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The Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project

Oral history interview with Scottie Hudson, 2008

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Object ID: WV0339.5.001

Description: Primarily describes Hudson's childhood, education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and twenty-seven year career in the United States Navy and Naval Reserve.

Summary:

Hudson describes her childhood in Alamance County, North Carolina; her athletic activities; and her education at the Woman’s College of North Carolina, including her favorite professors and the school becoming co-ed during college, and changes on campus when she came back to get a master's degree.

Hudson primarily discusses her career in the navy as a line officer, including her decision to join, her first assignment as a communications watch officer in Norfolk, serving as a women's representative, the details of her daily duties in naval communication and administration, her choice assignments to San Diego and Hawaii, and her work with the Quadrennial Review of Military Compensation.

Other topics related to her career in the navy include the changes instituted by Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, the treatment female officers in the navy, her thoughts on the role of women in the military, and her views on the Iraq War.

Other subjects include Hudson’s lifelong participation in both civilian and military athletics and her post-retirement life.

Creator:

Biographical Info:

Collection: Agnes 'Scottie' Hudson Papers

Rights: It is responsibility of the user to follow the copyright law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). Materials are not to be reproduced in published works without written consent, and any use should credit Jackson Library, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Full Text:

Therese Strohmer:

This is Therese Strohmer; it's Friday, March 28th, 2008. I'm in Fort Mill, South Carolina. This is an oral history interview for the Women's Veteran Historical Project at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro [UNCG]. All right Scottie, go ahead and say your name the way you'd like your collection to be.

Scottie Hudson:

Scottie Hudson.

TS:

Okay, would you like it “A. Scottie Hudson” or just “Scottie Hudson” for your collection?

SH:

My first name does start with an 'A' and I sent something else in and I used the 'A'.

TS:

Is that the way you want it? We could change it. It's your choice; it's your collection.

SH:

Scottie Hudson would be fine.

TS:

Okay, we'll do it that way then.

SH:

It might confuse somebody.

TS:

Well, Scottie, why don't we start out by you telling me a little about when and where you were born, where you grew up.

SH:

In Alamance County, North Carolina. My folks started out in the Brookwood section of Burlington. When I was only two or three we moved to Hawfields [outside Mebane, North Carolina] for three or four years—I was in, through the first grade. Then we built, my father and mother built a house in Graham and we stayed there for twenty-seven years. So that's mainly where we grew up, in Graham, North Carolina.

I have an older brother, two years older than myself, and a younger brother, six years younger than myself. So Graham is where we grew up, through elementary and high school. We didn't have a junior high then. The eighth grade was over at the high school; we thought we were something. They built the—after we moved there, they built the high school just right up the road from us. So, we walked back and forth and had no problem—never needed a car because it was right there. You know, basketball practice or whatever, it was just a short little walk.

TS:

What did your parents do while you were growing up?

SH:

My father worked most of his working life [at] Melville Dairy; that's over in Burlington. So that was his main work. And then mother—she was mainly a housewife. But she would list taxes every year, and she taught bridge. So she just kicked in and did different things to help out; not a steady—she had a good variety. So my father worked in Melville Dairy.

When he retired and got older, my father's mother lived in Raleigh on Hillsborough Street. So my grandmother—and she wanted them to come and live with her and kind of take care of her in her old age. They were both willing to do that, and so their last several years they lived on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh. And so when I came back from wherever I was, I would go to Raleigh for those last several years. And then, after my father died—while they were in Raleigh—my mother moved near where my older brother and his wife lived in the Sylva area [near] Dillsboro [North Carolina], Sylva. And she lived there until she died.

TS:

What was it like for you growing up in Graham? What kind of things did you do for fun?

SH:

Well, it was really great because in our neighborhood—we had great big old yard, and I was outside—and I remember even when we were in Hawfields, before I went to school there, there was a big pond across the road and we just dug up worms there. We were out in the country. And my mother, I thought “My mother really likes to fish,” I guess because we had to cross two roads—you know, with the dirt road. So we'd go down there fishing all the time. So we got used to the outside. Hawfields is full of vines and caves and playing outside, so we had lots of area.

We had a good neighborhood [in Graham], because there was, down at the McElroys was a basketball goal. And so that's—grew up playing basketball there. I didn't have it to myself; I'd look and say “nobody's there,” but other people would play too. [I] just loved to play there outside—horseshoes in the yard, or whatever. I hit tennis balls against the side of the house. Whatever was going on: marbles, but mostly outside. Rainy days I'd get book fourteen of the encyclopedia because it had all the magic tricks and all the fun stuff. We wore out book fourteen. [laugh] I still remember that. Book fourteen of the encyclopedia was our indoor activity.

TS:

I understand that about being inside for that. [discussion of bird outside] So, would you say you had an enjoyable childhood?

SH:

Yes. Wonderful childhood. And we had the neighbors, but they were mostly boys. But there was one—let's see—one family down there. She did the social stuff. We had a great big field, so over there we played baseball—not softball—baseball, football, whatever in the big open field. We had enough people in the neighborhood that we always had a game going. So that was my main thing, playing something or doing something outside as much as I could.

TS:

Was this a rural area?

SH:

Well, no compared to Hawfields, which was way out in the country—that was rural. And Graham, compared to where we've been we didn't think so because there were several houses around and the high school brought in others into the city. The big city of little Graham, which is about twenty miles from Greensboro.

TS:

So when you went to school—where did you go to elementary school? You said—

SH:

Graham Elementary [School]. And my father would take us to school in the morning and we'd walk home; it was about a mile and a half. But we'd walk through town. We'd get a vanilla Coke, or whatever it was—that was the big thing. Now they have them in stores now, don't they? But I remember then, we thought we were doing something.

TS:

The fountain, right.

SH:

Right, so we'd walk the half a mile to town, probably get something to drink there, then walk the mile home. We used to cut through the cemetery, it was shorter sometimes. [laughter] And then, for the high school—I never did ride—the only bus I ever rode was in the first grade out in Hawfields. That's the only bus, first grade. So, otherwise I'd ride to and walk back.

TS:

So, how was high school? What was the name of the high school?

SH:

Graham High School.

TS:

Graham High School. And did you have a favorite subject or teacher or anything like that?

SH:

Well, the main activity in high school was—they did have—was the basketball team. They had basketball for women. We turned out, we had a really good team. Jeanne Swanner, she was about six [foot] two. She had the inside and I had the outside. We didn't lose many games.

TS:

Why don't you describe how basketball was played for women at this time. It's a little different than today?

SH:

All right. The way we played then is how I'd like to play now [chuckles]. It was three on the side, three forwards and three guards. And we only had two dribbles. By senior year I think we got another dribble added. But it was good—I could cover half the court in two dribbles. But that was—we just had three on the side.

And then in Greensboro, UNCG, they had just started basketball for women, and we played about four games a year. And it wasn't—in college is when they added the rover, in the sixties, early sixties they added the rover. I was out of school before they went to the five-player. I played it later, recreation leagues all the way through later. But yeah, we were three on a side.

TS:

When you say three on a side you mean?

SH:

Three guards, three forwards, and you couldn't cross the line.

TS:

The middle line.

SH:

Right.

TS:

See, I think that's different from what a lot of people are used to.

SH:

And they had—if you had a jump ball, you had a jump ball. [laughs]

TS:

No arrow saying this side.

SH:

No, no. Here they have one jump ball at the beginning. We had all kinds of jump balls!

TS:

So basketball was a fun sport for you.

SH:

Very, very active—and that was through school. But in the summer, I played softball forever and ever—we had the leagues there. One time, went to—one team, I hadn't been playing with them regular, but they picked me up. We went to the Women's World Series in Omaha, Nebraska, so I got to go on that trip. But otherwise, I played mostly on church recreation leagues. And—said Graham High School was nearby. Next to the high school belonged to the parks and recreation. There was the swimming pool; the softball complex was there.

And so we didn't have—physical education was very, very limited. All the excitement we had was for the basketball practice and all that. Because the other, you go out and spend days when they really weren't organized and you really didn't get to do much. So that was—it was more like a recess then. But it was great because I'd go right up to the school and play years there for softball and I'll talk later about how in the navy and how sports evolved through there. Since that was a main interest.

TS:

Right. I'd like to hear a little bit more about that Women's World Series in Omaha. What year was that? And how did that—

SH:

Oh, I don't remember. It wasn't a team I'd played with all year. Steele was a team—well, no, they were just picking up a couple of players and I was in the recreation league. They said, “Okay, well, do you want to go on this trip?”

“Yes.”

I think it was by bus. I just went on a trip with them and I did play. I have a little bat from Omaha. That would have been—I was in college. I was in Greensboro '61 to '65. So it was probably about '62.

TS:

That's pretty neat.

SH:

So I got to go to—and so every time I see this stuff at Omaha, I thought—Rosenblatt Stadium—I say, “I've played [near] there.”

TS:

So when you were in high school, was there something—any particular subject that you liked or had an interest in?

SH:

I did like maybe math a little bit better than some of the others, but I liked all the subjects. I thought we had good teachers. I'm trying to think to compare to it; I thought we had good teachers and enjoyed it. We had a study hall in there, so I'd get all my work done then in study hall, so I didn't know what it was—College was a shock. I had to learn how to study all over again. [laughs] “Oh, I don't have a test until tomorrow?” Spend two hours a day outside. I kind of had to learn the hard way about that. But we got most of the work done at school. Practice after school for a couple hours or so.

TS:

Did you have an idea of what you wanted to do after high school while you were in high school?

SH:

Probably physical education because of the sports background. And I didn't know where I wanted to go to school. I had some—even though it was twenty miles from Greensboro, I didn't really know. I had a cousin who used to visit my grandfather; we'd go over there and visit. He was from Hickory [North Carolina]; he and his wife were from Hickory. So I thought I wanted to go to Hickory to go to [college]. [chuckles]

And one of my classmates, Letty Herbert—and her mother just recently died—but I remember Letty Herbert's mother talked to me about going to Greensboro. She said, “If you're thinking about physical education—.” So she had to tell me about [UNCG]. That's how little we knew, or I knew, about college.

