Four Naperville Veterans To Be Part Of First All-Female Veteran Flight


Women veterans who served in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War were greeted with cheers and applause at Operation HerStory‘s at Judd Kendall VFW Post 3873 in Naperville. The organization celebrated the news that it will be making the state’s first all-female veteran flight to Washington DC in partnership with Chicago Honor Flight.

Naperville Veterans

Four of those flying are residents of Naperville who have all served in Vietnam. Veterinarians spoke of the disparities between men and women, but also nurses and enlisted men. Betsy Ludwig was a nurse who was dating a male body they were both stationed at. His major separated them.

“When she first approached me she said ‘you know you’re not supposed to date someone’ and I said ‘I know, but I’m going to marry her'” , said Ludwig. “And he’s here with me now, we’re getting to 50 years of marriage. Too bad for the rules.

Catherine Harvey, who was also a nurse, said being friends with the enlisted was seen as fellowship. However, now things have changed.

“It’s up to you to be who you want to be and there is so much, as we’ve mentioned before, so much opportunity for women today,” Harvey said. “So it’s right up, up, up. Do what you want to do, what you love. The sky is a limit.

First all-female flight

The four local veterans will take an all-expenses-paid trip to the skies to visit the national war memorials in Washington DC “For me, I just met these two ladies here in Naperville,” said veteran Kay Akins. “Meeting other women because it’s a bit like a fraternity. Hear their stories, where they were.

Launching the program has been a major goal for Operation HerStory. The organization aims to highlight the contributions of women in the military and to bring together the Sisters in Arms. Making those connections is what Naperville veterans look forward to, as you never know where you might be – just like Ludwig and Harvey.

“It was really exciting to see someone where I live today, was at the same base, knows this base,” said Harvey.

After being postponed last year due to the pandemic, the flight will take off on October 6.

“I’m going for my dad, I’m going for my husband who is also a Vietnam vet,” Ludwig said. “And I’m going to get my son who is a Navy veterinarian who has flown FATs on two deployments. And for all of our veterans. God bless them.”

Aysha Ashley Househ of Naperville News 17 reports.

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