.
• Lisa Clark, of Asheville, Air Force, served in the Persian Gulf war and has a decades-long career as a nurse in military and civilian roles.
• Carolyn Comfort of Asheville, Army, served in the Vietnam and Persian Gulf wars and now volunteers as one of five Military Women’s Memorial North Carolina ambassadors.
• Kathleen Gainey, of Asheville, Army, served in the Persian Gulf and Iraq wars and now volunteers in roles as a mentor and board member for organizations.
Women have served in or near combat settings dating back to the American Revolution, according to Combat Female Veterans Families United. But the involvement escalated from the middle of the 20th century during World War II to the present day. Approximately 7,000 women were deployed to serve in the Vietnam War, more than 40,000 served in combat zones during the Persian Gulf War and an estimated 150,000 women were deployed to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars from 2001-12, Combat Female Veterans Families United reports.
Women now account for 15% of active service members in the U.S. military.
Luncheon guest speaker Carlvena Foster, vice chairwoman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners, said the achievements of female combat veterans need to be recognized by the public at large. The theme of the luncheon was “A Round of Applause,” which Foster said was appropriate to recognize the service of the veterans.
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