Webinar Highlights Army Women’s ‘Amazing’ Stories

Webinar Highlights Army Women’s ‘Amazing’ Stories

Women soldiers
Photo by: U.S. Army/Sgt. Alexis Washburn-Jasinski

The Association of the U.S. Army hosted four Army veterans who’ve gone beyond the call of service to make sure women’s voices—and their experiences on the front lines—are heard.

“The images of war have been those of men,” Diane Carlson Evans, a former captain in the Army Nurse Corps and founder of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Project, said March 24 during a panel as part of AUSA’s Thought Leaders webinar series.

“What I realized I needed to do was change that imagery so that people could see ... women were there,” she said.

In 1983, more than a decade after her service as a combat nurse in the burn unit of two evacuation hospitals in Vietnam, Evans set out on a mission to give women in uniform recognition on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Her book, Healing Wounds: A Vietnam War Combat Nurse's 10-Year Fight to Win Women a Place of Honor in Washington, D.C., highlights not only her own experiences on the front lines, but her fight to earn women in uniform recognition in the nation’s capital. 

“It took me 50 years to have the courage to write this story,” Evans said.

The Thought Leaders webinar also featured Eileen Rivers, author of Beyond the Call: Three Women on the Front Lines in Afghanistan; Shannon Huffman Polson, author of The Grit Factor: Courage, Resilience, and Leadership in the Most Male-Dominated Organization in the World; and Kayla Williams, author of Love My Rifle More Than You: Young and Female in the U.S. Army and Plenty of Time When We Get Home: Love & Recovery in the Aftermath of War.

After serving in Iraq, Williams said she wanted to share a “nuanced and detailed account” of her experiences serving in the military.

“I had not grown up hearing stories—intimate, detailed accounts—from other women who had served before or during my own service, and I wanted to open that window,” said Williams, a former Arabic linguist in the Army.

In Beyond the Call, Rivers tells the stories of three women in the military, including two Army officers, who worked with women in Afghanistan to gather intelligence on the Taliban as part of the military’s Female Engagement Teams.

Rivers said finding out about the engagement teams was the first time she was “introduced to this idea of women serving in critical roles that men couldn't fill.”

“I thought, ‘Man, I’m a woman who has served and have never heard of these teams before,’ ” said Rivers, a former Army Arabic linguist. 

“If I haven’t, then I’m sure that there’s a lot of other people also haven’t and who don’t know the amazing, critical work and sacrifices that these women are making,” she said.

The books written by these authors are available for purchase here.