Women celebrate 75 years in the military

Posted at 10:56 AM, Jul 04, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-04 11:56:29-04

KILLEEN, Texas — This year marks 75 years of women serving in the military but serving together does not mean going through the same experience.

Kametra Marzette grew up in a military family, so it was no surprise when she joined in the Air Force in 2001.

"My parents were both military, both Army," Marzette told 25 News. "I basically had an ID card since I was born."

While she says her 21 years in the service was a great experience, she also faced some challenges as a woman in the military.

"I will say when you walk into a room, there's more men than women," Marzette said. "There are times where you have to outperform or outshine to be seen."

Working harder to be taken seriously is just one of the obstacles women in the military face.

Studies show they are more than twice as likely to experience PTSD and almost nine times as likely to report military sexual trauma. All this on top of the many challenges they face at home.

"They still have often times multiple roles they have to play," Dr. Cheryl Paulhus, director of the Stephen A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Endeavors, said. "They have to care for their children while also being intensely focused on their mission in the military. We also see women having multiple deployments which was not always the case."

This strain can build up over time.

"I remember I was station in El Paso which is where I'm from," Marzette recalled. "I was about to retire, my husband was away because he's also active duty, I was working, going to school for my masters, I was trying to plan my retirement. I was going to work one day and I was driving and I broke down on my way to work. The stress had built up and I didn't even realize it."

Both men and women service members can face this level of stress and are encouraged to seek help if needed.

"Trauma and stress-related disorders are highly treatable and there are many different ways to approach treatment," Dr. Paulhus said.

The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic in Killeen helps veterans of all ages, genders and backgrounds. Dr. Paulhus said no one is beyond repair.

"It is never too late for someone to seek treatment," she said. "It may be that folks have tried a lot of things on their own and have gotten partway there and they just need to get a little bit extra help."

"It's okay to have a bad day, but when those bad days start to accumulate and you can't find your way to a good day, that's when you need to call," Marzette said.