StoryCorps | Texas Public Radio



In 1998, the "Don't ask, don't tell" (DADT) policy was still in effect. This Clinton administration policy was the United States’ official stance on military service by gays, bisexuals, and lesbians, and was not repealed until September 20, 2011. This policy did not deter LGBT activist ­­­­­Joseph "Joedy" Yglesias from enlisting.


While Willie E. Calhoun was in the U.S. Air Force, he had been in several war zones and had witnessed the fear of death in his colleagues. His daughter Shaundrea was different. When she was diagnosed with terminal cancer and only given six months to live, Shaundrea displayed an unfathomable amount of courage.

As unexpected as his daughter’s cancer diagnosis was, Willie believes that his military service prepared him for what was to come next.


As Rick Martinez was graduating from high school in 1982, his drinking and drug use were becoming excessive. After an unsuccessful attempt at college and several months aimlessly playing softball, Martinez knew he needed a lifestyle change. It dawned on him that one of the only ways to get out of his hometown of Corpus Christi was to enlist.

For many people, retirement marks the end of one chapter and the start of another. This is especially true for active-duty personnel when they transition into civilian life.

When asked about her own transition out of the military, Robin Harder — a former Spanish and Russian linguist for the Army — explained that her experience was easier than she thought it would be, in part because she set herself up for success.

As a 1990 graduate of the Air Force Academy, Anne Krause always looked up to women who graduated during the 1980s. Even though she felt a sense of resentment from her male peers during her own time at the academy, she knew that those women had a harder road than she did and that they paved the way for women in the Air Force.