My older brother went to State, North Carolina State [University]. And so it was time for me to go, and so she explained Greensboro to me. And I had already—I had never visited—twenty miles away. Applied, was accepted—it was the only one I applied to—and was accepted there. I went to the campus after I was already accepted and walked through it. In the early days, a lot of people would bring their dogs to school; they couldn't do that a few years later. But they did, and I thought “What's that? A big old dog.”

TS:

A dog? Okay. [Laughter]

SH:

Rory. It was Dr. Ulrich's dog. So I said the first person I ever met was Rory.

TS:

And that was the dog's name?

SH:

Yes. So I just walked through that summer before I was going in the fall. And two other classmates from Graham were also going to WC. It was WC until—when I went there it was Woman's College, and they changed the name our junior year. And so senior year—I went to Woman's College and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. It was all within four years. [chuckles]

TS:

So you talked a little bit about how it was different for you in college than it had been in high school?

SH:

Yeah, I had to learn how to study. Learned that I did need to study, even though I [didn't have] a test until way down the road. [laughs] And so I had to kind of develop study habits as I went along.

TS:

What year did you start at the Woman's College?

SH:

It would have been '61—1961. Graduated in '65.

TS:

So during that period John F. Kennedy was president. Do you remember—?

SH:

I remember exactly, I remember—I think it was '63. But I remember that day. I remember that I was on the way to take a test, a math test. And we had just gotten—heard over the radio that he had been shot and he had died. Or that he'd been shot, I don't know if we knew that [he had died] until later. But I remember that day, going over to take a test. So I still remember that day. It was in '63.

TS:

What'd you think?

SH:

Well, it was just sad and shocking, because he was very popular. And so it was a bad day.

TS:

Do you remember if they cancelled classes or anything like that?

SH:

It was in the afternoon that I was going over, so I don't remember that they did. Because most of the classes were already—since it was afternoon, as I remember, when I got the word—that most people had already been to their classes. I don't remember after that what kind of ceremony or special things, I don't remember—but I do remember that day.

TS:

Now, when you were at the Woman's College, what was your housing? Did you live on campus?

SH:

Lived on campus.

TS:

How was that?

SH:

We thought it—I never thought I had an option. I mean, you just lived on campus, I did. It never occurred to me not to. It was—it was interesting. We had a good time. I had people to chat with and do things with. And as far as a Guilford [Residence Hall] freshmen year—I think came back to Guilford with some friends junior year. One year it was Mendenhall. I think—I don't remember senior year; it might have been Weil. It wasn't Winfield, because all the PE [Physical Education] majors—I mean, even though I was one—they were all in Winfield. [I said] “I'm not going in there!” Even though I was one too.

TS:

Why not? Why didn't you want to go in there?

SH:

I was just [unclear] [laughter]. It was like the counterculture within, not too mainstream anyway.

TS:

Now these are halls we're talking about—Guilford Hall?

SH:

Yes.

TS:

Where you stayed. So what was that experience like, having to live on campus after you had been at home while you were growing up and then having to live in the dorms and things like that?

SH:

It was a good experience as long as you had—I think I had good roommates all the way through, and you were more attuned to within your room and your roommates.

But there were lots of things to do. It was a strange time at Woman's College, because the rules—they were worse and it made the navy easy, because you couldn't go across campus in shorts. You had to wear a raincoat. The only time you wore a gym suit was if you were going to class. And it still seems like you still had to wear a raincoat—yeah, you could not go across campus. There were lots of rules. You had lights out, if you wanted to study, you go somewhere and hide with a little flashlight somewhere. But they had—very strict about lights out. But again it was a women's college, and curfew and they'd lock up. But they had lots of rules and regulations. Now, it made the navy not that bad. [laughter]

TS:

Did you vigorously follow all of these rules?

SH:

Yes. That's what you had to do if you wanted to stay in school, I guess, follow the rules. Yes, I was good about that.

TS:

I was wondering if you—with the raincoat, can you tell me what you mean about that? You had to wear a—

SH:

Everybody—you don't walk across campus in your shorts. If you were going to class [in shorts], you had to wear your raincoat. You did it, you just did that. Now it seems so strange, but you weren't just to wander out in anything. We wore dresses and skirts in those days, mostly, as I remember. Mostly skirts and blouses. This was before everybody wore pants.

TS:

Did you have a favorite teacher or professor?

SH:

I thought they were all wonderful, really great. There were some—one of the best, but they all were—Dr. Celeste Ulrich was there. I think she lives in Oregon now; later on, she went to be the dean at the University of Oregon. But she was there for most of her years, and she was—I've got some of her books now—great speeches and presentations, and she would come to the class—we were all a little bit afraid of her. But really, we knew she was really respected, really smart. They were all very smart. But she was kind of—we had to sit up straight for her. And then everyone else, too. Some were varying levels of friendly, but I thought they were all just kind of special.

TS:

Did you have any sense—were you continuing with your physical education, then? Was that what your major was?

SH:

Right, and they were combined. Then it was health and physical education. And when I was teaching—I taught junior high school after that—I taught health a couple days a week in the classroom and physical education the other days. So I don't remember down the line when everything not only became specialized, but specialized within and all that. We had had a combination health and physical education.

Then, there were only four or five main [professors], and they stayed there all through the years when I'd go back. It was mainly Dr. Ulrich, and then Dr. Rosemary McGee, Dr. Gail Hennis. Those were three that stayed there most of their working life. And then Miss. [Margaret Ann] Green. And who taught what? And teachers then would teach what we called activity classes, whether it was soccer or a game, and then they'd have the classroom specialty that they taught too, so they were teaching both.

TS:

So was your intention, when you got done with health and physical education, what was your goal?

SH:

Well, we had—I remember one of my favorite teachers there was Ellen Griffin. And they still have, until last year they've had the Ellen Griffin golf tournament. But she was probably the first person I talked to. She had our class—she was going to be our class advisor. And we had two choices when you came in: you either went into teacher education or recreation. I remember when I went in there and she said “Oh, okay, you're going to go teacher education.” [chuckles] And she did that. And we only had one or two-one person who went into recreation. I would probably have gone that route, but that's what we did; those were our choices. So that took care of that part. So we ended up with, most of us, teaching degrees.

TS:

So you would have rather done the recreation?

SH:

No.

TS:

Oh, okay.

SH:

Down the road, that may have, but not at the time. And I'm glad I did, I went the route I went. But we didn't have all the choices you have today. We got to make a lot of decisions. “Oh, this is what you're doing.”

“Oh, okay.”

And so, Ellen Griffin, she is best known for her golf, but I remember her for telling us stories in orientation every week. It was wonderful. She'd tell stories about Miss. Coleman of Coleman Gym. She was the well—known dean, Mary Channing Coleman. So she would tell stories because she had been—from early times in school, and we thought that was just a magic hour, the orientation and Ellen Griffin telling those stories to us.

TS:

It sounds like it. So when it became, in your junior year; you said it became UNCG? Did it become co-ed then?

SH:

Gradually.

TS:

Did you have any experience with that? Did you parents think anything about that?

SH:

No, but I came back to graduate school after my two tours of active duty. I came back to graduate school, and it was a whole different atmosphere there.

TS:

What year was it that you came back, approximately?

SH:

[Nineteen] seventy-one. Graduated in '73 from the master's program. I stayed a couple of years, took a lot of courses, and from there I went out to the University of Iowa to finish up the PhD program.

TS:

So then after you graduated from UNCG, what did you do after that?

SH:

Well now, I declared my senior year, talked to people there about the service. And I had been going with this old boy from Burlington for about two or three years, and I wasn't ready to settle down. I was the one—You know how guys run?—no, “I've got to go out there and have this adventure!” [chuckle]

But I went ahead and I decided senior year. I thought that was going to be my adventure to do that, because my mother had [four brothers—corrected by veteran] and two of them had been in the navy, and my [father's brothers]—because their service time was during the war, so they all did that—but I had a good image of relatives that had been in the service.

TS:

So how long had you had that in the back of your mind about doing that?

SH:

Just probably the last couple of years of school. And there were three that went—I didn't want to go—because the part of physical education I liked was the sports skills part of it—but there were three girls from our senior class who went with the army physical therapy program. And it was great; that didn't interest me at the time, but it was wonderful, because it paid for their physical therapy training in the military. But that was—I didn't want to go that route. But we had three that did, and that was a very, very smart decision for them to do that. But I did [later]. Three of us had our student teaching in Charlotte. So three of us, we did come to Charlotte. But after I taught junior high, I said, “Okay, I'm ready to go now.” [laughter]

TS:

So you taught—student teaching for a little bit?

SH:

We did student teaching—

TS:

After you graduated?

SH:

[During] our senior year. Three of us came to Charlotte, lived in Charlotte and did student teaching. Different schools. And three of us came [after graduation] and worked different times at different schools in Charlotte, so we had some buddies. But then, I'd already said I was going, I was ready to go. And so I did. The end of '66 was when I started [Officer Candidate School (OCS)] in Newport, Rhode Island.

TS:

So how did your parents take that decision?

SH:

I think it was fine. They were supportive. In other words, they didn't try to discourage me from doing that. My mother thought, “You know, I probably wish I had done something like that. You've got all your life to be settled down and do other things.” So I wasn't discouraged from doing that at all.

But the times were different then too. It wasn't a popular thing to do. You know, the last several years it's a popular thing. More applicants than they could accept in the services. But in the sixties, it wasn't a regular—everybody wasn't doing that. It wasn't just openly accepted.

TS:

So why did you want to do it?

SH:

For my adventure. And also to have the experience. I wanted the experiences—and the GI Bill, because I wanted to go on to school later, and with that, I could do that without having to borrow or rely on someone else. So, those were my reasons.

TS:

So do you remember when you went, did you go to a recruiting office, or how was it that you approached going into the OCS [Officer Candidate School] or into the [U.S.] Navy?

SH:

The induction office then was in Raleigh. And so I went to Raleigh, and we went through the paperwork and all that. I remember was highly recommended [priority status]—I don't know why, but I was. So Raleigh was the recruiting area. But something else besides relatives that I had a positive feeling about the service—but before that, I remember being on campus, I think it was the year before that—in Cuba.

TS:

The Cuban Missile Crisis?

SH:

Cuban Missile Crisis. And I remember being on the outside, just looking up at that clear blue sky and all that. And it was a scary time; we came very, very close to war then. So I remember thinking, “I'd rather be on the inside of the service than the outside.” I remember that thought too, the missile crisis.

