U.S. Coast Guard Reserves (Retired) Chief Operations Specialist, Retired with 30yrs, (17 Active)
From the Artist:
My military background includes 30 years with the U.S. Coast Guard and Coast Guard Reserves. I joined the Coast Guard the first year women were accepted on active duty in 1974 and was among the first military women assigned to a combat ship in 1977. I was recalled to active duty in 2001 following the tragedy of 9/11 and remained on active duty for 3 years. A few years later I found that I had qualified for the new GI Bill; this allowed me to complete my undergraduate degree in Fine Arts (BFA) from the University of New Mexico and begin my masters in Art Education. In November 2011, I received first place in printmaking at the New Mexico Veterans Art show held in Albuquerque.
My experience from 1974 until 2004 was varied and extensive. I was with the first group of women assigned to a combat ship, the USCGC Gallatin in 1977 and the first woman in the Coast Guard to attend Radioman C7 school and the first enlisted woman assigned to the Coast Guard Radio station in Guam in 1975. I served in both deployable, support and headquarter commands.
As an artist I have explored many techniques and mediums including numerous drawing techniques, oil painting, ceramics, and printmaking. As a veteran I have begun incorporating issues that are personal not only to myself but to the world at large. My current work is about my own sense of loss both physical and emotional as well as the forces in life that pull not only myself but also many women, forcing us to do what society expects of us-- not necessarily what we want to do, accomplish in life or even follow a dream, especially if those dreams interfere with what the men in our lives expect or allow us to pursue. Even after 40 years since civil rights and women’s liberation, women are still not fully accepted as equal. We are relegated to the back of the room. We work twice as hard as our male counterparts and are still only considered half as good. Inequality and fractured and lost identity resonates within me and the illustration of these things are not only raw and exposing, but also healing, allowing me to give hope to all women struggling to achieve equality and find themselves once again.