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"How do you know the next day will be a totally different world?" (Video interview, 49:49)

   Debra Lee Roesler
Collection image
Debra Roesler [detail from video]
War: Afghan War, 2001-; Iraq War, 2003-2011
Branch: Army; Army
Unit: Support Operations Officer, 10th Mountain Division; Officer in Charge of Cadet Mess, US Military Academy; Coalition Forces Land Component Command (CFLCC), Kuwait; Headquarters, 3rd Army
Service Location: Hawaii; Berkeley, California; Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; Atlanta, Georgia; Kuwait; Fort Drum, New York; West Point, New York
Rank: Lieutenant Colonel
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Early on in her Army career, Lieutenant Colonel Debra Lee Roesler was told that she would always be considered secondary to her male counterparts. Throughout her time in the service, she treated this as a call to action, rather than a condemnation. Following deployments to the Middle East during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, she became the first female professor of military science at University of California, Berkeley. Despite the hardships she faced during her service abroad, her most challenging post was closer to home: she served as the Officer in charge of the Cadet Mess at West Point. Now retired, she works with the American Legion to aid recent veterans in their transition to civilian life.

Interview (Video)
»Interview Highlights  (6 clips)
»Complete Interview 
Download: video (59 min.)
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»Current Conflicts: Afghanistan and Iraq
 Video (Interview Excerpts) (6 items)
Challenges that she faced as a female Lieutenant; always fighting to rise above expectations; counseling other female soldiers. (03:08) Deployment to Middle East to serve during OEF and OIF; balancing deployment with family concerns. (02:35) Serving as the Officer in charge of the Cadet Mess at West Point; acclimating to the West Point culture; logistical challenges of assignment. (03:02)
Experience as a woman serving as a professor of military science, and in the Middle East. (02:35) Life lessons learned during service; importance of not giving up; taking it as her mission to work for a better future for the world. (01:12) Experiences during and reaction to the terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001. (05:30)

Home » Debra Lee Roesler
  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
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