TS:

So you could know what was going on?

SH:

I'd rather be associated with the military than just things happen. But I remember that time too. That was right before Kennedy got shot, maybe the next year.

TS:

Yeah. '62 was the crisis and '63 was—

SH:

Right. So I remember those two days in particular, associated with outside events.

TS:

Was Kennedy's speech at all, that he gave, his inaugural speech, did that have any influence?

SH:

No, I don't remember that at all. “Ask not what you can do—”

TS:

That one. It was more your sense of adventure. So you went to Raleigh, and you talked to the recruiter.

SH:

I had already decided.

TS:

Nobody had to talk you into it.

SH:

Well, I checked into the other services, and at the time—because I thought, “Well, the air force is nice,” but the other services were either three or four years. And at that time, the navy was only two. I said “I'm not sure I'm going to like this or not.” So that was two, and a little bit after that it became three. But when I went in, it was two. And I said “Oh, oh well, okay. If I don't like it, two sounds a lot better to me than three or four.” [chuckles] So I had looked at other services, too.

TS:

Did you know what you wanted to do?

SH:

Well, I didn't. You also have a choice there: you could be either a line officer or a supply [officer.] And so I went to general line. And as a line officer, you can be assigned to anything. And supply, you know what that would be. So that sounded better. And I think most women went in as a line. Except the opportunities for women in the military—most were assigned—you were either going to communications or administration. That's what it was until I was back in the reserves. But it wasn't until the seventies that they started opening everything and women were on ships and all that other stuff. But we were—pretty well knew those couple of areas. And that was fine; we didn't really question it. That's what it was. We didn't know anything different or think differently about it.

TS:

So you had mentioned a little bit earlier how, you know, women didn't really—it wasn't the thing for women to do. It was kind of a negative connotation of women going into the military. What did you think about that? Did you have any thoughts about that at the time, that people would—?

SH:

No, I'd done my research and I just made the decision that's what I wanted to do. And there were plenty of women in the military. I think until the seventies and eighties is when it was more, “Oh, I'm going to join.”

“Oh, okay.”

So I just decided that.

TS:

Well, tell about your first days in uniform. What can you tell me about that?

SH:

When we went to Newport—it was sixteen weeks. And for the first eight, we were officer candidate seamen apprentice. That was our status. And we—I think we had the uniform, but we didn't have anything on it. So we were pretty much restricted to the base there in Newport the first eight. And then we were commissioned halfway through, and we had our little ensign stripe on for the last eight weeks. So it was a unique experience.

And people—you can know people for your whole life, but you still remember all the folks from Newport, because it was so unique. You had to fix your bed [just so]—you had the demerit system. I loved all of it. And I had a WSI. I remember swimming—they just looked around the room and said; “Oh, you've got a WSI. You're going to help us teach swimming.” [I said], “Oh, okay.”

TS:

What does WSI stand for?

SH:

Water Safety Instructor. I got that at school, and they just look at your record and they're just going to tell you what you're going to do. “All right, okay, I will help you teach swimming.”

And also, at graduation we had pass and review. And I was one of the squad leaders.

TS:

So it's an environment that you enjoyed, sounds like.

SH:

It was—I enjoyed it. It was stressful and wonderful and all those things. I enjoyed the classes, you know, the military history. I enjoyed all the classes. We didn't know what we'd find—that demerit system, that kind of stressed us out a little bit. You had to get everything exactly right, do everything exactly right. Salute at the right time [laughs] and all of that stuff. So that was the only stressful part. Just remembering everything to do and to do it right. You look back on it as a wonderful time, but it was a combination of really great stuff and some stress, too. We were glad to graduate and go on from there.

TS:

Do you remember anything besides the learning the military protocol and infrastructure?

SH:

We had the history, we had the recognition of aircraft and ships and all that recognition. I forget all the different classes, but there were six or seven different areas. So that we got the history and the background and also the current, so we could go into any environment.

TS:

Did you have any physical training at all?

SH:

We had that too. We had a class in P.T. [Physical Therapy]. We had the swimming, marching. Oh, we got to march. But I enjoyed that. I had marching in college. I enjoyed that part.

TS:

You did or you didn't have that?

SH:

I did.

TS:

In college you had marching?

SH:

In physical education, that's [part of] one of the classes we had, marching. And I thought “Well, this is just fine.” So I didn't mind that; I liked it [laughs].

TS:

And so then when you graduated from Officer Candidate School, what was your first duty assignment after that?

SH:

Well, before—several of us, and I forget how many, ten or twenty—we stayed for communication school. My first assignment was going to be in a communication station, communications and administration, the main two. There were some other assignments, a few other areas. But several of us stayed, I think it was four weeks for communication school. So we got a background in all the processes, and how you communicate, and everything that happens within a radio station. Then I was assigned to Norfolk [Virginia] at the communication station.

TS:

Can you describe a little bit more in detail, in communications, what you actually would do?

SH:

Well, I was the communication watch officer. I had—there were four crews, because in communication, its twenty-four hours a day. One of my classmates, she was a secretary [at her] day job—a lot of people had day jobs—but for us, we had rotating shifts, and I was the communication watch officer, and had about twenty or thirty enlisted people. So I was in the hot seat. As the watch officer—there were four of us, four watches—they would have messages that came in that were for officers' eyes only. And you had to go in—you were the only one. For officer's eyes only. You had to go in and figure all the rotors and everything for the day and break down the message, because it was coded, and then make sure it was delivered to the right people. Very stressful. The last thing you want to hear. And they loved it—the crypto room. I remember Belk, he loved to go “Oh-e-oh!” And it's four o'clock in the morning and I've got to go [get a coded message].

So we had a shift called two-two-two and eighty, which looked good on paper but it about did me in, two-two-two and eighty. They found out later why that wasn't a real good thing to do. But we'd go in at ten o'clock at night. That would be our first shift, 10:00 to 6:00, 10:00 to 6:00. We would double-back the second day—6:00, back at 2:30, [then] 2:30 to 10:00, and then got off at 10:00 that second day and then double back to 6:00 a.m., and two days there. It sounded good, two-two-two and eighty. Oh, you're off for eighty hours. Well, you were so worn out by then. What they found out in later years is that its better to work one shift, whether it's the midnight shift for several weeks, to do that.

And you couldn't—it was hard to rest and be rested. And here you're coming back from a big trip, you had to go to work at ten that night. And you'd try to sleep, but you really can't. And so it was tough. It was interesting, but it was also tough for your body to get adjusted to it. But I thought “Oh, this would be really interesting,” because some of the time you're off is not always on a weekend, sometimes during the week. Well, if I want to take care of some stuff during the week and all that, so. But I've never appreciated day work as much for the rest of my life after doing that. It sounded good. I picked it—“Yeah, I wanted to do that.” Oh, boy, it's tough about 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning. And some of those watches.

TS:

Were you working with both men and women?

SH:

Right. Both men and women. There were some WAVES [Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service—U.S. Navy]—several enlisted women. Of course, the majority [was] men in the services.

TS:

You were an ensign at this time?

SH:

Yes.

TS:

So did you have authority over males as well? How did they react to you?

SH:

Yes. The reason that it all worked—and I didn't have that much. I had to sign-off on fitness reports [evaluations] and all that. But what made it work—I mean the navy is, in each area—over the radio room, the message room, the [relay] processing. Another area is called CAMS, there were two or three chiefs on each watch. So I had good relationships with them—with everybody, but they took care of the problems, the people in their division. They were the senior leaders. They took care of the problems, so I never felt like it was up to me individually to discipline any person. Unlike school, where you grade everybody. Or other, even work situations where you have to deal—is mainly go through the senior person in each one.

TS:

So the senior enlisted.

SH:

The senior enlisted really took care of their area and took care of most of the problems that came up. Anything I needed to know about it, I did. They would draft—I didn't have to write every fitness report [evaluation] for thirty people. They would draft out 90% of it for the people in their areas. And all I had to do was finish it up and add my opinion to it. And so it worked, because everybody had the chain of command—the chain of command worked.

TS:

Were most of the senior enlisted, were they mostly men or were there some women?

SH:

Yes.

TS:

As the chiefs?

SH:

The chiefs were men. I remember at another where there was a chief radioman, a lady; she wasn't in my watch. But there was a chief lady there. I remember I liked her a lot.

TS:

So they mostly took care of the enlisted problems then.

SH:

They did.

TS:

Did you remember any that came up to your level, that you might have had to deal with?

SH:

Not in particular. I just remember that that chain of command really worked well, and so I mainly had to deal with a lot of some of the outside telephone calls of people requesting different things. So I had to deal with some of the things that I had to deal with there.

TS:

Can you give an example of that?

SH:

Well, if someone's calling in requesting information or the CO[commanding officer] of the base calling in [asking]“How's things going?” Or if someone requested information, you had to be able to handle that and know. And have to—high security clearances for those jobs. You just had to know how to manage the information.

TS:

So you had to—

SH:

On a need-to-know basis.

TS:

Right, so you had a security clearance?

SH:

Oh, you had to have a security clearance for that.

TS:

Did you ever have to go out on a ship for training or other purposes?

SH:

I went on a—what they had then, before we were assigned—I remember I have a picture somewhere of the USS Northampton. What we'd do is we'd have one-day cruises you could just sign up for. And so I remember going out on the USS Northampton for a day and back in. So that was my shipboard experience. This was before women were assigned to ships.

TS:

Did you like it? Did you enjoy it, the day cruise?

SH:

I enjoyed my day.

TS:

Did they put you to work?

SH:

No, no, no. It was just—we were just invited. Sign up and go for the [cruise]. No, the crew did all the work. We were just guests on the [ship]. And civilians too, I believe; it was probably whoever wanted to sign up, for a day cruise like that. But it was the USS Northampton. I don't remember that it was just all military; military and civilians who could do that.

TS:

So what year was this that you were in Norfolk?

SH:

In Norfolk? It would be 1969. I mean, '67 through '69 in Norfolk.

TS:

So this is when the Vietnam War was?

SH:

Right. We were in Vietnam when I went in, I believe.

TS:

Do you remember anything about that time?

