Women veterans tell their stories of service in today’s military

COLUMBUS – A panel of women veterans who served during World War II to Operation Desert

Storm and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will tell their stories in a panel discussion sponsored by the Ohio Department of Veterans Services in honor of Women’s History Month. The panel will be held Wednesday, March 16, at 11 a.m. in the auditorium, of the Ohio History Connection.

Women today make up over 15 percent of America’s military. Over 67,542 women veterans of all eras reside in Ohio. They have served with distinction in every war in a variety of capacities, mainly support or medical roles, and became casualties or prisoners of war.

Beginning in the 80’s, military specialties previously closed to women were opened that put them much closer to direct combat, and their roles expanded during the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Today, women serve as pilots and in combat support units that have led to them being directly engaged in the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. This involvement has led recently to the opening of all military occupations and positions to women.

The panelists are veterans of World War II to the current wars. The discussion will center on what motivated them to join the military, their experiences in training and in war, and their views on women in direct combat roles.

Eight distinguished women will serve on the panel:

Dorothy “Dottie” Alice Dimmick Windau from Sandusky, Ohio. Mrs. Windau was born on September 29, 1922 in Milford, New Jersey. She enlisted in the Navy in July 1944 and was discharged in January 1948. Mrs. Windau went for basic training at Hunter College in New York City. She received her advanced training in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Mrs. Windau was a Yeoman 1st Class and her Duty was Com Air Lant in Norfolk, Virginia. She worked for the Commander of Atlantic Fleet Air Corps. While she was in the Navy, she met her husband, Paul Windau. Her Commander Admiral Cagle actually gave her away at their wedding and her and her husband named one of their children after him. Mrs. Windau was discharged from the Naval Operating Base in Norfolk, Virginia.

Mary Margaret Midos from Sandusky, Ohio. Mrs. Midos enlisted in the Navy-(Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Services) on July 29, 1943 and was discharge on December 5, 1945. Ms. Middos went to basic training at Hunter College in New York City and worked in Communications in Washington D.C.

Claudia Foss from Hebron, Ohio. Mrs. Foss was commissioned through the ROTC at the University of New Hampshire on May, 1988. Her career began as a Visual Information Officer with the Air Force Television Center in the Pentagon. Claudia deployed with the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad as part of the strategic communication campaign team in November of 2003. In 2007, she deployed for a year to Kabul, Afghanistan as the Spokesperson and Chief of Public Affairs for the Commander of the 40 NATO, International Security Assistance Force nations. Mrs. Foss retired in February 2009 with 20 years of service.

Major Angela Bailey from Zanesville, Ohio. Major Bailey enlisted in the Ohio Army National Guard in 1990 and completed her basic training at Ft. Dix, New Jersey. She was assigned to Ft. Gordon, Georgia for her advanced training as a Signal Specialist. Major Bailey was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Signal Corps on January 8, 2001. She deployed in June of 2011 for one year to Afghanistan as the Company Commander for the 1484th Transportation Company. Major Bailey currently serves as the Education Service Officer for the Ohio National Guard at Joint Force Headquarters in Columbus.

Major Nicole Ashcroft from Dublin, Ohio. Major Ashcroft enlisted in the Ohio Air National Guard in 1997. After completing her basic training, she was assigned to Maxwell AFB in Alabama to begin her training as a Chaplain Assistant. She was commissioned in 2005 and attended the USAF Academy of Military Science at McGhee Tyson ANGB in Tennessee. After completing her Public Affairs Officer Qualification Course at The Defense Information School in Fort Meade, Maryland, Major Ashcroft deployed from 2010 to 2011 to Afghanistan. She was hand selected by Department of Defense leadership for this deployment to serve as Command Public Affairs Officer for the Afghanistan Police Training Mission. Major Ashcroft currently serves as the Director of Public Affairs for the Ohio National Guard at Joint Force Headquarters in Columbus.

Sergeant First Class Kellie King-Keciuch from Canton, Ohio. Sergeant King-Keciuch enlisted in the United States Army in 1996. After completing her basic training, she was assigned to Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland to train as a mechanic. Her first duty station was Ft. Hood, Texas. After serving 3 years on active duty, SFC Feciush enlisted into the Ohio National Guard in 2000. She deployed to Afghanistan in 2003, working as a diesel mechanic and provided maintenance during convoy operation missions. She also served in Iraq in 2008 and 2009 as an Executive Assistant to a Brigade Colonel. She is currently serving in the Ohio Army National Guard at Joint Force Headquarters in Columbus.

Sergeant First Class Shannon Riddick from Wooster, Ohio. Sergeant Riddick enlisted in the Ohio Army National Guard in 1997 and after completing her basic, she trained as a motor transport operator at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri. She became Active Guard Reserve in 2000 and served in the 191st Dump Truck Company. SFC Riddick was deployed to Iraq with Charlie Company, 216th Engineer Battalion as their Supply Sergeant from 2004-2005. She is currently serving as the Readiness NCO for the 1486th Transportation Company.

Mary Miller from Columbus, Ohio. Ms. Miller enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1985 and after completing her basic training at Ft. Dix, New Jersey she went to Ft. Jackson, South Carolina for her advance training as a Records Specialists. Ms. Miller deployed for Operation Desert Storm in August 1991 until April 1992 when her enlistment concluded. She currently serves as the Human Resource Director for the Ohio Department of Veterans Services.

The stories of these veterans will paint a picture of different types of wartime service during a time of frequent deployments for the military, as well as of the unique challenges faced by women in completing that service. The discussion will provide an informative and insightful look at the vital role played today by a group of veterans who have served with pride and honor.

Staff report