The November monthly meeting of American Association of University happened to be Veterans Day, so it was most appropriate that guest speakers were two women who served in the U.S. Army between 1975 and 1985. Nancy Piercy, who lives in Tehachapi, was joined by Donelle Evans, who lives in Portland, Ore. This long-distance meeting was possible because AAUW is meeting on Zoom while COVID restrictions are in effect.

Both women joined the Army at an early age. Piercy was 20 years old and wanted to live overseas and see the sights and needed an income to do this. For two years she was stationed in Mountain Home, Idaho, where she completed basic training. Then she was sent to Athens, Greece, where she was involved with Base Operations where she held a responsible position. She was also able to explore the area, see Greek ruins and learn about that country. She claimed it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Evans was just 17, having graduated early from high school. Her mother was a civil employee on an Army base and encouraged her daughter to join. Evans longed to travel and see the world, so she signed up and served for 10 years. She recalled how frightened she was when she set off all alone, but she met supportive friends and appreciated the Army experience.

Both women used the GI Bill to earn college degrees. Piercy became a teacher and Evans worked in Silicon Valley. They said being in the Army taught them a lot about themselves. They realized how young the United States is compared to other countries. They learned to be very proud of this country.

When asked about problems of sexual harassment, both women said they got used to it. However, times have changed, and today such harassment would not be tolerated. Both women said they met wonderful people in the Army and received many benefits from the experience.

AAUW is California’s most active and diverse organization for women offering action for equity, personal and professional growth, community leadership, and friendship. Membership in AAUW is open to both men and women with a two-year or higher college degree. Call 972-6508 to join.

Phyllis Belcher is a member of the club.

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