SH:

In general, I would rather—I was glad I was a part of [the military]. If we were in war, like I was saying before to you, I would rather be a part of it. The funny thing about it, it was pretty calm in the military in the late sixties, in the time I was in. But outside, everything was happening: all the protests on the campuses, and the sit-ins, and the shootings over the war. All that was happening outside. I remember when, three or four years later, when I went to grad school, grad school was all settled down. [unclear] And so all the changes were happening in the military after that. [chuckles]

TS:

So being on the inside looking out at what was going on in the civilian world, what were your thoughts at the time? Do you remember how you felt about it?

SH:

We were part of the community, because we lived off-base—did in Norfolk, lived off base. And [there were] a couple of people I knew from OCS and we'd go to parties, you know, always invited to stuff, so there was just partying. And I played ball. The only thing women could do in sports was, at the time, golf and tennis and bowling. And then on the outside in the community, I played on some basketball teams and softball teams in the community, for that part of it. And otherwise, we were just living in the community. So it was just like anybody else, about what's going on in the world. Because our job was pretty specific. We would go in the communications [building]—no windows allowed in communications. That was your job related to that. We probably knew a little bit more what was happening, because the messages were coming in. And you're seeing the messages, and I'm breaking the encoded messages that were being sent, probably that would go to the CO, some other places. So I knew a little more on the inside.

TS:

Related to what was happening in the war, you mean?

SH:

Right. But that was in the States, and Vietnam was out there. And there were a lot of—when we went through OCS, the nurses went through a separate program. Because they already had their degrees, they went through a separate program. And there were a lot of nurses assigned to Vietnam. Not too many line officers. There were a few of the more senior ones a little bit later, but it was mostly nurses assigned to Vietnam.

TS:

Did you have any desire to go to Vietnam?

SH:

No, I didn't. I didn't think about it one way or the other. Because we just weren't being sent there, and I think the people that did, or the ladies that did, really had to apply for it. They weren't just sent, they wanted to. So I didn't think about it one way or the other. Its just not where we were being sent, not where we were assigned.

TS:

Right, not that many women in the navy were actually in country, like you were describing.

SH:

There were some nurses, but we weren't being—no one from our class was assigned. We weren't being assigned there.

TS:

So did the protests that were happening have any effect on you?

SH:

I was glad I was in that, because it was scary out there! People were being shot and all the beatings and all that stuff at that time. I was happy where I was. Things were more orderly, taking care of business. No, it's scary on those campuses. And it was. Remember [the shootings at] Kent State [University]? And the war protests?

TS:

Right.

SH:

If you were in the military you basically supported it.

TS:

So the shootings at Kent State that was—was it '70, '71?

SH:

It might have been a little bit earlier. My second tour—I went to school in '71, so it could have been '70, '71.

TS:

Do you remember anything about that? Did it strike you as—?

SH:

Yeah. What in the world? These people are—

TS:

It looks like it was '70.

SH:

So that was [during] my second tour that all that was happening with the protests. We were supportive of the people we were sending to the war; we just did our job. I just thought it was dangerous on the campuses.

TS:

And where did you live while you were in Norfolk? You said off the base?

SH:

I lived—rented apartments. And I remember renting a place down at the beach too, a beach in Norfolk for part of that time. And I had roommates.

TS:

Was that pretty typical? Did they have housing available for you at Norfolk if you wanted it?

SH:

Well, they did have the BOQ, bachelors' officer quarters. They weren't that great, so we didn't take it. But on my second command, the BOQ was like new and modern, it was overlooking the water. It was great, so I—and the pool was there, and the mess hall, dining hall. So I didn't in Norfolk, but in San Diego—because it was better [located] than anything you'd find in the community, and a lot less expensive too. So, it was really nice in San Diego. In Norfolk, I lived off base.

TS:

You talked a little bit about being in the community and playing some sports. Did you play sports also in the military as well?

SH:

Well, yeah what they let us do.

TS:

Did you travel around at all? Was it like intramural?

SH:

No. It was a local softball team that played other teams there in Norfolk; Norfolk's a big city. I traveled on the weekend. Pretty good teams.

TS:

You played softball?

SH:

Softball. And then there was another recreation league, so I played basketball. Whatever was in season. Played my thing; I didn't care. I just did my thing. That wasn't all, but that's one of the [things that] kept me out of trouble probably. [chuckles] Staying active. And they had in Norfolk, they had a little nine-hole course there on the base and I remember doing that. They had a skeet shoot out over the water, and I did skeet shooting over there.

TS:

You were very active.

SH:

[unclear]. And there were always parties and things we were invited to, and went to a lot of them. [chuckles]

TS:

Is that where you picked up golf, in the service? Or had you played before?

SH:

No. I started playing golf actually in Greensboro, because they had the nine-hole course. And I'd played before that like in the—hadn't really played, but I'd been swinging the club in the yard, along with the tennis and everything else. So I could swing and putt for a long time, and then mainly started playing in the school in Greensboro, UNCG. Because all they did—we got a little green thing, a tag. We'd just go play with that, put that on our bag. Yeah, play anytime, and I did. We had a little putting green. So I played most of my golf in Greensboro, and still play today.

TS:

Yes, you do. I can see. The other recreational things—you said you went to some parties.

SH:

Oh, well. Yeah. You just partied all the time. [chuckles] And it was just gatherings, or people having things at their houses. A lot on base, parties through clubs and seasonal parties. It was a good life.

TS:

You had—because Norfolk had a lot of ships coming in there, didn't they?

SH:

Yes.

TS:

So did they have the foreign ships at all? Where you would meet any of the foreign officers or anything like that?

SH:

I didn't have direct contact with the comings and goings down at the piers. The communication station was [restricted]. My second job, after I was a communication watch officer for about a year, and those watches—it was like “What can I do for a day job?” It was called Registered Publications Custodian, so that was my day job. And people didn't want that, but I did. I wanted that, and I didn't have a lot of people I was responsible for.

So I loved that job, because I'd go out to the RPIO [Registered Publication Issuing Office] distribution center and I'd pick up keying material and kept the logs of everything, and made sure that was distributed to all those places, and another log of what was to be destroyed every month or whatever it was. You really had to get all this exactly right, 100% right. They would say, “If you mess up on this job, you go to Portsmouth [Virginia];” that's the naval prison. That wasn't really a joke, you really had to get it right. But I enjoyed that because of the destruction, and the incinerator was down at the piers. So I got to go down there and see all the ships. Get—store the keying material where it's supposed to be. So I thought it was good. I got to go out there; I didn't get to do any of that as a CWO, a watch officer. You were kind of in that building, that windowless building. So I enjoyed my day job, even though it was supposed to be really stressful. I enjoyed it. [laughter]

TS:

So you were at Norfolk from '67 to '69.

SH:

Right.

TS:

And so then, did you get orders to go somewhere else, or did you want to put in for something?

SH:

I augmented into the regular navy to go beyond that two years. I wasn't quite ready to get out, because I knew I had tough jobs in Norfolk. I knew anything else would be easier and better. My whole life—it was a tough job. I said “I'm never going to have a job with more stress, more responsibility.” That's probably about true. So I augmented into the regular navy. We had a detailer connection in Washington at that time. We could have our wish list of where we wanted to go. So I guess they figured after communications in Norfolk—so they sent me to San Diego at the administrative command in San Diego.

TS:

That was in '69?

SH:

That would have been in '69.

TS:

What was your job there?

SH:

Oh, it was mainly in charge of—one was, the first job was [Student Personnel Officer—corrected by veteran], and there were probably—I was officer-in-charge of about twenty or thirty, and it was a combination of civilian—a lot of women there were civilian women. You get into administrative [unclear] and sailors and men and women too, a combination of civilians. There were mainly—it was a recruit training command then, San Diego. There were three. At the time, there was recruiting training in Orlando, San Diego, and Great Lakes. So it was a big recruiting command. So I had recruits, which meant everyone that was processed through there and then where they were going next. So everybody had a stamp with my name. I know I've been stamped in a few thousand records. [chuckles] So that's how they did mostly the administrative processing of the recruits from school to their next assignment.

TS:

So you got out of communications?

SH:

Well, I was in administration, remember?

TS:

Right.

SH:

Communication and administration. I've done my communications, so now I was ready for my next assignment. It was administration. Those were the two things. No, I was ready. I was a line officer; I was ready for my other assignment.

TS:

Now how did you like San Diego?

SH:

I loved San Diego. Good weather all the time, always knew though, that everybody I knew was back east, but I enjoyed my time in San Diego. It was really good weather. The BOQ was beautiful, over the water next to the pool. Oh, I stayed there, and so did a lot of others. Made it easy to get over to my job. And San Diego, it was a pretty—I thought it was a pretty base. I enjoyed going out sometimes and watching all the recruits, you know, the marching and through all that.

So, they had two things; they had recruit training, and then my second job there was over in [separations—corrected by veteran.] They also had the schools—“A” school, “C” schools, and all that—so my second assignment there was just right across the hall. I think that was at the school's command. Again, as the men and women graduated from schools, and where they're going. And it's not that simple as “Oh you're here; your order is there,” because you had people in there every day, a lot of personnel to deal with and their problems, and getting everything worked out. So it was a busy, busy place.

TS:

A lot of flow[?] of people, I'm sure. A lot of flow.

SH:

Oh, a whole lot. They had problems, but again, most of them were taken care of outside. I'd get involved infrequently. So I never felt in any job that it was just me and them, never. I always had good support. The chain of command truly worked. [Unclear] Because other people kind of respected the senior people, so that's how it worked. And it was a good system.

TS:

Well, this might be a good time to ask you then about how—there's a lot of—some people say women weren't treated very well in the military, especially during this time.

SH:

You really—I always felt—I did always feel that I had to do my job twice as good to be accepted, because we weren't being assigned to ships or combat and all that stuff [unclear] as much. No, I always felt on the spot in being a representative and really felt like I did my job exceptionally well just to kind of equal—and so you kind of had to earn that respect.

TS:

And how were your relationships with your senior military officers?

SH:

The more senior they are, usually the better the relationship than the younger ones. You'd get resistance, too. That's it, a lot of them “Well, I don't want women,” because—some men resented, because we got the assignments.

TS:

Choice assignments?

SH:

Well, not choice, not choice. But because we were there, that meant a man was released to go on the ship or go into war[?]. So a lot of [the men] didn't like us taking the place of someone, men who's having to take a less than choice assignment on the ships or in the wars.

