William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital
Women's History Month
Julie Murray is a 27-year-old OEF (Operation Enduring Freedom), OIF (Operation Iraqi Freedom) Combat Veteran. She joined the Air National Guard, which is part of the Air Force, when she was 20 years old. She served her country for six years and was honorably discharged in September 2009, with the rank of Staff Sergeant.
Julie’s title, besides Staff Sergeant, was Armament Specialist--she and one other woman were the only women in her unit to serve in this capacity. They were responsible, with their unit, the 115th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, to load bombs onto the F-16 Fighting Falcons and perform maintenance on equipment. She talked about her training and the responsibilities to train and mentor new Airmen while serving. Julie says the military helped her to have ambition, self-confidence, and discipline. She also learned to put herself out there as a leader and to see men as equals. She says serving as a woman was hard and sometimes harder than it needed to be because she is a woman.
Julie became a Combat Veteran serving one tour of duty in Qatar and two tours in Balad, Iraq. She says many people don’t think women are on the front lines, but in Iraq there is no definite front line; everywhere is a combat zone.
What would you say about the future of Women in the military?
Julie: I believe it’s going to improve as there are more women today in the military and more joining all the time. There are Women holding top-level positions and making changes to improve the lives of women veterans. Women are gaining power not only by numbers but also by position.
What would you tell young girls and women about joining the Military?
Julie: It’s a wonderful opportunity to grow as an individual and as a professional. You learn a lot about yourself and the possibilities that are available to you. It’s hard at times, but it was what I needed. I was able to do something so I would change and the military helped me do that.
Julie is working towards earning her Masters Degree in Social Work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She works at the Madison Vet Center as the Office Manager helping other Veterans through outreach and advocacy, as well as administrative duties.
Julie’s family is very unique, as her parents had four daughters and they have all served in the military. Jennifer Galloway served in the Army, Kelly McMeans served in the Army, and Julie’s twin sister Jamie also served in the Air National Guard. Kelly, Jamie, and Julie all currently work for the VA hospital in different capacities in Madison. Not only have they served in the military, they are all Combat Veterans.
The eldest, Jennifer, joined the army when she was 19 as an Active Duty Army soldier and was a Military Police Officer stationed in Germany. Jennifer served a tour in Kosovo during her service. The second eldest, Kelly, joined before her last year in High School and went into the Army National Guard where she was an Administrative Specialist and served one tour in Kuwait. She now works as a nurse at the VA in Madison in the SICU. The youngest and Julie’s twin, Jamie, joined the Air Guard when she was 21. She was a Supply Specialist and has done one tour in Kyrgystan and one tour in Qatar. Jamie currently works as a HUC on 4A.