View Full Version : Women in military are focus of Nov. 3 event

10-27-03, 07:43 AM
Women in military are focus of Nov. 3 event
October 27,2003

HAVELOCK - Women from Cherry Point who served in Operation Enduring Freedom and in the war in Iraq will be the focus the 17th annual Salute to Women of the Military, Past and Present, scheduled Nov. 3.

"There will be no guest speaker this year," said Bee Mayo, one of the founders.

Instead, the program will consist of a comprehensive audio-visual presentation of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing's participation in Operation Enduring Freedom and the unit's service in the war in Iraq, she said.

Scheduled at noon at the Officer's Club at Cherry Point, the event brings together women who served in all branches of the military from World War II to the present.

Master Sgt. Sherry Raby, 38, of Marine Wing Support Squadron 271, will be one of the presenters. She said Marine attitudes about women's abilities in the Corps have changed since she joined in 1983.

"When I first came in, we weren't coming in with the purpose of going to combat," Raby said. "We were there to free a man to fight."

Raby, the mother of four boys and the wife of a Camp Lejeune Marine, went to Iraq as an operations chief.

"Our squadron was responsible for setting up forward arming and refueling points for the aircraft," she said. "We were also responsible for setting up forward operating bases for aircraft."

Raby said the participation of women in Desert Storm and Enduring Freedom showed how women can endure in combat.

"We were all Marines," she said. "Everybody focused on accomplishing that job."

The gathering offers opportunities for military women to meet with women who, in many cases, helped illustrate what women had to offer the military.

Maxine Baker, 80, was working in material procurement for Goodyear Aircraft Corporation in Ohio in 1944 when she decided to join the Marine Corps quartermaster corps. She was pleased to see the changes Raby has experienced during her military career.

"We've always said we sort of blazed the trail for later girls who enlisted," she said.

Baker said she believes her military service also helped open doors for her at the Naval Aviation Depot.

"Actually, I started out like most lowly girls as a typist, but I ended up as an aircraft production controller," she said.

The spirit that led Baker away from her Ohio home and into the Marine Corps prevailed when she made her break to compete for a job in an arena that had, up until that time, been mostly filled by men. "It was dirty work and it was hard work, but the money was good," she said.

The salute is co-sponsored by the Sexual Assault Resource Center and the N.C. Council for Women/Domestic Violence Commission.

and the Craven County Veteran's Service Office. Reservations may be made by contacting the Sexual Assault Resource Center at 636-3381. The cost of the luncheon is $10.