What is the fastest-growing group of American Veterans?

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By: Bobi Oates, SMSgt, Retired
It’s probably not who you think, in fact it’s Female Veterans. According to the U.S. Dept of Veterans Affairs as of 9/30/17
Number of Veterans:
Nevada 218,406 Nationally 19,998,799
10.3% 6.6%
Number of Women Veterans
Nevada 21,715 Nationally 1,882,848
9.94% 9.14%
As a member of the Nevada Women Veterans Advisory Committee, it has been one of our goals to find the 21,000 plus Women in the state, but we’re not having much luck. A huge problem is that a lot of the Women don’t consider themselves Veterans, nor does most of the general public.
This year the Committee asked for and received a Proclamation by the Governor to recognize the third week of March, this year being March 17 -23, 2019 as Women’s History Week in Nevada. Our next goal is to have it put in statute.
A Veteran has always been described as someone who served in combat, which for generations have been the guys. However, Women have served in combat, not officially until the beginning of 2013, then- Department of Defense Secretary Leo Panetta lifted the ban on women in combat roles and gave the military 2 years to complete integration.
Women have served in the Military since the Revolutionary War, often masquerading as man so that they could serve. When there was discussion in Congress about eliminating the draft, a gentleman stated that if we do away with the draft and there is a war no one will fight. Well, there has never been a draft for Women, and we have always answered the call to war.
Did you know that there is only one National Memorial dedicated to Women who have Served, not many folks do, of the over 3 million Women who have served only about a quarter million have registered? The Memorial is at the entrance of Arlington cemetery. The Women In Military Service for America Memorial was dedicated October 18, 1997. https://www.womensmemorial.org/
This year we celebrated the 2nd Annual Women’s History Month High Tea, over 100 Women attended from all branches of services, all eras, Active, Retired and Veterans, it was so successful next year we’ll have to find a bigger location.
If you are a Women who has served, or you know a Women who has served tell them about the Women’s Memorial, tell them to speak up, there may be benefits that you’re eligible for that you didn’t know about. If you have any questions, reach out.
Bobi Oates, 23 yr retired Air Force, Aircraft Maintenance
Vice Chair, Nevada Women Veterans Advisory Committee
VP, Women Veterans of Nevada
Nevada Ambassador for the Women’s Memorial
Boates4616@aol.com
2nd Annual Women’s History Month High Tea, 23 March 2019, held at the Southern Nevada Veterans Hospital.