Unlike during my time in uniform, these days the American people are showing a much deserved appreciation for our military, and rightly so. Welcome home parades, yellow ribbons on trees and utility poles, a smile and a “thank you” go a long, long way toward making them feel welcomed back home.

Some people are going a big step further. I was pleased to see that author Stephen King just donated $13,000 to help charter two buses to bring Maine Army National Guard troops home for the holidays from Camp Atterbury in Indiana. Game show host Bob Barker, who was a Navy pilot during World War II, donated $3 million to fund a trauma center at Walter Reed Hospital, to provide treatment center for traumatic brain injuries suffered by military personnel.

However, there is one segment of our military that seems to be overlooked all too often in our newfound show of support. In past wars, very few female troops were exposed to combat; usually they were nurses in medical units near the combat. But today’s women veterans are routinely on the front lines doing everything from driving vehicles in convoys through enemy territory, to serving as gunners on armored Humvees, and as Military Police, operating checkpoints.

Yet, many of our female war veterans feel displaced and overlooked during homecoming parades and celebrations. America expects our war heroes to be men (even though all too many of them are actually still boys). The idea of a female soldier facing combat just goes against everything we expect in wartime.

Yet, American women have proven themselves fully capable when the guns start firing. They fight and die right alongside the men, but when they come home, too many of us see a woman in uniform and think she must be a clerk or rear area technician. What too many people don’t understand is that in today’s wars, there is no rear area!

Women veterans say they don’t get the support their male comrades get from the military, and even get overlooked when somebody buys a round of drinks to celebrate the veterans’ homecoming. One woman veteran said she was ignored until one of her male friends said “Hey, she was there too, right alongside us!” Some say they feel betrayed by their male comrades, who avoid them when they return stateside, afraid that their wives of girlfriends will object to the close bond they formed in combat.

Old ideas die hard, but I want to say to each and every America woman in uniform, past or present, whether you worked in a computer lab or stood guard duty at a lonely outpost, whether you saw combat or supported those who did, “Welcome home, Sister. You did damned good, and I’m proud of you.”

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12 Comments on Welcome Home, Sisters

  1. Mike says:

    I don’t see this as a bad Nick article. Just a basic true all should hear and understand. Good for you to bring this in the open. This is an item that needs to be put out to the public.

  2. Dave Olson, RN says:

    I don’t see this as “Bad Nick” material either… it’s just something the mainstream media ignores and instead chooses to report ad nauseum on Tiger Woods’ “dalliances” with the young skanks!

    2 of my EMT’s I work with in the Emergency Department are veterans of Kosovo & Iraq, courtesy of the National Guard & Reserves. Both are males and outshine my other non-military tech staff… and even some of my fellow RN’s with their critical thinking and patient care skills! Fortunately, they came back from the Gulf with no obvious issues.

  3. Jan Chilson says:

    Thanks Nick. My Mom served in the Navy. While not in combat, she provided important support for those who did. Appreciate the “heads up”.

  4. Janice Pringle says:

    Nick, what civilains fail to recognize is that all military personnel no matter what branch of service are warriors first. Then they are clerks, mechanics, military police, etc. As a female vet of the Viet Nam era, I understand their feelings. I was so proud to wear my uniform when I returned home to a small town in the midwest after boot camp. Then came the harrassment and people even spit on me. Thank goodness the civilian population seems to have gotten over that. I worked as a federal employee for over 34 years. I have not met a smarter or more dedicated cadre of men and women who work for our freedom. A big THNAK YOU to them.

  5. John Pontsler says:

    Nice rant, Nick. I agree.

  6. Right on Nick! CNN did a segment about this very thing yesterday.

  7. George Stoltz says:

    Points well made, Nick.

    This is a perception that has to be changed.

  8. Amen to all of that. When we visit nearby Sierra Vista, we often see men and women in desert camouflage in the stores and restaurants. They are from neighboring Fort Huachuca. We always try to remember to chat with them and thank them for their service. You are right that the women returning deserve as much respect and honor as their male counterparts, perhaps even more, as they are pioneers in dangerous territory, much like the nine black schoolchildren in Alabama during the early civil rights campaign.

  9. Phil Brown says:

    Right on Nick. All our military, men and women deserve a hardy thank you. I try to tell all that I see in uniform thank for your service.

    Phil B

  10. Dave says:

    Mike and Dave, this is a Bad Nick blog because it points out the problem of not recognizing our female veterans equally!

  11. Kay F. Brown says:

    Hooah…..Way to go Bad Nick! Women Soldiers are important too. They are giving all right along with their Male counterparts. Nice post. You’re entitled to a nap! Did ya get a quote for a Travler Dish? Hope so…you’ll be impressed. Damn robbers anyway.DH said…”What the hell for? (pulled the receiver out and stepped on them) We are hooked on lots of TV.

  12. Glenn Avery says:

    Nick: How very true. They all bleed and some die, Male or female.

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