Female veteran from North Dakota recognized during Honor Flight
WASHINGTON, D.C. (KFYR) - The veterans on this year’s Western North Dakota Honor Flight spent a full day Sunday touring national military monuments all around the nation’s capital.
They tell us the experience has been powerful so far. But one site stood out for being especially emotional.
The organizers added a stop at the Military Women’s Memorial after having their first female veteran sign up for the trip.
Vikki Neff-Tolbert, from Turtle Lake, needed only to take a few steps inside the museum to feel its significance. The monument erected in 1997 honors female service members of the past and present. For Vikki, it brings up a lot of history.
“It’s just amazing. I mean, I went in and I was the group that was the last women’s Army Corps. And this acknowledgment and what it’s meant. I’m just in awe,” she said.
Vikki recalls what it was like to serve alongside men who often treated women in uniform differently.
“There were a lot of females at that time that enlisted,” she explained of her service in the Army in the mid-1970s. “So, whereas the guys got several sets of uniforms, we got two. We wore one and at night, we would have to wash one and liquid starch them so when they dried, you could hold them up like this,” she motioned with her hand.
Still, Vikki says her time in the military is one of the greatest points of pride in her life.
The mission of the museum is to hear stories like Vikki’s and share them with other Americans. Staff honored Vikki’s story with a commemorative booklet of her story so she could leave with the same feeling she had when she came in, knowing she’s a part of history and celebrated just the same.
Vikki says this trip is even more meaningful to her because she’s traveling with two of her uncles, who are also veterans.
Of the more than 180 veterans Western ND Honor Flight has so far flown to Washington, D.C., Vikki is the first female veteran.
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