TS:

Right. Did you have any personal example of any experience with any—?

SH:

In general, that it was—in a lot of situations—that you weren't automatically as respected; you just had to earn that a little bit more, where it was maybe taken for granted with a lot of the men. We had to earn that. But not with everybody. And I think times have changed. I do remember that. I felt very much as a representative—and just tried to do the best job I could do.

TS:

Did you have anybody that you think kind of helped you along the way?

SH:

I always felt good support within the military—men and a few women, but the men too. And I got along probably because I played ball as good as they could [chuckles]. When we had picnics and something where we were playing ball, I held my own. So that was a point of respect; I think it helped a little bit in that regard. I just remember in general. [Unclear.]

TS:

How did you feel about promotions? Did you feel you were treated fairly at promotions?

SH:

I had good promotions. They had to allow for what we were assigned to, you know, the limitations within our assignment. So I felt like we were promoted pretty well, because within in those two [types of assignments], it was pretty good for anyone. I mean, it's not that bad—it's not as many captains in general.

And I've got a picture somewhere that our CO, the lady at Newport, the lady in charge, she was a captain Fran McKee—and I have a picture over there that she was the first line officer to be selected for a flag rank a few years later. So we were [promoted]. You could only go far, because you didn't have these other experiences in your background. So we were limited in the upper [ranks]. Our CO—she was from Newport—she was the first flag officer for line.

TS:

And can you explain that to people who don't know what that means what “flag officer” means?

SH:

Well, so after captain, there are different—as an admiral, there's—I'm not sure. But there's a lower half, upper half. And so she was an admiral.

TS:

Right. So, top senior officer leadership.

SH:

Is an admiral.

TS:

For the navy, and then with the army and the air force it's general.

SH:

Exactly. Generals and admirals. So she was the first line officer. And I think the first admiral was probably a—I believe a nurse. But probably the first, But she was the first line officer. But that was rare then because we didn't—we weren't having all of those experiences for the senior, senior ranks.

[End of Tape 1—Begin Tape 2, Side A]

TS:

So there were some restrictions at that time, and that was certainly one of them, was a promotional levels you could attain.

SH:

Right, right. Because we didn't have the same path available to both men and women all the way through. No, we were pretty restricted.

TS:

The other restriction—and I'm not sure what year exactly it was changed—was that you weren't allowed to have children, whether through marriage—

SH:

Right. Because the time I was in, I think if you were pregnant, you were out of the military. And when I came back—I remember this: in '87, I had a year, year and a half of temporary active duty. And then, of course, you just stayed on active duty, whatever your choice is. And you had family leave, even men.

TS:

In '87.

SH:

Yes, and I don't—it may have happened in the seventies—but I remember that in particular when I was back on active duty. I didn't really have a need to follow that all through—I had other things to follow when I was in service, so I don't know whether that came about in the seventies or in the eighties. Probably in the seventies when everything happened. Because it was in the seventies, later seventies, when ships and family leave could be men and women.

TS:

Was any of the attraction—I guess that's not the right word—the fact that you were paid equal to men—

SH:

Oh, yeah. Whatever your rank was, you were. And I was able to save a lot of money, because you got an allowance for the quarters, whether you were on or off base, you got an allowance. Or if you were off-base, you got an allowance. You got paid, and you had thirty days leave. It was all paid, all the way through. [unclear] But I was able to save a good amount of money. I thought that was really good. It was better than I would have been able to do teaching or through the civilian [world].

Boy, we had inflation. I remember teaching—this is amazing—teaching, and Charlotte had the best supplement; I think it was like four thousand [dollars] a year. And so I adjusted for inflation. I thought that was really great. I never had a problem with the pay. They can pay me any time they want. [laughter] And I did save some money.

TS:

So was there anything particularly hard in the military for you, difficult?

SH:

The difficulty was being able to—you couldn't just do your job. Because you had to just be aware of all the military etiquette and all that, and what you could, within your security clearance, what you could share and not share, and just being able to handle different situations. And not automatically being respected as a woman in a man's world. A lot of people did and it wasn't much of a problem. But I remember being aware of that. It might be true today—probably so, but not as much so.

TS:

More of them now.

SH:

Right, and they get the same assignments; they can be assigned to a ship. They are subject to just about the same assignments. Plenty of women being shot and killed today over in Iraq.

TS:

What about—so you talked a little bit about your relationships with your supervisors and your superiors, and you were on generally good terms.

SH:

Yes. I'd get myself into trouble every once and a while.

TS:

You did? [laughter] What kinds of things would you do to get yourself in trouble? I want to hear about that.

SH:

Oh, I no, no. I was—okay. This is not fun. I remember down at the communications station, and one night there was a ship coming in, and our radio room—and I had a lot of confidence in the people that worked there, and they were having trouble communicating back and forth. I remember in the middle of the night that my boss, the commander, called in and said, “Well, just have them hand deliver it [the messages],” whatever it was; he wouldn't tell me. And I was kind of holding on, because I said “You know, at any minute—” I was talking to the radioman—any minute—and they were talking to them on the ship—it was, other people's fault that they weren't getting the radio [connection]. And I thought at any minute this was going to happen.

Well, it came the morning, and they still hadn't. And he was, yeah, I got chewed out because of that. Nothing formal, because without me saying it, they knew I wasn't really disobeying that, because I had confidence. But he let me know in no uncertain terms, “When I tell you to do something, you do it.” And I won't tell you what else he said. [laughter] He didn't write me up or do anything formal about it, but I remember I should have really done that. But I just didn't want to give in. They're going to get that connection any minute, and those other people too. I said “They don't know what they're doing, and our guys are trying to tell them what to do.” So, anyway.

TS:

So what kind of lesson did you learn from that?

SH:

When your senior tells you to do something, you best do it. [chuckle] I can sit up and talk and use my own judgment too, along with that. But if they had had that communication, I probably wouldn't have said anything. But since it didn't quite work out, and here came the morning and I was still on the watch and they still were not doing that—

TS:

So you were waiting for a message to come in?

SH:

I think they were—we were sending messages somehow, we'd get stuff in because Norfolk's the big center.

TS:

Like a relay?

SH:

A relay out to the ship, boat, whoever was coming in to port. And I just didn't want to give into that. I just thought, “Those people need to know what they're doing.” And our guys were trying. So I thought it was going to work out, that we'd have that communication going within a short amount of time. It was on the mid-watch, but come morning, we still hadn't. And I certainly got totally chewed out about that.

TS:

What about with your peers, your peer group—the men and women that were the same rank as you?

SH:

There were very few. I had one classmate there. There were so few women, we were really assigned at other places. So there were very few. And so we kind of stuck together, because—on good terms—because there weren't that many.

TS:

So when you were at work then, you didn't have a lot of other women officers?

SH:

No, everybody had been assigned to different bases. I had one classmate there who worked in the main office.

TS:

Did you feel isolated at all?

SH:

No, there was too much—all that to communicate, all that stuff going on. There were plenty of people around. I never felt that.

TS:

And you were pretty active with everything you were doing, with your sports.

SH:

Well that—and not just that, there were other things too. Like I say, that kept me out of trouble. But I did stay active so I didn't get in other sorts of—I never got into other problems.

TS:

What kind of trouble were you going to get in?

SH:

Well, that's part of what you had to deal with there. I had “So-and-so, here's this message coming through” and “So-and-so is pregnant,” and here's this, you know, I had to know—a couple were married—just the relationship problems that people get into. And it was the early—it was before drugs was the big thing. It was kind of before that. But there was a lot of—I was a women's representative for the whole district there, and you get into problems of women who were pregnant—some were married, not all. And then how to deal with those kind of problems, or if they had personal problems. So I was a women's representative outside of, for that district, everyone that had one.

TS:

How would that work, then?

SH:

So I didn't have so many problems, but I had to deal with other people's problems. Well, you just resolve it and who they need to see and just advice and how to handle things.

TS:

You're talking about enlisted women?

SH:

Yes, enlisted.

TS:

So the women, then, who that got pregnant, how did they feel about that? Because they would have to get out of the military at that time. How did that go with them?

SH:

Well, they knew the situation. And it wasn't that much. Remember, that was one area, and it was really before the drugs. Or the things we had to deal with of people coming in, okay, they didn't—or late coming in on this shift. Just things you have in an office.

TS:

Personnel.

SH:

Personnel. That's it. Personnel. But most people—I had just some good support. Or the military—the military system really works well. So I didn't feel overburdened.

TS:

So if you're the women's representative, about how many women were in the?

SH:

I don't remember how many were in the district.

TS:

Oh, so it was a district? Okay.

SH:

But on the whole base, not just the communication station. I guess the base then. I don't remember.

TS:

So you're in San Diego for then another two years?

SH:

Right.

TS:

So then what happened when you're done with San Diego?

SH:

Well, I figured they couldn't send me anywhere better than San Diego. So it was time to take my GI Bill and go to grad school. And it was a tough decision.

But I'd had that balance. I had the tough jobs in Norfolk, then the—not that the jobs weren't tough, but they were in nice San Diego. And I [thought] “They cannot send me anywhere better!” And I wasn't ready, at the time, I didn't want to go overseas and have to be there for years. And so I thought “Well.” So I made that decision to go to graduate school. Went back to Greensboro, master's there, and other courses, and then transferred all that to the University of Iowa.

TS:

But you stayed in the reserves?

SH:

Stayed in the reserves for the next twenty years.

TS:

And did you do drill then?

SH:

I did drill. So Greensboro—and I had different assignments within, so Greensboro while that was there, and with the GI Bill and that weekend pay—so I was able to pay my own way through school there, and even in Iowa because I had assistantships, so I had in-state [tuition]. So I was able to do that.

But that kind of gave me a base. Also, okay, I graduated, but I wanted to take some more courses, because I had—so I was with a Greensboro unit. And it was once a month, two weeks a year, so I had to work that out, to get my two weeks training. And I think from there, went down to Orlando a couple of times for my two weeks. I've got all that written somewhere.

I had good two-week assignments. And I worked there. I remember I still have a paper that I wrote I think on my first one, in '72, about how to automate—the automated system for processing records. And I had to talk to people in San Diego, Great Lakes and other places. [How'd I do that?] How'd I know all that? So I did a study on a process. And so you worked—I did-on those two weeks. But they were good, because they would be commands that were willing to have you for those two, and they'd usually have projects lined up, interesting projects, I thought.

