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DACOWITS Educates Public, Lawmakers on Military's Role

By Sgt. 1st Class Kathleen T. Rhem, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 23, 2001 – For 50 years, the Defense Advisory Committee for Women in the Services has led the way in women's fight for equality in the military. And the organization's current leader is focusing on the future.

"This anniversary is a stepping stone not only in that we reflect on the past 50 years but we can look ahead to the next 50 years. There's a lot that needs to be done in the future," said DACOWITS chairwoman Vickie McCall. "I am just thrilled that this will draw attention certainly to those women that have served, the women that are serving and the women that will be serving in the future."

McCall said she wants to work to make the American public more aware of service members' accomplishments and the importance of the military to society.

"I have never, ever, ever been disappointed with what I have seen in terms of our military," she said. "These are just tremendous people -- educated, talented, of such quality and patriotism."

Because the military is smaller now than it has been since before the Korean War -- the same era as DACOWITS' birth -- people have fewer opportunities to interact with service members and veterans. This also tends to keep people unaware of opportunities in the military for their children, McCall said. She wants DACOWITS out waving the military banner high.

"I think it's important to let the public know that we've got people deployed all over the world," she said. She thinks many people believe the military must not be doing anything because the Cold War's over. "I want to be the one that's out there saying, 'Hey, they're working their tails off. They're doing all kinds of things out there to preserve freedom and protect your interests.'"

Calling the military "unheralded heroes," McCall said she also wants her organization to help members of Congress understand the military better.

"We need to make sure that Congress understands our people need resources," she said. "They need the tools that will enable them to do their jobs. If you're going to call on them, they're willing to do it but let's give them what they need."

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