Operation HerStory

 

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Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs Home Coordinator Gwen Diehl to Join Operation HerStory All-Female Honor Flight

Chicago, IL – Gwen M. Diehl. Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs Veteran Home Coordinator will join the Operation HerStory all-female honor flight on October 6th. Diehl joined the IDVA in 1996 and has served in roles including Data Entry Clerk, Administrative Assistant to Deputy Directors and Senior Public Service Administrators, and her current role where she conducts long-term planning for future capital projects to meet the needs of veterans. Diehl also served six years on the United States Department of Veterans Affairs Women's Advisory Committee.

Operation HerStory is a partnership between many organizations including Honor Flight Chicago Daughters of the American Revolution, and Illinois Joining Forces to provide this special opportunity to the more than 7,000 senior women veterans in Illinois. This one-day all-expense paid trip originates in Chicago and arrives in Washington D.C. for visits to historic sites including the Women's Memorial in Arlington Cemetery and the Vietnam Women's Memorial on the National Mall built in their honor.

"Gwen has been a dedicated advocate for veterans since her retirement after more than 20 years of service, said Acting Director Prince. "Her contributions to IDVA have been invaluable. She has impacted the lives of hundreds of veterans. Operation HerStory gives her an opportunity to be honored and spend time with the women who served before and alongside her. We are honored she is part of the IDVA family."

Diehl joined the Army in 1972 where she participated in Basic Training at Ft. McClellan, Alabama and Intensive Training at Fort Polk, Louisiana. Her stateside assignments brought her around the country including Fort Leonard Wood Missouri, Fort Bliss, Texas, Barstow, California and Indianapolis Indiana. Abroad, she was assigned to New Ulm, Heidelberg/Schwetzingen, and Ansbach, Germany, and Iraq.

Diehl was deployed to Support Squadron to Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm in Iraq and was the oldest of 34 women who deployed into the combat theater with the Support Squadron. She maintained continuity of operations for personnel services mail operations, and Red Cross/Emergency leave procedures. She served in the deployed Rear Attachment three miles from the Iraq Border. She is a recipient of the Bronze Star for her valiant efforts.

"Participating in Operation HerStory offers me the opportunity to stand shoulder to shoulder with the heroes who blazed trains that I chose to follow," said Diehl. "Many returned home from combat and handled their experiences alone. This flight reminds us that we are a united front and we are not alone."

Diehl, a resident of Taylorville, has two sons and six grandchildren. She recently lost her husband of 46 years Don R. Diehl, Jr., who also served in the Army. He cared for their sons while Gwen Diehl was deployed to Iraq.

 

 

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Josephine Bogdanich, Manteno Veterans Home resident,

participates in First All-Female Honor Flight

Manteno, IL -- Josephine Bogdanich, Women Army Corps, US Army Corps, resident of the Manteno Veterans' Home since 2017, will board her second honor flight and the first all-female honor flight, Operation HerStory, October 6, 2021.

Operation HerStory is a partnership between many organizations including Honor Flight Chicago, Daughters of the American Revolution, and Illinois Joining Forces to provide this special opportunity to the more than 7,000 senior women veterans in Illinois. This one-day, all-expense paid trip originates in Chicago and arrives in Washington, D.C. for visits to historic sites including the Women's Memorial in Arlington Cemetery and the Vietnam Women's Memorial on the National Mall, memorials built in their honor.  Bogdanich, 104, is the oldest veteran joining the Honor Flight.

"Women veterans have shaped our nation through their sacrifices and their service," said Acting Director Terry Prince. "Operation HerStory honors their commitment and offers them this special occasion to join together to celebrate their shared service. Josephine courageously answered the call to serve. We are honored she is part of our Manteno family."

Bogdanich enlisted, along with her sister, in 1944 and was assigned to Selfridge Air National Base in Mt. Clemens, Michigan. After a short time, she was sent to Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, and later to Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. At Langley, she received teletype training and served in the Mail Department where she handled mail and packages that were sent to servicemen. At times, she and fellow WACs from the Mail Department wrote notes to soldiers who did not receive any mail, hoping that a note would lift their spirits and let a soldier know that someone was thinking of them.

Bogdanich was discharged from the service in Santa Monica, California, in 1946 and returned to her job at Illinois Bell Telephone, before being hired to do office work for the Indiana Railroad Company near the stockyards. Bogdanich and her husband Andrew have one son Nicholas. They lived on Chicago's southside before she moved to the Manteno Veterans home.

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For more on Bogdanich: https://secure-web.cisco.com/1FV470vKN5qlKFHY4QW7OyqlcZSMikRAF6YpzLmtnw8vBVtJ3kC2dNJnN4pr3Sou9EjpUEkKsiXC2b4MzbBPxKa4VuhTvczkXxkZVp4Eoph3dbntd0SBvUWsKSVkkMTcU3HQSTnfoQfLtOmaMjefqt3mZeNdbKW0R0AO9LCmCj4OW1kWgkOMG4oebXaGBdTb5A8Go2MZBieLz5Ze-exJeywYozddbuX4YpnUOPpRDExIA2Gz0Qm7ObICnO4t2vXeGIT0549XeVJJjfL9o0xchsZar2TmBazHOvbiwRn3C6SDpkenTPP-xI2Ax04lxNQb63SzNyC9TQvG9Idk5B5qWnVmh-urgmXxjnZHY-n7Vn-AcNYQXKMOdbm0th-LzBFHLG01kxomahNAeL4ro4fFPCVSGWY04mUrfsaxiuWNez2w/https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pritzkermilitary.org%2Fwhats_on%2Fholt-oral-history-program%2Fjosephine-bogdanich

 

 

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For more information on IDVA: Home (illinois.gov)

For more information on Operation HerStory: Operation HerStory | Operation Herstory