TS:

Or they knew they could get it done maybe in that two-week time period.

SH:

Yeah, right. So you didn't just go in; they'd planned for you. They had someone [assigned] to take care of you while were there. You were assigned [unclear] in Greensboro. And then when I went to Iowa, my first one was in, my first reserve center was in [Cedar Rapids—corrected by veteran]. And then [I] moved over to Rock Island, Illinois.

And so that was my best, best combination. Here was this cold Iowa—I enjoyed it. I felt comfortable in Iowa because it was a lot of farmland; I felt it was similar to North Carolina. So I always felt comfortable in Iowa. And you really got in with the graduate group—because there really wasn't a lot to do out there. So that was a tight-knit group and we'd party together and play and all that good stuff. But Rock Island, Illinois, was my—and I remember those cold mornings. I had to get up about six on the weekends. It was a cold, cold morning! My car didn't have much of a heater, kind of neutral, going on over to Rock Island for Saturday and come back, and Sunday and come back.

But my best assignments, my very best assignment—I was there three or four years—from Rock Island. My two weeks were in Hawaii. CINCPAC, Commander-in-Chief Pacific in Hawaii. So my two weeks, those three or four years, was in Hawaii each time. So I'd always come back and have the most severe cold, because it was wonderful there. And I remember one time in January, in cold January in Iowa, and here I am my two weeks. And it was fine but I would have the worst colds. And I still went and I looked at it and thought—I went in different times of the year.

But that was great. And they treated me well. I remember the first time they'd ever met me, even though I was working in the office there, they said “[unclear] the Kodak show is on Thursday morning; you're going to that, you need to go to that.” So they kind of took care of you. And you had a rental car and you'd stay on the base, but able to go all over—it was on Oahu—all over the island, and do the trips out to the [USS] Arizona, and just do the different tourist things. And they had several things—and it was wonderful. They had a Friday night like a sing-along there in the BOQ.

TS:

You seemed to like the beach, Scottie. You're in Norfolk and San Diego.

SH:

It's not that I liked it. I was in the navy [laughter]—

TS:

That's true.

SH:

—and the navy's going to be where the ships and the water are. [chuckles]

TS:

That's a good point.

SH:

Now, there was one assignment she [a classmate—corrected by veteran] went to, it was in Indiana with the chief of information, she was in public relations. So there were a couple—but that's where the bases were!

Now they have recruit training—the only recruit training now is in Great Lakes. And boy—well, if you had a choice, wouldn't you rather go to San Diego or Orlando? I guess Great Lakes is in the middle of the country, so—

TS:

Well, you got to remember I grew up in Michigan. [laughter]

SH:

Oh, well then. [laughter] And I've never been to Great Lakes; I've been to others—oh, good old Great Lakes—but that's the only recruit training today.

TS:

A little different climate.

SH:

And, you know, so many of the—one of the [places] we used to go, when I was in Greensboro, every quarter, I think, we'd go down to Charleston for our weekend drill, and do things we could do in Charleston that we couldn't do with the Greensboro unit.

Couldn't believe they closed the base at Charleston, all the bases closing. You can't close—Charleston closed years later, but all those bases that closed down.

TS:

Well, what'd you get your master's [degree] in? We kind of skipped over that.

SH:

Masters was in physical education.

TS:

And that's what you got at UNCG when you went back.

SH:

Right. It was already what I had from my background, so I easily switched to. And it was a totally different experience, because there were more men in graduate school. And so it was a real combination of men and women. That's why I felt it was a totally—and they had expanded the faculty, and they had a lot of—well, they always had grad students that were teaching some classes, but it was a really expanded faculty, more students, men and women. So it felt like it was a totally different experience. It wasn't the same old, same old. But I did go back there.

TS:

So you had said before when you were in Norfolk and they were having some disruptions on the campuses, when you got to Greensboro, was any of that going on at the time?

SH:

Oh, it was starting to settle down. But in the navy, it was Admiral [Elmo] Zumwalt who was in who started to change all the restrictions. And they'd wear beards or mustaches. A lot of the restrictions were eased to make military more compatible, more similar to civilian, or just not so many restrictions. [So you could] recruit better, or whatever. But all that.

And so there was turmoil and everything then in the navy, while back at the campuses had already settled down, because we were just getting out of Vietnam. But we were still in. So when I went in '66, we were in Vietnam, and all through the time, and we still were, but it was the early seventies that was winding down. We were pulling out from that. So the campuses had settled down. So I thought it was good. I had settled down, and settled down.

TS:

And then you went on to your doctorate in—?

SH:

In Iowa. That was measurement within—that's where you get more [specialized] measurement within the physical education. Measurement in physical education. And so I had to take a lot of statistics. You could either take language or stat[istics]—give me the math. You take a language, I'll take the math [chuckling]. Math to you might be a foreign language.

TS:

I think you're right about that.

SH:

And so I didn't have any particular plans for after the process. I just enjoyed it. I had a research assistantship and I had a teaching assistantship. She'd say, “Okay, we want you to teach fencing.” Okay, well I can find that manual; I'll do that. I taught fencing and a few other things. The first year it was in research; I'd help out in the labs and do all that. So all that was so I'd have in-state. And that, along with the GI Bill and the money I saved. I did alright.

TS:

And are you noticing at all any of the attitudes—because you are going to graduate school and you're doing the reserves at the same time, and this is starting in the seventies—

SH:

Right.

TS:

So when did you finish your doctorate?

SH:

It was in '81.

TS:

[Nineteen] eighty-one. Okay. So in that period, that's a great span of time where you're seeing changes in the military. What'd you think of—what kind of changes did you see?

SH:

Well, I didn't, because I was in the reserves. And so it wasn't—to me the active duties were all the real changes, as far as personnel and restrictions and rules and all that. What happened for us is the changes where we always had—we had the blues and whites and the skirts and the blouses—what happened was they added more uniforms. Once I got to the slacks and trousers, that was my uniform. We had that with the dress code. So that really opened up—

TS:

Were you happy to see the slacks come in?

SH:

Oh, yes! That was it from then on! Because you wear more comfortable shoes too. So we always, when I was on active duty, we were dressed to the hilt each time. The uniform always looked good. I thought, “Boy, this is great! I'll just wear this every day!” Of course, I had to. [laughs] But it was tailored; it looked good.

But it was the skirts with—we had two or three uniforms during the year: the whites and blues, and light blues for the summer. But there were skirts. And then in the reserves, all these other uniforms came out, because women were on ships and of course they had to work in them. But that, that was nice, to get all these uniform changes. And instead of that heavy bucket hat, they came out with the beret for women. Well, one of my classmates fixed that up for me, and I never wore anything else but that beret, because that was always authorized. It was light and it was—I liked the beret. So the heavy old bucket hat just [laughter]—

TS:

Well, I think we'll take a little break here. We've been talking for a little while. So we're going to take a little break.

[recorder paused]

TS:

Okay, we're continuing here with Scottie Hudson. We've looked through some of her scrapbooks, and I have to say that she's very humble about her athleticism and how well she did. Now, you were in the Navy Times?

SH:

That was my fifteen minutes of fame. I was in the Navy Times because they didn't want us to participate in too many things, I guess, because they had the tennis tournament going on out there, and the golf.

TS:

Where were you at, at this time?

SH:

This was in San Diego.

TS:

Okay.

SH:

And so it didn't stop me. I played in one tennis tournament and then I played in the golf tournament that afternoon.

TS:

And how did you do in both of those?

SH:

Nothing exceptional. Might have been there wasn't that much competition; it was pretty good. But it was enough to be in Navy Times for having done that on the same day. It was because they didn't have a lot of opportunities; they didn't expect us to play in both of them. Pick one. I picked them both! [laughter]

TS:

Well, there are many pictures she has of her—what's the golf tournament that you won out there?

SH:

Well, the west coast. They had the east coast and the west coast, and then they had the all-navy. I didn't do any better than fourth in the all-navy.

TS:

It's not too bad still.

SH:

But the west coast. And I don't remember that many people playing in it. It really wasn't tremendous competition.

TS:

We saw a news clipping about your—was it your high school, you played for the state championship? Was that high school, or was that in college? I'm not sure which one that was.

SH:

That's when I was at Norfolk.

TS:

At Norfolk, okay. And you played for the championship.

SH:

That's right.

TS:

Came darn close to winning that.

SH:

Well, if they didn't have it for us to play on base, I'd go out and find a place to play.

TS:

[laughter] That's good. Well, there's a couple of other things I'd like to talk about here. You talked a little bit about Admiral Zumwalt.

SH:

And the Z-grams.

TS:

The Z-grams. What were those? What were the Z-grams?

SH:

Z-grams were mostly addressing changes in regulations. And it was opening up the military, less rules and regulations. There was probably a lot of unrest with the military, in the enlisted ranks particularly. So it opened up opportunities for women. Just kind of entering the modern era a little bit. Him and his Z-grams.

Yeah, there were a lot of the old standards that, you know, “That's the way we've always done it; that's the way we're always going to do it.” And then he changed it where you could have different lengths of hair and different types of jewelry you could wear. And just opening it, more in-line with the civilian world.

TS:

And he faced some resistance with that.

SH:

You know, the old standbys who didn't want changes. They had to suffer. I guess everybody had to suffer. [chuckles]

TS:

Well, did you have any other opinion about any of the other leaders at that time, like Robert McNamara or General Westmoreland or President Johnson?

SH:

Not in particular. No more than anyone that's in society. Not from a military standpoint. [unclear] Whoever I liked or supported would be the same like now as then. So it wasn't really—our background influences what we do. But nothing in particular.

TS:

You didn't have an opinion about President Johnson or anything like that?

SH:

Well, he wasn't one of my favorites.

TS:

Was it Lady Bird [Johnson] that she spoke at one of your—?

SH:

She had some forward in one of the booklets.

TS:

That's right, a forward.

