Oral History Archive

A Volunteer's Story
Memories—we all have them. But, are they worth preserving? Of course they are. Indeed, most of us have been capturing memories on film since we bought our first camera. Now, a trend is beginning to sweep the nation, taking the preservation of memories to another level—capturing memories with words that are recorded, written or both. Regardless of what you call it, using words to preserve memories gives us something that the photograph never can—it gives us details; and retired Air Force Reserve Col. Robin Grantham is one of dozens who volunteer to help capture and preserve the stories of America's female patriots.

To Wear WASP Wings
1,074 women. That’s the number of the first large group of women pilots—Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (WASP)—officially recognized as having flown in service of the United States military.

Too Young to Serve? Strong Love of Country Drove WAC to Enlist at 16
Dorothy-Mae (Hinson) Brandt enlisted in the Women's Army Corps, at age 16, during World War II, one of and estimated 100,000 underage veterans who served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.

Rites of Passage: Two Generations of the Eagle, Globe and Anchor
Earning the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor insignia is a rite of passage for every Marine, and Joyce (Hadley) Malone and Patricia D. Malone are proud to be among “The Few, The Proud” who have earned the privilege of wearing the US Marine Corps uniform.

At the Gates of West Point: The Story of Marene (Nyberg) Allsion and the 1st Class of Women at the USMA
In July 1976, 119 young women stood at the gates to the US Military Academy (USMA) at West Point, NY, to embark on a course that would change their lives, the academy and the Army, forever. Learn about the experiences of one of the young woman in the first co-educational class at West Point who found herself face to face with an institution, and its people, entrenched in nearly 175 years of an all-male tradition in the “Long Gray Line.”

What We Don’t Record, We Lose:
The Story of LTC Aida Nancy Sanchez, AMSC (Ret.)

In 1970, just two years after earning a master’s degree in physical therapy (PT), Aida Nancy Sanchez was sent to Vietnam. Then a major in the Army Medical Specialist Corps, she spent a year at the 95th Evacuation Hospital, Da Nang, Vietnam, where she established the first PT clinic. Through excerpts from her oral history, learn more about the service of now-retired LTC Sanchez, as well as how oral history donations are now being digitized at the Foundation.

National Society of The Colonial Dames of America
In 1985, the National Society of The Colonial Dames of America had the collective vision and foresight to begin documenting their own members' history of service in and with the US Armed Forces. Accepted by the Women's Memorial Foundation in October 1994, the collection, including photographs, military documents and newspaper clippings, was digitized, renovated and restored in 2005. Learn more about this exciting collection and read excerpts from some of the oral history interviews.

Oral Histories from Afghanistan: Operation Enduring Freedom
Recently the Foundation's Oral History Program was able to arrange interviews with servicewomen in Bagram, Afghanistan. Department of Defense photographs of other servicewomen who have served in Afghanistan offer an additional window on their environment and work.

MAJ Beatrice (Seelav) Stecher, USAF (Ret.)
Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC), 1942-43
Women's Army Corps (WAC), 1943-48
US Air Force Reserve, 1948-51

Ann Wood-Kelly
British Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA), World War II

Ernestine (Johnson) Thomas
Staff Sergeant
US Air Force, 1949-52

LTC Brenda Finnicum, USA NC (Ret.)
US Army Nurse Corps, 1978-82 and 1985-98
US Army Nurse Corps Reserve, 1983-85 and 1998-2000

Iva Good Voice Flute
Senior Airman
US Air Force, 1991-95