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"As soon as I realized I was gay I knew that I wasn’t going to stay in the service." (Audio interview, 51:03)

   Elizabeth Lates Hillman
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War: Persian Gulf War, 1991
Branch: Air Force
Unit: U.S. Space Command
Service Location: ROTC, Durham, North Carolina; Denver and Colorado Springs, Colorado; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Rank: Captain
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A self-described “gung-ho” ROTC cadet, Elizabeth Lates Hillman first put her passion for service to work for the Strategic Defense Initiative, eventually working on a Space Surveillance Center Crew at Cheyenne Air Force Base. When an assignment led her to the University of Pennsylvania to study history in graduate school, she reexamined her sexuality and her relationship to the Air Force, which led her to leave the military for further graduate studies in history and law. As she discusses in her oral history interview, despite her complicated feelings toward the military, her experiences in the Air Force not only informed her second career in military justice, but they were also an integral part to making her who she is today

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (7 clips)
»Complete Interview 
Download: audio (63 min.)
»Transcript
 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (7 items)
Thoughts on how well ROTC prepared her for service after college; comparisons to service academies and other training programs. (01:24) How political situation did or did not influence her choice of assignment. (01:15) Working at Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Based for the Space Surveillance Center. (02:16)
Going to graduate school at Penn; personal and professional changes during her time there. (02:11) Seeing discrimination all over, but knowing how to handle it; becoming aware of systematic discrimination. (02:14) How sexuality influence experiences in the military; seeing military in a new light once she realized she was gay. (01:47)
Questioning military, and her role within it, once she realized she was gay; thoughts on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. (04:00)  
  
 

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  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
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