SH:

You know, all the first ladies have been pretty active. It was Eleanor Roosevelt who was very influential in opening the military to women. I think she was even on the campus at Greensboro at one time. But she was very influential. Let's see. Harriet Elliot—used to be Elliot Hall, now Elliot University Center—Harriet Elliot was very involved with I think the war bonds, and she had a connection with Eleanor Roosevelt. So she was—I remember reading her autobiography, or biography, whichever one it was. I don't remember exactly, but there's some connection there with them being influential in supporting the military and women in the military. Because that's when it started, in 1942 was when women in the military were first drafted—not drafted, but could volunteer.

TS:

Right, could volunteer. Well, how about Richard Nixon and George McGovern? Any thoughts on either one of them?

SH:

Not anything beyond anyone else in society. We don't like, with Nixon and all that, the way that turned out.

TS:

Yeah, he was pretty popular at the time before Watergate.

SH:

I think he was popular because he established a relationship with China and a few other things. He was very popular right up until the time he recorded a lot of stuff he probably didn't need to record. [laughs] When—I remember one thing. You probably don't remember this name, but in '87 was when I went on temporary active duty, had three months of duty in New Orleans. And then I was assigned in Washington to the 6th Quadrennial Review of Military Compensation, QRMC. I was assigned to that staff in Washington; I was there for about three or four months, and then I finished that year with several months over in the Pentagon in '87 for my temporary active duty, so over a year of temporary active duty. So if you remember Oliver North and [his secretary] Fawn Hall? So when I was in the Pentagon, it was in '87 [during the Iran-Contra Congressional hearings]. And I would pass her and chat with Fawn Hall a few times there in the Pentagon. So, yeah. She was a small lady. I just remember Fawn Hall.

TS:

Did you have any shredding at that time? Did you—?

SH:

[laughter] The shredding had already been done. I'd just shred my own stuff.

TS:

I think so. So why was it that you went back on temporary active duty?

SH:

Well, let's see. It was a good opportunity for me, because in '87—I don't remember, I was teaching some school, and maybe I was doing some part-time work—I had the time that I could do that. And I remember going down to New Orleans, where I was assigned to, but it ended up about three months there. And it was so—New Orleans was great, because the naval base was over here on the island. So every morning you'd go to work and ride the boat across the Mississippi [River]; come home, ride the boat back across the Mississippi. I thought that was the most interesting thing there in New Orleans.

But I was there during the summer and it was hot. It was almost too hot to go down to Bourbon Street. Really hot. But we managed to do that once in a while anyway [chuckles]. So it was when New Orleans was New Orleans. I was there two or three months, and then in Washington with the QRMC board several months.

TS:

And what's the QRMC stand for?

SH:

Quadrennial Review of Military Compensation study.

TS:

So did you get selected for this?

SH:

Yeah, I was selected from—when I was in New Orleans, this was probably something I became aware of, and either it was pointed out to me by one of my seniors or—probably pointed out to me. So I had to fill out an application, background and all that. And so I was an admin officer for the QRMC.

TS:

Now, how long did that assignment last?

SH:

It was several months. It seems like it was two or three months. And I'd have to do award things—just all administrative, whatever they'd ask me to do. So that was—it was steady work. I always had more than I could get done.

TS:

So how did you end up at the Pentagon?

SH:

And so I hadn't finished out the year. So I think I was to finish out the year. Maybe I was assigned there for either, I don't know, six or nine months, and we finished up earlier. Anyway, then I was assigned over to the Pentagon for several months.

TS:

What did you do then?

SH:

I don't remember anything in particular. It had to do with administrative-type work. Whether it was drafting letters, or—I was never a secretary, and I don't remember right now exactly what office I was in. but I was there for a few months in the Pentagon.

TS:

How was that working at the Pentagon?

SH:

Oh, it was interesting, once I figured out how to get around. I got my exercise by walking around.

But the one thing I remember was—and I have it somewhere—Casper Weinberger, secretary of defense, was retiring then. So we were all outside behind the Pentagon, and they were having all the ceremonies. And Ronald Reagan was president then. So they had different formations, and I remember the President—and I was over here around the fence—and President Reagan, he was walking over. He came so close by, like he was going to walk right over to the fence. But then he stopped at that group and did kind of a cursory pass and review and all that. So I got real close to Ronald Reagan for the retirement of Casper Weinberger, secretary of defense.

TS:

That's pretty neat.

SH:

It was neat. I thought “He's going to walk right over here!” So I saw him up close and personal.

TS:

So how long did it last at the Pentagon, then?

SH:

It was a few months. Whatever it was to finish out the year, I believe. I think I was assigned there for a year and we didn't know how long the military compensation study, how long that would take. So there'd be bits of time available, and I got to go over to the Pentagon because we finished it up maybe early. I still had the orders of temporary additional duty. And so we finished up, and whatever my TAD orders were, then I finished by working over at the Pentagon.

TS:

And so that was in '87 through—was it '87 to'88?

SH:

It was probably '86-'87.

TS:

[Nineteen] eighty-six or eighty-seven.

SH:

End of '86 and into '87. You can find it [looking at papers].

TS:

I see, yeah. Here's that nineteen August date again. [papers shuffle] So after that then, was that when you retired?

SH:

No. Well, they [papers shuffling, pause] I don't think—one thing the navy had that was different, in some of their drills, the VTU [Volunteer Training Unit], some were paid billets and some weren't. And by '87, I was still on the rolls, but they did send me the note and say, “Oh, time for you to put in your papers.” And so I retired in '93, 1993. But I don't think I did go to drills for the last three or four years. Okay, longevity and everything is cool. Time for you to send in your retirement request.

TS:

So, that was '66 through '93?

SH:

Yes.

TS:

Well, that's great! So that last portion, that temporary additional duty you were on active, was about a year, two years?

SH:

It was at least a year. It might have been a year between the two places in Washington, and three months before that, three months in New Orleans.

TS:

Okay. So it was just something that you found out about and then, like you say to your supervisor—?

SH:

Something that, oh, here's something we need people—through the reserve center—here's something we need people for. So I was able to—

TS:

What were you doing in your civilian job at that time?

SH:

That's a good question. Must not—whatever it was, it was so I could still go to—

TS:

That's what I was wondering.

SH:

Let's see. So I was just several years there as—came back, did some teaching, coaching. I taught down at Winthrop College for about a year.

TS:

Winthrop College?

SH:

Yes, I was a lecturer at Winthrop College a year or so.

TS:

We were talking earlier how when you got done with your doctorate and then you did go into teaching, in part time teaching a little bit.

SH:

So that was it for, like I said I was doing substitute teaching, coaching, taught at Winthrop. So I had part-time positions, so full-time active duty was better for me. I was ready for that. So through the reserve center, just information through—and so I either pointed it out, or it was pointed out to me and someone said, “This is something you might be interested in.” And so you write it up and they recommend you and then they have to select you, and you go. Probably while I was in New Orleans for that assignment, that two or three months, this other information about this study that they were having in Washington came through, and so I probably applied for that.

TS:

Kind of piggy-backed on that.

SH:

Since I was already there and I didn't have to go back for anything in particular. So that worked out real well. And it's good for retirement, because every day you're on active duty you get points, so that's a lot of [points]. My four-and-a-half years, plus that year or so, is a point a day. And you drill and get a point a weekend, two weeks, you get points. So all those points accumulate, and so at the end, when they put in the formula, with all the points you accumulated, it makes a difference in your retirement.

TS:

In the pay that you get?

SH:

Right. So a reserve retirement is age sixty.

TS:

Sixty?

SH:

Sixty. And it's not like social security, you can start later and you get more. Doesn't matter [in the reserves]. Sixty is going to be the same even if you did later, got back later, it would be from sixty. So there's no advantage to wait, so that's when it started.

TS:

I see.

SH:

And it was fine.

TS:

It was fine. [chuckle] And you also said how you got into the health care?

SH:

So, after doing some odds and ends and all that, I went and looked at what was available there and my background. And a lot of the health courses and everything—because in medical records you need anatomy and physiology and stuff. So, real close to the health courses. Now it's the school of Health and Physical Education. So a lot of the—it wasn't that tough for me, because I had the real background in the health part. So it was more the health emphasis for medical records.

TS:

And you said that physical education side was more top—there was a lot of—?

SH:

Well, health and physical education, you're teaching either the classes or in a classroom. And health is more of the sciences—not more of, but specifically related to health. And that is health care. And medical records, you work with the records. You don't have to to—I liked that you didn't—unlike nursing, where you're directly with the patients. So we work in the hospitals, or doing home health, mental health, and coding, so you're working in that environment. And hospitals, I like a lot of the people that work in the hospitals. It's a good, good profession.

So, I went to Central Piedmont [Community College in Charlotte], and got my [medical records degree—they call it Health Information Technology now—corrected by veteran].

TS:

And you said that one of the reasons that you got into that, to move in that direction, was because there were so many other people in the—

SH:

It was such an oversupply of people.

TS:

That's what you said.

SH:

Right. It was not easy, since I had kind of a varied background and didn't do it step-by-step to build all the way through. It was a lot more difficult—the combination to step in I did a lot of part-time temporary; I taught golf classes at Central Piedmont for about ten years; I did that; I enjoyed that the most. And I could still do that but I taught golf throughout the years—in Iowa. But I never played that much. People had their playing years and then they teach a lot later. Well, I taught all during those early years and I teach now, and I do but I don't charge for it. So it's amateur and now I just enjoy it and I just play. So I taught first and now I play. So I did it backwards.

TS:

[chuckle] I understand. Well, let me just ask you a little bit more about the cultural times that you were in; in the military and in the reserve. Was there any—let's see, you got in the service around '66. What kind of music do you remember listening to—do you remember?

SH:

I don't know, but I still listen to it today. I still like the sixties. Elvis—I mean today on my iPod is Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard. They're my favorites now. So, I like the music of the late fifties—late fifties and early sixties today.

TS:

But you have it on an iPod. [laughter]

SH:

It's on my iPod.

TS:

Here we go, yes.

SH:

So I play—you hear a lot of Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, and others—a lot of others too.

TS:

How about any particular TV shows or movies that you liked during that time?

SH:

We didn't have that many channels, remember? It was easy. I remember growing up in Graham, and it was not everybody—it was big news when one of the neighbors got a TV. I mean it goes far back when we got our TV. I know we had it in '57, because I remember the three overtimes that [University of North] Carolina won their basketball game [during the 1957 Final Four]. But then, it was easy. You had [The] Ed Sullivan [Show] on Sunday night, you had [I Love] Lucy and Twilight Zone. I mean that was growing up years. What else did we need? Now I have twenty-five channels and I still watch one or two. I have two-hundred channels and I still watch just three or four of them. If we could pick we'd be a lot better off, instead of having to pay for all those.

