Female Veteran Shares Story Ahead of Honor Flight

Katherine Camps Served in the 14th Army WAC Band

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In just a few weeks, dozens of Northland veterans are going to be taking off on the trip of a lifetime. They’re headed on a flight to Washington D.C. to see the war memorials that were created in their honor.

It’s thanks to a non-profit organization called Northland Honor Flight that raises the money for them to go.

The veterans are from WWII and the Korean and Vietnam war eras. Each have their own story to tell, like Katherine Camps who served the Army in the 14th Army WAC Band.

“When I got out of school I couldn’t find anything I wanted to do, little jobs and stuff just didn’t seem right,” said Camps.

That’s how it started, the beginning of an unusual path to serve the United States Military.

When Camps joined the army it never crossed her mind that music might become her weapon of choice. Her years of playing the trombone in school immediately made her a candidate for the Army Band.

“They called and said ‘you have been accepted’ and I said ok ‘what does that mean?’ said Camps.

It was an all-female military band, a rare chance to be a professional musician for the country. They served as a recruitment tool with extremely high standards.

“We practiced during the day, 8 hours,” said Camps.

As a female, a large part of the job, was appearances.

“When we would go for a parade, we’d get on the bus and had to stand we couldn’t get any wrinkles in our dresses,” said Camps.

Hems were cut perfectly, hair just a certain length and rules that applied to only women.

“We couldn’t wear pants, slacks or shorts off the company area, we always had to have skirts on,” said Camps. “You had to be perfect for appearances sake, because we represented the Army.”

Camps is the kind of veteran most never even know exist, in the kind job that with time became extinct.

She says she never expected to be honored by strangers  with a trip to Washington D.C. to see the war memorials.

“When they called I almost fell over,” said Camps.  I thought you got to be kidding me.”

But Camps says women should be included on this special trip. The way they served then, has molded the roles of women in the military today.

“Women are vets too,” said Camps. “Now there are combat vets, before there weren’t. But we are all still veterans.”

She’s hoping to see even more female trailblazers to be honored with a special opportunity like this in the future, and urges other women in the military to apply to go on the Honor Flight in the future.

“Just to see everything, and the memories,” said Camps. “Some of the older people will never be able to go back again.”

The 10th Honor Flight Northland will depart on April 29th.

For more information about how to donate to the Honor Flight or if you know a veteran that like to apply, click here.

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