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March 9, 2012

Women Veterans of the Persian Gulf War Subject of Panel Discussion

Veterans History Project Explores Women’s Contributions to Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield in Commemoration of Women’s History Month

The Library of Congress Veterans History Project (VHP) will commemorate Women’s History Month with a landmark panel discussion on the contributions of women to the Persian Gulf War and the impact on women veterans in the more than 20 years since on Tuesday, March 27 at noon in the Whittall Pavilion, located on the ground floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St., S.E., Washington, D.C.

"The Persian Gulf War marked a turning point in the role of women in war, as women served in mainstream mission roles for the first time," said Veterans History Project Director Bob Patrick. "The Veterans History Project aims to raise popular awareness of the significant contributions of women to the Persian Gulf War effort and inspire contributions to the VHP collection from all women veterans."

Panelists and veterans Darlene Iskra, Julie Mock, Juanita Mullen and Gail Shillingford will share their experiences during the war and the impact of service on their lives. Lory Manning, director of the Women in the Military Project for the Women's Research & Education Institute, will moderate the discussion.

Iskra was the first woman to command a ship in the U.S. Navy, the USS Opportune. She took the vessel to war during Desert Storm in January 1991.

Mock served with the U.S. Army, 87th Medical Detachment (Dental Services) and 12th EVAC Hospital. In 2003 she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She is now president of the Veterans of Modern Warfare and an advocate for Gulf War veterans’ health.

Shillingford, an African-American woman raised in Philadelphia, joined the U.S. Army in order to attend college. She was deployed to the Persian Gulf for 10 months and remained in the military, rising to rank of Chief Warrant Officer 4.

Raised on an Indian Reservation, Mullen is a pioneer for American Indian women in the U.S. Air Force and currently serves as the American Indian Veterans Liaison for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds nearly 152 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its award-winning website at

Congress created the Veterans History Project in 2000 as a national documentation program of the American Folklife Center ( to collect, preserve and make accessible the first-hand remembrances of American wartime veterans from World War I through the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. The project relies on volunteers to record veterans’ remembrances using guidelines accessible at Volunteers may request more information at or the toll-free message line at (888) 371-5848. Subscribe to VHP’s RSS feed on the VHP home page.

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PR 12-052
ISSN 0731-3527

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