Veterans

August 30, 2012

“Lucki” leads way in march to women’s equality

Doris “Lucki” Allen, left, poses with another member of the Women’s Army Corps. Both are wearing the dress green uniform worn by women during the 1960s and 70s.

In the 1960s, when women in the United States sought the ever-elusive proverbial voice, there was one woman in a jungle crying out to be heard. Ironically, when the fiercely independent Doris “Lucki” Allen volunteered for service in Vietnam at the age of 40, her life and work began to personify the second wave of the feminist movement.

She was a rare breed of female for her time, self-actualized with a bachelor’s degree from the Tuskegee Institute [now Tuskegee University]; Allen was an African-American aspiring to reach her full human capacities. In many ways she embodied the empowered woman that Betty Friedan would herald with the 1963 publication of “The Feminine Mystique.” But despite her accomplishments and years of specialized military training, when she arrived in Long Binh as an enlisted, Spc.7 intelligence analyst in the Women’s Army Corps, or WAC, Allen found herself faced with the same struggle Susie Housewife endured on the home front — the struggle for women’s equality and the search for a voice.

“When I first got to Vietnam it was a matter of ‘You women shouldn’t be here in the first place, now we have to protect you,’” said Allen. “They didn’t like us being there. The nurses were fine because they were in a traditionally feminine role. Men would say, ‘We need the nurses.’ But here come these other women, taking up the good jobs that the men had comfortably sitting behind a desk.”

The WAC, a women’s branch of the U.S. Army, was created May 15, 1942 and disbanded in 1978. Although records are sketchy, roughly 700 WACs served in Vietnam, but at peak strength, only 20 officers and 139 enlisted were in Vietnam at one time. The majority of women were in clerk-typist positions, but other women served in journalism, communications, personnel, finance, automated data processing and intelligence.

While women in the states burned their bras in the name of women’s liberation, Allen’s efforts in support of anti-communist forces took on a pivotal role with the Tet Offensive. Three months after arriving in Long Binh, Allen began advising supervisors of a potential large-scale attack planned for January 31, 1968. Her report “50,000 Chinese,” which referred to the amassing troops as Chinese instead of Viet Cong, fell on deaf ears. The report was submitted 30 days prior to the Tet Offensive, which occurred January 30, 1968, and is today remembered as a major intelligence failure of the war.

In “A Piece of My Heart,” a collection of stories recounting women’s experiences in Vietnam, Allen said “I guess the thing that really sticks about Vietnam is knowing you give them reliable and valid intelligence, but biases can creep through. There are a lot of things that they might have been biased about with me. I was a specialist as opposed to being a sergeant. I was black instead of being something else. I was enlisted instead of being an officer—especially in the milieu [Army Operations Center] where there were only two enlisted people, and I was a WAC.”

Allen believes that people are going to be people when it comes to bias. She learned to be aware of prejudice, to recognize bias and always know it was “them” and not her.

“I asked myself why they weren’t listening and why I wasn’t being heard” she said. “I just recently came up with the reason they didn’t believe me — they weren’t prepared for me. They didn’t know how to look beyond the WAC, black woman in military intelligence. I can’t blame them. I don’t feel bitter.”

When asked what advice she would give to a young female soldier today, Allen said, “first and foremost, she must respect herself. She has to be aggressively assertive.” Like life’s happiness itself, Allen said “you can’t always do it alone, but no one can do it for you,” emphasizing that women must also do their best to be team players.

Allen currently lives in Oakland, Calif. She retired as a chief warrant officer after 30 years of military service and three Bronze Stars. She holds a Ph.D. in psychology and was inducted into the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame at Fort Huachuca in 2009.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Cyber-Security-Scout-Article-06OCT2014

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month

U.S. Army graphic by Lawrence Boyd “You Are the First Line of Defense.” That is the message those who are responsible for the defense of the Army’s networks wants to get out to the rest of the Army during National Cyber S...
 
 

Depression awareness showcased during month of October

Stand To! In observance of October as National Depression Awareness Month, the U.S. Army will join several organizations across America to inform the public about the signs and symptoms of depression. The public will learn the importance of seeking treatment and will be provided information about the availability of free online anonymous behavioral health screenings....
 
 

Robin Williams — could someone have helped?

I haven’t been able to talk about it until now, but I was really angry that Robin Williams committed suicide. I have been a fan of Williams since the Mork and Mindy days and always admired how much he had going for him. I knew he had problems, but somehow never considered that suicide could...
 

 
DoD

DOD recognizes commitment to prevent sexual assault

WASHINGTON — The Defense Department Wednesday honored exceptional groups and individuals from each military component who contributed an innovative idea or approach to positively impact sexual assault prevention and response programs. The Sexual Assault Prevention Innovation Award recognizes Service members and DOD Civilians whose work in support of service members has been particularly notew...
 
 

Trick-or-treat hours set for Fort Huachuca Oct. 31

Fort Huachuca Halloween trick-or-treating will take place Oct. 31 from 6 – 8 p.m. for children under 14. Children 9 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Standard access requirements for the installation remain in effect. This includes the requirement that everyone 16 and over entering the installation provide a valid picture identification and...
 
 

VA processes more than 1.3 million veterans’ claims in FY14

WASHINGTON — More than 1.3 million veterans received decisions on their Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability compensation and pension claims in fiscal year 2014 — the highest number in VA’s history, surpassing last year’s record-breaking production by more than 150,000 claims. This second year of record-breaking production comes as VA continues to transform the...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin