SOUTHAMPTON, N.J. - Military service is often thought of as a male dominated field, but Sunday in Burlington County it was women veterans who were being recognized for their military service.
"It's good to finally be recognized as a woman as a marine," Master Sergeant Diane Johnson said. She, like many of the women in attendance, boasted a lengthy military track record.
"I went to basic training and then to tech school and I have had such an opportunity to travel and see the world and meet a lot of people," Johnson said.
Women now make up close to 10% of all 21 million veterans in the United States. Reverend Floyd White, a retired Colonel who now advocates for women veterans in New Jersey, organized the inaugural event.
"We're trying to expand it and make it inclusive of women in South Jersey in the Philadelphia region to talk about the issues they are confronted with: Healthcare, VA claims, mental health and the challenges they had in the military," White said.
Despite their contributions, many of the women veterans say they have felt overlooked and forgotten. Maria O'Casio, who spent 30 years as an army nurse, says the influx of women into the arms services has help female veterans begin to receive their deserved recognition.
"I can't thank Reverend White enough for everything he has done for us," Retired Master Sergeant Natalie Greene said. "I am very happy that everyone is actually getting acknowledged as a veteran."