Women in the military

Rita Abeytia Brock-Perini


By Ben Wermund

As a captain in the U.S. Air Force Nursing Corps, Rita Brock-Perini provided care to thousands of soldiers, as well as guidance to hundreds of nurses in the largest Air Force hospital in the United States during the bloodiest years of the Vietnam War.

Some of the soldiers, who were often drafted right out of high school, had suffered severe physical and psychological wounds. Caring for them took a toll on the younger nurses at the hospital, Brock-Perini recalled.

Betty Muñoz Medina


By Brian Goodman

During World War II, commissioned military officers would receive deployment orders by telegram, often believing they’d been called up for duty by their senator.

Little did they know that the assignments were actually issued at random by people like Betty Muñoz Medina, who got an entry-level job at the War Department (now the Department of the Army) when she was 20.

"I was filing 3- by 5-inch cards all day long," Muñoz Medina said.

Elsie Schaffer Martinez


By Kimberly Wied

Elsie Martinez saw a lot of World War II, but she never left the country and can't talk about it.

"The things we saw, and the people that came back, it was horrible," said Martinez, recalling her work in a high-security photo lab that processed aerial photos taken by Army reconnaissance.

Maria Sally Salazar


By Therese Glenn

When Maria Sally Salazar illegally enlisted into the Army, she dreamed of traveling the world. She didn’t imagine, however, that her service would lead to six months in the hospital recovering from multiple illnesses and watching the end of World War II from bed.

"The war in '41 woke us up," Salazar said. "Everyone was talking about it. Everyone wanted to go."

Concepción Alvarado Escobedo


By Sandra Freyberg

Growing up as the oldest of six girls, Concepción Alvarado Escobedo learned early what it means to take responsibility. Even when she was hardly more than a toddler she helped her mother take care of her younger sisters. Later, she washed diapers, first boiling the clothes and then scrubbing them on a washboard.

Carmen Romero Phillips


By Rachel Howell

In late December, 1943, the United States had been fighting in World War II for more than two years, but for one Tucson nurse, the war was a brand new experience: that's when Carmen Romero, now Phillips, joined the Army.

Recruiters visiting St. Mary's Hospital School of Nursing College in Tucson, where Phillips was attending school, were looking for nurses.

"They asked if we would be interested in joining the military, so I said yes and they signed me up," Phillips said.

Beatrice Amado Kissinger


By Amanda Traphagan

World War II gave Beatrice Amado Kissinger a ticket out of her small-town life in southern Arizona and into the big city adventure of serving as a Navy nurse in San Francisco.

When the United States entered the war, Kissinger was a nursing student at a Catholic school -- and tired of the discipline.

Anna Torres Vazquez


By Callie Jenschke

Unlike many other Latino World War II veterans who often found themselves in a minority during their military service, Roberto Vazquez says he seldom felt the brunt of discrimination as a soldier in his division, where he was one of 7,000 Hispanics fighting shoulder to shoulder against the German army.

Felicitas Joyce Cerda Flores


By Kendra Mayer

Education is said to open the door to opportunity, and Felicitas Flores, who has led an exceptional life, all the while using education as her key to success, knows this well.