New museum exhibit spotlights women in the military
Dayton Daily News, Ohio March 20, 2022
(Tribune News Service) — The Miami Valley Veterans Museum is saluting women from across the area with a new exhibit, “Giving Voice to Women Who Have Served” that opened during Women’s History Month in March.
Two of those women — Carmen “Penny” Adams and Lt. Col. Terry Calvert — were featured in a program promoting the upcoming exhibit at the museum located just south of Troy off County Road 25A.
They were among 35 women who were interviewed in recent years by Vivian Blevins, an English professor at Edison State Community College in Piqua, and students. Short biographies of all of the featured women are included in the exhibit.
The exhibit also includes artifacts including uniforms, clothing pieces, recruiting posters, scrapbooks and collections created by women and their families to chronicle their military service.
For Adams, Vietnam was a long way from her hometown of Piqua.
She was studying medical technology at Ohio Dominican College with an internship at Mount Carmel Hospital, Columbus, when a woman Naval recruiter visited saying the Navy needed more people with laboratory knowledge.
She volunteered, reporting to the service on her 21st birthday, Adams recalled.
She worked at laboratories and blood centers at Bethesda Naval Center and San Diego before heading to Vietnam.
Her experience there included serving on a hospital ship that was a trauma center.
Despite at time harsh words from men unhappy with women in military roles, Adams said she worked with “a wonderful crew.”
After Vietnam, she returned to San Diego and went to work at its blood bank.
“I never regretted one day being in the military,” Adams said. “I am glad I was able to serve my country ... And, I hated the fact that I lost patients when I was in Vietnam but there was no way we could save everybody.”
Calvert, now a math professor at Edison State Community College, started flying at the Sidney Airport while she was in high school. She attended the University of Cincinnati and its aerospace engineering co-op program.
That program took her to the Navy test center in Maryland working with a team of Navy pilots and Marines. Their “amazing stories” inspired her to join the Navy.
At Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, “They are yelling at you the second you walk in the door,” she said. Of 11 women in an early officer candidate class that included females, eight finished, including Calvert.
“We took a lot of heat off the men when we were there. The drill instructors were constantly looking for infractions” Calvert said. “We knew if we messed up something not only would we be in trouble , but cause problems for all women coming behind us.”
She completed deployments in Greenland and New Mexico and later transitioned from the Navy to the Air Force through the Air National Guard. Her last stop was Wright-Patterson Air Force Base before retirement in 2006.
The women interviewed for the exhibit include: Penny Adams, Caroline Abernathy Auclair, Cassie Barlow, Mercedes Beasley, Kimberly Bowling, Terry Calvert, Sophia Carter, Caitlin Donnelly, Kimberly Donnelly, Melissa Fowler, Debra Gomez, Katorah Griffith, Alisa Grieshop, Deborah Henderson, Judy Johnson, Betty Jones, Melissa Lodhi , Selena Lloyd , Fern Metcalf , Keitha Meyer, Brandi Miles, Peg Morelli, Brandi Olberding, Charlene Holmes Plump, Katherine Shilling, Josephine Slyder, Alberta Smith, Ann Strieber, Brooke Thornton, Sharea Waddle, Michelle Walker, Tina Wead, Siverina Whalen, Janet Wolfenbarger, MacKenzie Woolery and Jo Wildman.
Some of these women have agreed to participate in a speakers’ bureau for the museum. Funds received by any of the speakers for their engagements will be donated for the museum which continues a fundraising campaign. More information on the speakers’ bureau is available from Ted Jones, museum president, at 567-204-1019. More information on the museum is available from its website at www.miamivalleyveteransmuseum.org. Museum hours are Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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