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Oral history interview with Diana L. Donald, 2019. Preview this item
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Oral history interview with Diana L. Donald, 2019.

Author: Diana L Donald; Ellen Bowers Healey; Wisconsin Veterans Museum.
Edition/Format:   Audiobook on CD : CD audio   Computer File : English
Summary:
In this oral history interview, Diana L. Donald, from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, describes her service with the U.S. Navy from 1985 to 1989 including her service aboard the USS Gompers.
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Details

Genre/Form: Interviews
Sound recordings
Oral histories
Named Person: Diana L Donald
Material Type: Audio book, etc., Internet resource
Document Type: Sound Recording, Computer File, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Diana L Donald; Ellen Bowers Healey; Wisconsin Veterans Museum.
OCLC Number: 1123217422
Notes: Digital access files may be available on request.
Event notes: Interviewed by Ellen Bowers Healey on October 16, 2019, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Description: Security disc 3 audio discs (approximately 2 hr., 3 min.) ; 4 3/4 inches + Transcript (48 pages)

Abstract:

In this oral history interview, Diana L. Donald, from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, describes her service with the U.S. Navy from 1985 to 1989 including her service aboard the USS Gompers.

Diana Donald was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1967 and grew up in Milwaukee and Nashville, Tennessee. She graduated from North Division High School in 1985 and joined the Navy. Donald explains that she wanted to join the military so she could become a firefighter. Donald went to basic training in Orlando, Florida, in 1985 and discusses developing teamwork, graduation day, weapons training, and a swimming lesson. She was selected to be a fireman after training and was assigned to the USS Gompers in Alameda, California. For four years, Donald served aboard the USS Gompers, a destroyer tender. She describes multiple deployments, traveling, living conditions, free time, and sheet metal fabrication work. In 1987, Donald was aboard the USS Samuel Gompers when it was called to tow the USS Stark. She relays details of the incident and explains that she was previously aboard the USS Stark and how it felt oddly personal. Donald discusses sexism and racism that regularly occurred on her ship and that she felt there was no way to report or change the status quo. When she was sexually assaulted aboard her ship, she describes the pressures, the barriers to reporting it, and the difficulties of remaining on the ship with the assailant. Donald recounts experiences on shore, including living in Oakland, California, and shopping in Sasebo, Japan. She left the Navy in 1989 and stayed in Alameda, California, working for a contracting company called DynCorp and as a base security officer. In 1991, Donald moved back to Milwaukee to raise her daughter and be with her family. She outlines working at the Zablocki VA Medical Center for fifteen years, her current position at the Veterans Benefits Administration, and the work she did as an advocate for women within the VA. At the end of the interview, Donald reflects on her military service as a negative experience that expanded her horizons.

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