Veterans History Project Spotlights Military Moms with May Roundtable


Mothers have volunteered to serve in the military since the War of Independence, where they have held traditional roles as nurses, seamstresses or cooks and, since 2015, in designated frontline combat roles. Thursday, May 6 at 12 p.m. EST, The Library of Congress’s Veterans History Project (VHP) invites the public to a virtual panel titled “Motherhood and the Military” on the VHP’s Facebook page. Panelists and moderator will be available to answer questions and address comments in the comments section.

Women made up 16.5% of all active-duty personnel in 2018 and make up 10% of all military veterans, a percentage that is likely to increase rapidly over the next decade, Pentagon data shows. . Women veterans occupy many roles, including that of mothers, but their contributions have often gone unrecognized, experts say.

Ahead of Mother’s Day, the panel will explore the intersection of the role of mothers and their connection to the military through the personal experiences of four female veterans.

“These strong women, just like those who came before them, remind us that while motherhood itself can be a full-time job, some mothers choose to continue serving in the military. They juggle the trials of parenthood and the responsibility of sustaining operations, dealing with deployment and the uncertainty that can accompany it all, ”said Elizabeth Estabrooks, acting executive director of the US Department of Veterans Affairs, Center for Women Veterans, and panel moderator.

The discussion will include special presentations by Senators Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill, and Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, both of whom are military veterans and mothers and serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee. Duckworth, a veteran of the Iraq War, is the first female double amputee to serve in the Senate, while Ernst was the first female combat veteran to serve in this chamber.

“The dual role of mother and soldier is not uncommon, but too often the story of service, sacrifice and impact on individual families is unknown,” said Duckworth, who made history. in 2018 when she took her newborn baby to a Senate vote. , just a few weeks after childbirth.

For her part, Ernst, a former company commander in Kuwait and Iraq, said it was not easy for her to leave her little girl for deployments “halfway around the world”.

“This experience has left me with deep appreciation for the sacrifice our military families make, especially our mothers in uniform,” said Ernst, the first woman to represent Iowa in Congress.

The panel will feature mothers from different military branches who have served our country through various generations and armed conflicts. They will discuss the trials of parenthood and meeting operational obligations, the heartache of deployments and separations and the uncertainty that comes with military service.

Program panelists include:

  • Chief Warrant Officer 5 Candy Martin (US Army, retired) – Martin served 38 years in the US Army Reserves, including a deployment to Iraq in 2005. His son, Lt. Tom Martin, was killed in fight two years later. She remains very active in the veteran community and with American Gold Star Mothers, Inc.
  • Command Sgt. Major Rue Mayweather (US Army, Retired) – Mayweather served 30 years in the US Army. She and her son, Captain Kenieth Mayweather, both deployed to Iraq in 2014 in support of Operation New Dawn.
  • Rupa Dainer (US Navy Veteran) – Dainer remembers having “50,000 emotions” when she learned of her deployment to Afghanistan in the parking lot of her daughters daycare in 2010. The naval medic going to war has helped her daughters, only 4 and 2 years old. years back then, go through the rollout with videos she made before she left, photos, and a timeline to track the days.
  • Mary Dever (US Air Force Veteran) – Dever has served as a broadcast journalist with the Air Force in Iraq and Afghanistan. She later became an instructor for the last three of her 10 years of service. When she got pregnant, she fought for her extended maternity leave and relied on an online support group for moms in uniform. Not wanting to leave his son for a new deployment, Dever left the military and began working with disabled American veterans.

Congress established the Veterans History Project in 2000 to collect, preserve and make accessible first-hand memories of United States veterans of World War I through the more recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, so that future generations can hear firsthand from veterans and better understand the realities of military service. For more information, visit or call the toll-free message line at (888) 371-5848. Subscribe to the VHP RSS to receive periodic updates of VHP news. Follow VHP on Facebook @vetshistoryproject.

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