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Oral history interview with Carol Johnson, 2019. Preview this item
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Oral history interview with Carol Johnson, 2019.

Author: Carol Johnson; Rachelle M Halaska; Wisconsin Veterans Museum.
Edition/Format:   Computer file : CD audio : CD for computer   Sound Recording : English
Summary:
This oral history interview with Carol A. Johnson discusses her service with the Navy from 1981 to 2001 including her work tracking Soviet submarines and her work as a K9 handler.
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Details

Genre/Form: Interviews
Sound recordings
Oral histories
Personal narratives
Personal narratives, American
Named Person: Carol A Johnson
Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File, Sound Recording
All Authors / Contributors: Carol Johnson; Rachelle M Halaska; Wisconsin Veterans Museum.
OCLC Number: 1121278834
Notes: Digital access files may be available on request.
Event notes: Interviewed by Rachelle M. Halaska on February 18, 2019 in Appleton, Wisconsin.
Description: Security disc 2 audio discs (approximately 1 hr., 36 min.) ; 4 3/4 inches + Transcript (32 pages)

Abstract:

This oral history interview with Carol A. Johnson discusses her service with the Navy from 1981 to 2001 including her work tracking Soviet submarines and her work as a K9 handler.

Johnson grew up on a farm near Winnebago County. She discusses knowing she was a lesbian from a young age, the difficulties of living in a small town, and the positive influence of female role models in her family. Johnson outlines being discouraged from joining the military by her high school guidance counselor and later deciding to join the Navy at the age of thirty-two. She enlisted in Oshkosh in 1981 as an Ocean Systems Technician-Analyst (OTA). A few days before she was leaving for basic training an anonymous letter was sent stating she was a lesbian and Johnson had to go out and get letters attesting to her character so she could join. Johnson describes humorous instances at boot camp in Orlando, Florida, including her arrival and an incident catching the flag. She discusses her advanced training in Norfolk, Virginia, and how Chief John Walker leaked details of the OTA program to the Soviets. After training, Johnson was sent to Naval Air Station Keflavik, Iceland. She outlines tracking Soviet submarines coming from the Soviet Union, living conditions, the environment of secrecy and participating in intramural sports. Johnson deciding to re-class as a K9 handler, training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, and being sent back to Iceland. During her second tour in Keflavik she describes a confrontation between her K9 unit and on-base security, and being investigated for homosexuality. Johnson attended Master-at-Arms School at Fort McClellan, Alabama, and was then stationed at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan. Johnson discusses stories of wrangling drunken service members and the K9 unit becoming more integrated in security operations. She was then stationed at Miramar, California, where she managed the kennel. Johnson outlines training, security details at the airport and special events, dealing with pilots, and the Miramar Air Show. Then she was assigned to Naval Air Station North Island, California, where she was chief of police. She describes her security officer that did not like women and how he made the work environment very hostile and how she filed a complaint that led to his reassignment. She was then assigned to Concord Naval Weapons Station, California, where she worked as the chief of police, security officer and the legal officer, and she served there until her retirement in 2001. She worked as a paralegal for a lawyer in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, for twelve years and now lives in Appleton with her partner Kelli. Johnson works seasonally, volunteers, and is a member of American Legion Post 539. She reflects on the strong connections she made in the military and why it is important for people to understand the history of discrimination and exclusion faced by women and homosexuals.

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