Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center
Vietnam Veteran Finds Her Niche While Serving
Today, Service Women are filling most of the same positions as Service Men since Congress lifted the ban on women serving in front-line combat roles. For years, however, Service Women have served in combat-related roles such as medical personnel, combat camera, aircrew and pilots, truck drivers and mechanics, not to mention other support roles associated with combat operations.
Rosa Lee Miller is a Vietnam era, Air Force Veteran who discovered a new skill that changed her perspective on the war. After basic training at Lackland Air Force Base (AFB), Texas, she trained as a Medical Helper at Gunther AFB, Alabama. While waiting for her orders after graduation, the Sergeant’s Administrative Assistant fell ill and she volunteered to fill in. She found out she could type at an amazing speed-90 correct words per minute (CWPM) on a manual typewriter, which led her down an unexpected career path.
After arriving at the 1501 Aerial Port Squadron, Travis AFB, California, as the first female attached to this group, she worked for the Colonel in Command at the terminal. Miller typed and sent hundreds of telegrams each day, directing military personnel to report to the airport for their flights to Travis AFB. They would fly to Travis before heading to Vietnam.
“It was rewarding and sad at the same time, because I knew that a lot of these young men, same age as me, some older, would never return to U.S. soil again,” Miller said.
She was later moved from the terminal to an office building and began communicating via teletype with overseas commands and other groups for the Colonel.
Miller is now a Program Assistant for the Chief of Neurology Service at Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center. She actively participates in the coordination and management of administrative and clinical efforts within Neurology and its eight sub-section specialty clinics.
Veterans like Miller have paved the way for other Service Women, providing a strong will to succeed and tireless efforts to grow.
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, women make up nearly 10 percent of the Veteran population for the state of South Carolina. Currently women account for more than 27 percent of the total Veteran population, compared to 23 percent during the first Gulf War, nearly 13 percent during Vietnam, and five percent or less between World War II and the Korean War.
For more information about Veteran population and demographics visit, www.womenshealth.va.gov.