TS:

How about the moon landing? Do you remember—did you happen to remember if you saw that on TV?

SH:

I saw it on TV, but I don't remember. Just observing just like anybody else.

TS:

What did you think about it, though? Did you—?

SH:

Well, it was—none of us could envision that until it happened, actually, on the moon. So, probably the same reaction you had or anybody else had toward that. So I was never connected—I had a classmate who was a pilot. She went in for the training. And I never did that—I never was particularly interested in being a pilot or going through that. She went through, I think it was in Pensacola [Florida] they had the flight training. She was never on one of the missions, but she was a pilot and went through flight training and did all that, in Pensacola. So I didn't go that route. So I was no more connected to that than anyone else. But that was one of the options available. But she probably flew before she ever joined. You know, had that interest.

TS:

That's pretty neat. And then, see the other—there was a couple other things going on. You had the civil rights movement and the women's movement. Did either of those have any influence on you or affect you in any way?

SH:

I remember this because recently I was reading through some of the stuff. It was almost a given on the ERA [Equal Rights Amendment]. When that first came out, it was almost a given. Once it—that it would be ratified just right away, but it never was. But from that write-up it's like, “Oh, when that's ratified.” It was really a given. It's like, “What happened to that?” So it seemed like it was important and it was mystifying that it wasn't ratified right away. It was expected to be. Whether that's good or bad for military, and whether women, it's—if they don't assign me to combat that would suit me. So that was part of it.

There's still the old—if it's connected to the military that was probably part of the thinking on that; that they were still protecting the women. People are voting rather than—everybody's not equal, and women aren't equal in every area. So, I don't remember the exact wording, and it probably should have been. But there's a lot of carry—over of not necessarily—not, I think people voted to ratify it. A lot of thinking was it wasn't anti-women, it was probably pro-women in thinking. They don't—“[if] they have that, they'll lose some of their rights” or whatever. So there was a mix there, in reasons it wasn't ratified.

TS:

Where do you fall in that? About protecting or—?

SH:

I don't know. It should have been ratified. I never did quite understand. It should have been. Because everybody was worried it didn't really add all—but in people's minds it might have opened the gates to some things that they didn't necessarily want open. Yes, it should have been ratified. Right away. [chuckles]

TS:

I think only four—I think it was four states—four more that they needed to get it ratified.

SH:

Unbelievable.

TS:

I think that's what it—I'll have to check that out. Well, with that then, now today, in today's military, women are doing a whole lot more. Well, we're in Iraq—

SH:

Sure, sure.

TS:

Do you think there's any limits to what women should be allowed or permitted to do?

SH:

I don't think there are any limits anymore. Pretty much all the jobs or billets and assignments are open to anyone. And if you join the military—as all of us did at the time; we didn't know where we'd be assigned. You just joined. So people know today's atmosphere and what they're subject to, so I don't think there are any limitations anymore. If you're in the military, you are subject to be assigned.

TS:

I think women aren't allowed in infantry, and there's certain direct combat jobs that they're not allowed.

SH:

But they're getting killed, because those roadside bombs don't discriminate about what your job is. So it's not traditional. You don't know who the enemy is all the time or where they are.

TS:

Would you recommend the military to anyone? A young woman or girl?

SH:

Absolutely. They told me from the beginning, and anyone else, they said, “It's what you make of it.” And it is. All the ingredients are there to make it a wonderful life. It's like anywhere else; the ingredients are there to go down to temptation, the wrong path, too. But they said, “It's what you make out of it.”

TS:

Did you have your adventure?

SH:

I had my adventure. The main reason—not that the drills weren't a pain to go through, all the drills. And a lot of the years were VTU [Volunteer Training Unit], maybe non-paid drills. But once I had that many years in—I just kept going. I said I have too many years in to stop, because I was looking at retirement then. You don't think it's really going to come, but I knew I had too many years in to lose it, I think. So, that's why I stayed with those drills—unpaid—and the two weeks. It was work. I mean it's a job. But I had several years in, so I just stayed with it through all those cold, Iowa mornings, going to Rock Island for the weekend when I probably needed to be studying for some old test or something. [chuckles]

TS:

We had a discussion off the recorder that I thought was pretty interesting that we should put on the recorder. You were talking about demerits and getting in trouble and a particular length of the skirt.

SH:

Oh, well.

TS:

What happened there, Scottie?

SH:

I just—we found a picture in one of the scrapbooks, and it was two people, unrelated people. There was a lady in a mid-knee skirt and then one that was a little bit longer. And so I'd gotten in—you had to wear a skirt, I think, about two inches below the knee or something. But I got gigged on my skirt length. Some of my—some of the ranks, they sent me this little note that said; “Number one, that was the shortest skirt 'before inspection.'” And they put, “Number two, on the longer skirt 'after inspection.'” And they wrote, “Guess who?” Well, so I just—it was fun.

TS:

And the other thing we found in the scrapbook was—apparently you went to a few officers clubs and you went and had a few things on napkins.

SH:

Oh, yes. All business decisions happened at the clubs and the parties. [laughing]

“Oh, yeah, you should join the—you're in the regular navy. Augment to the regular navy.”

“No, I'm not going to do that.”

“Yeah, you should do that.”

Well, I ended up doing that. And then—

TS:

So, you signed it on a napkin?

SH:

Oh, yes. signed a couple of things. I don't know where I requested—I was going to request to keep a .22 pistol, and I don't remember why I would even write that. But that was on a napkin, and I don't think that one made it to the official ranks. [laughter]

TS:

So there was—any particular—there's a lot of humorous things that were in your scrapbooks, but is there anything you remember in particular that was particularly humorous while you were in the military, or a couple of things?

SH:

Now that's—it's just kind of a big blur through there. I know that there's tremendous humor, and after that—I don't care if it's a civilian job or whatever—always managed to have a—you have to have a good time to enjoy the job. So, just a lot of good humor throughout. Makes the tough times a lot easier to stand up to when you have good humor along with it.

TS:

That's right. Now would you say your time in the military influenced you in any way?

SH:

For ever and ever. You've always got that background. And it's why no—and I know why being the watch officer over all this; I know the chain of command. I know how that worked. I've been more reluctant in civilian life, and I've been—such as coding in the hospital—but I never wanted to be a supervisor, because they had to deal more individually with everybody. And it's like, okay, I know why the other worked like it did. And so I was more the worker. I coded, key coded. I didn't want to be—several jobs—did not want to be that upper supervisory rank, because I knew how it worked before and I didn't want all those headaches. So that's one reason I didn't necessarily want to be in a different position than I was in. Some of my jobs it's like, just let me do my job. I don't want to do your job, okay? [chuckles] I'd had all that responsibility. I'd been there, done that. Just let me do this job.

TS:

Absolutely. Now, what about—the civil rights movement was also happening when you were in. Do you have any recollection of how that might have impacted the military?

SH:

Not in particular. I always thought within the military there was very little racial discrimination. It was there. I mean, you were there, serving in the uniform—not so much of that. I think there was more of a distinction between men and women. Sometimes times I went in that I did feel like I had to do my job better to be equal to some of the men. So I thought that was more of what opened up, between men and women. Women being assigned to ships—when all that happened, then that helped that respect level all even out a little bit better, because it wasn't just the men who had to go to sea for a year or two. Because I remember working with some of the guys—not all had the same [feeling], some liked it out there [at sea]. But the general attitude—and I know in San Diego, I don't remember [which, but] one of the sailors saying that to him, the worst shore duty was better than the best sea duty. So it's—you really have a lot of restrictions at sea. So it's not the fun cruise thing when you're working, and a lot of things you can't [do]. So I think that the men and the women, when that was opened up, that kind of changed that.

TS:

Did you ever see or hear or face any sexual discrimination or anything like that?

SH:

Oh, not as far as the rules and the regulations and all the things that counted. It didn't. And I got along with most people. It was just a few of the old crusty ones who weren't quite—they weren't with it. Ones that weren't with it, I didn't worry about them too much anyway. [chuckles] So some of the old salts I had to put up with once in a while.

TS:

What about when you were—I think it was in Norfolk, you said you were the woman's representative?

SH:

Well, they all had—they used to have women's rep in each district, all that. And it's when people had problems or something they wanted to talk over before they went to—you know, mast [a non-judicial disciplinary hearing], that's when it gets to the official level. But you were there in case anyone wanted to contact you or you wanted to keep in touch with people. And then, after I got off of active duty [unclear], so all that changed. The total navy, they were quick to change that. There were not going to be [called] WAVES anymore, not going to have a women's rep, going to use the regular chain of command. So that was the process of the integration into the total navy. And that was Zumwalt's time, too. So that probably helped the men and women more on the equal assignments and equal standing there.

TS:

So you think that had a lot to do with men's attitudes, when women had the same type of jobs—especially the sea duty. Do you think that helped even it out?

SH:

That's right because we were—we just mainly had a couple areas that we worked in. We signed on with whatever they were going to have us do. But yes, that changed things I'm sure for those ladies, because they were subject to a sea rotation assignment just like men. That would knock down any resentment and those types of things.

TS:

What are your thoughts on patriotism? What do you think about patriotism? What does it mean to you?

SH:

It means just—I don't—I'm not knocking anybody else on this war. You support the troops 100 percent. But the sooner we can get out [of Iraq], the better. And why did we go in? You know, just like anybody else. Support the troops but not the war. Not this one.

TS:

Do you have any words of advice for the women who are currently serving, you think?

SH:

I don't know that they'd be interested in my advice. I'd probably be more interested in what they have to say than what I have to say. You just do your job to the best of your ability. Whatever you're assigned to do, just do it the best you can.

TS:

Well, we've covered a lot. Is there anything you'd like to add that we haven't talked about?

SH:

I don't know of anything in particular. I will later. I'll be, “Oh, this stuff I could have mentioned!” But not right off the top of my head.

TS:

Well, I really appreciate you letting me to come here and talk with you, Scottie.

SH:

Well, I've enjoyed it. I didn't know that I—I never have nothing to say.

TS:

Oh, you had plenty to say. [chuckle]