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"I remember nights, sitting outside of our tent on the gravel and listening to the call to prayers from the town... it was a beautiful sound, at night, in the middle of this wacky tent city, and it was surreal sometimes." (Video interview, 17:50).

   Meg Parrish Miner
Collection image
Meg Miner [1990]
War: Persian Gulf War, 1991
Branch: Air Force
Service Location: Mount Home Air Force Base, Idaho; Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma; Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada; Hahn Air Base and Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany; Turkey
Rank: Technical Sergeant
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Recruited by the Air Force, Meg Parrish Miner joined the military straight out of high school, enticed by the chance to leave her small town, get an education, and hold the impressive-sounding title of "jet engine mechanic"--despite having zero background in any kind of mechanics. The sixteen years she spent in the military--including with the famous Thunderbird division, and then working on F-16s while stationed in Turkey following the Gulf War--proved to be eye-opening, as she had hoped. In her oral history interview, she discusses how her time in the Air Force made her more resilient, the challenges she faced as a gay woman serving in a predominantly male environment, and her shifting thoughts on the role of the military post-9/11.

Interview (Video)
»Interview Highlights  (10 clips)
» Part 1 
Download: video (63 min.)
»Photo Album  (3 photos)
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»Persian Gulf War: 25 Years Later
 Video (Interview Excerpts) (10 items)
Impetus to join the military; recruited by the Air Force; given training to become a jet engine mechanic. (01:38) Boot camp meant meeting people of wide variety of ages and backgrounds; learning to survive mind games. (01:33) Working on F-16 airplanes during duty assignment to Turkey; first experience with airplanes. (00:57)
Keeping in touch with family and friends while stationed in Turkey; stress of having to be circumspect in communicating with her girlfriend; living conditions and food in Turkey. (05:25) Incident involving a suspicious bag; working in the Maintenance Operations Center; thinking deeply about the meaning of the war. (03:06) Interactions with officers and pilots; treatment by male colleagues; her approach to working with them. (02:14)
Impact of service on her attitude; made her more resilient. (00:53) Experiences as a lesbian serving in the Air Force; her experiences and status as LGBT as a factor in her decision to retire early. (05:48) Advocacy for LGBT rights. (03:16)
Thoughts on the American military post-9/11. (-57:-56)  

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  October 26, 2011
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