Deborah Megehe

As Interviewed by Travis Eaves, March 19, 2014

Deborah Megehe: In Her Own Words

There were some issues, because in 1978 when I was in there, there was a lot of prejudice against women. At that time, all the men on ship wanted to come and be stationed at home, be stateside. Because I was a female, I wasn't allowed aboard ship. So, there was a general feeling by some people -- by some men -- that I was taking their buddies’ spots at home.

During my first duty -- stationed at BT 21 -- my supervisor, who was a male, felt very strongly against women, and we knocked heads. It was not pleasant. I had to change from my shift working with him to the mid-shift, working midnight.

When I got out, I joined the Reserves. So, I have both Active-Duty and Reserve time. Since then, I have retired from the Reserves.

I made a lot of very close friends, but we are not in touch any more. For the most part, making close friends is par for the course because you are far away from your family, and whoever it is that you are either stationed with or next to becomes your new family.

I would recommend military service to other women because there are so many different things that are now in place. There is not as much prejudice. There are a lot of rules and regulations in place if there is anything -- you’ve heard about in the Army when there are men who are trying to take sexual advantage of women -- now they are able to speak out! The pay is the same for men and women in the service, too. So, I would recommend it.

I think my only regret is that when I first joined I had just come out of high school, and I had been working for quite a while already. Also, I was making close to $1500 a month being single just out of high school, and then my pay went down drastically. So monetarily would be the only thing that I regret. I did meet my future husband because I was in the service, and then I had my daughter -- so that part totally negates how I felt about joining or the money issue. I have my daughter because I joined the service.