Your Story Matters

Veterans Day 2021 – and Every Day

On Veterans Day we thank our veterans for their service and sacrifice. We also recognize that on this day – and every day – the stories and images of our women veterans are often overlooked.

We are working to change that. We asked our amazing Women Vets on Point community to share their story by answering this question:

“What does your service and being a female veteran mean to you?”

Scroll down to share your own note of solidarity and gratitude.

Erika McInnis


Growing up I was always underestimated. I was told things like “you won’t amount to much.” “Don’t be outspoken, that’s not ladylike.” Even while in processing to the military to leave for basic, I was told “you won’t make it through.” Being a female veteran empowers me. Being a female veteran gave me the voice I never thought I had. Being a female veteran gave me the courage to be the change I want to see.

Rocio Palmero


Being a female Veteran means that I did something out of honor and an answer to a calling as opposed to being something that I was obligated to do. I set the example of what is possible as a woman of color, not just to little girls but to all who want to know what a servicemember looks like. I am so grateful for the opportunities that this country has given me, so much that I was willing to give my life. “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” — John 15:13

Jodi Johnson


My service made me proud to be able to serve my country and it gave me a sense of accomplishment. Being a veteran, I get to share my time with others, in hoping to encourage them to give back to their country. Also it gives me a sense of family when I can help another veteran in some way.

Erika Durdle

Air Force

Serving your country as a woman is hard. The fratricide of sexual violence is always a threat; it takes many of us as victims. Some say our presence makes the military weaker, to others we are invisible. But I have found that the grittiest, most resolute group of veterans are female veterans, and for that, I’m proud to be one of them.

Alexandra Sheehey-Hampton


I am proud to be a female Army veteran and to have completed one tour of duty in Iraq. Women contribute a lot to the military. While in Iraq I taught logistics management by building a rapport with the local population. We are sometimes naturally disarming, but also empowered at the same time. Being a female veteran gives me a unique perspective and ability to help other female Veterans while now working as a social worker.

Gayle Ocheltree


It was the combined mission with Americans that taught me that leadership was my lifelong duty. During Army Airborne jump school at Ft Benning in 1977 I became obligated in my leadership role. I learned the survival is all about attitude and to model survival attitude to others in my life. As a LACC American Legion VSO I witness Women Veterans with great strength of character every single day. Many people say, ``Ya know I always wanted to be in the military.`` Well, we were and we share this special life experience together. HUA!

Cristina Barraza


I am grateful I had the opportunity to serve my Country. I am a proud Latina Woman Veteran who retired from combined service in the US Army and CA Army National Guard, AGR program. Always uplifting and empowering our women currently serving AD, as moms, daughters, wives, and friends.

Caroline Menjivar


I feel very proud to be a veteran, a female Marine Corps veteran. They call Marines ``The Few, The Proud`` and as a female Marine I consider myself part of ``The Fewer, The Prouder``. It has molded me into the strong, disciplined, a determined leader I am today. I am currently running for political office and when introducing myself I always lead with... I am a Marine Corps Veteran.

Kaleena Bettis


I have been asked to explain what being a female veteran means....I would say it means that I’m a part of a group of other women who matter, I’m an educated black woman, I am a mother and I am veteran and they all come together for me beautifully. It adds to my shine to the love I have for myself and my worth, it’s hard club to get into and very few are in it and few understand. But when I see another female veteran we nod to each other because we know what it’s like to be us lol. My service was another chapter in my life that made me see the world in a different way, I was able to make friends with people who I would have never spoken to.

Lisa Foster


Being a woman who served means working 10x harder to be recognized as a veteran. Even our male counterparts tend to discredit the importance of our service. Being a veteran is my livelihood and I would love for women to be recognized for our contributions just as much as men are. Happy Veterans day Ladies!! Thank you for your service!

Shevonda Burkhart


I am a proud U.S. Navy Veteran (E-5). While in the service I had the privilege of serving and protecting our country. I am honored in being a woman veteran. Being a woman veteran has allowed me be proficient in both my personal and professional development which still applies to my life today and has empowered me to be a leader and a great example of good conduct for others which includes women.

Tanisha Slaughter


My service in the United States Navy and being a female Veteran means that I exemplify true honor, commitment and courage.

Krishna Flores


I see my service in the Marine Corps and in-combat as a testament to the level of commitment I offer. A testament of my warrior spirit, determination to prove against all odds and embrace adversity. And have the privilege to carry the torch once held by trailblazers such as Mary McCauley, Cathy Williams, Debora Sampson, Grace Murray Hopper, Harriet Tubman. Being a woman veteran means that I remember and recognize all those who came before me and that ``I (we) stand on the shoulders of giants`` (Bernard of Chartres) so, act accordingly; and to ``Fight for the things you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.`` (Ruth Bader Ginsburg)