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Oral History interview of Martha Blair. Interview conducted by Kelly, Karen; Ortiz, Andrew at Orlando, FL.


0:35 Birth place, year born, where she was raised; 0:50 Education; 1:10 Parents occupation: Mother; 1:38 Siblings, Father's occupation; 1:55 Family that served in the military; 2:17 Age she joined the Navy; 2:19 Reasons for enlisting, conversation with parents about joining; 2:55 Impact of Vietnam War for joining; 3:24 Reasons for joining Navy, compared to other branches; 3:45 Joining the Navy as a woman, Men's acceptance of women; 4:53 One regret: Education; 5:30 Expectation of going into the Navy, First time leaving Texas, her job; 6:51 Expectations about Recruit Training and Etiquette training; 8:30 Preparing for RT, didn't know how to swim; 9:22 Reactions coming to Orlando; 9:53 Reactions coming to Orlando again since RT; 11:32 Experience with RT and thoughts on new generation; 13:13 Views affected by the military, what she did after retiring; 14:24 First week in RT; 15:56 Difficulty in the first week, adjusting to eating; 17:03 Daily routines at RTC: studying; 18:21 Type of food served not for women, weight problems and being pregnant; 20:50 Maternity a problem for a lot of women; 23:07 What inspections were like while pregnant; 24:06 Sleeping arrangements at RTC; 25:02 Adjusting to living in a barracks; 25:50 Grinder at RTC; 26:21 The USS Bluejacket; 26:52 Free time at RTC, Disney; 27:55 Things to do for fun, learning from other recruits; 29:37 Fellow trainees she remembers; 30:19 Missing Graduation, coming home and being different from friends/family; 31:52 Thoughts on people training her; 33:38 The Midwatch; 34:42 What she learned from recruit training; 36:13 X Division; 36:30 How RTC prepared her to do things on her own; 37:20 Stationed in Iceland, "stork liners" and life long friendship; 38:41 Most memorable assignment: Iceland and Hawaii (met her husband); 39:42 Moving to exotic places, excitement and fear; 40:32 Time with an air crew; 42:00 Difference between marrying another Navy person and not a civilian; 43:55 Changes for women in the Navy during her lifetime; 45:00 Breaking a concrete ceiling for other women; 46:40 Relationships with other women, sense of "sisterhood", always helping; 48:24 How her family felt about her time in the service; 49:20 Adjusting to civilian life; 50:14 Working with Seabees; 50:38 Years in the service, reasons for retiring; 51:16 Reactions to reunion and talking to other Navy women; 52:30 Time at Recruiting Command; 53:50 END OF INTERVIEW.

Date of Birth


Place of Birth

Port Arthur (Tex.)





Home State


War or Conflict

Vietnam Era



Begin/End date of Service - 1st



Video; MovingImage


Entrance into Service


Branch of Service

U.S. Navy

Unit of Service

RTC Orlando; Comtac sup wing one; NAVCAMS EASTPAC, Wahiawa; Personnel support activity detachment Wahiawa; Recruit training command; Personnel support activity us naval academy in Annapolis; COMFAIRKEF; Seabee U-403 Naval Station Annapolis

Location of Service

Iceland; Hawaii

Highest Rank

Yoeman; YN

Prisoner of War


Service Related Injury





Expert Rifleman Badge; National Defense Medal; Good Conduct Medal


Allowed to stay in the Navy while pregnant; Security Manager in Keslavek; Flew in air crew (not air crew designated).


Worked on the first word processer.

City of Birth

Port Arthur

Country of Birth

United States


Ortiz, Andrew; Kelly, Karen

Interview Date

Fall 10-13-2016

Location of Interview

Orlando, FL.


Blair, Martha S.; Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- Personal Narratives; Women and the military -- United States; United States. Navy

Collection Description

Contains logs, audio and video recordings of interviews with Central Florida's veterans as part of a history class project for the students at the University of Central Florida (UCF). The UCF Community Veterans History Project(CVHP) started in fall 2010. It collects, preserves, and makes accessible to the public the experiences of Central Florida's veterans so that future generations will better understand the realities of conflict. It is a collaborative endeavor supported by multiple departments and offices at UCF. The veterans' histories are archived and made digitally available through the UCF library and selected materials are contributed to the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress.

Contributor Affiliation / Organization

RICHES; University of Central Florida


Kelly, Karen; Ortiz, Andrew

Length of Interview

55 Minutes


Department of History, University of Central Florida




All rights are held by the respective holding institution. This material is posted publicly for non-profit educational uses, excluding printed publication. For permission to reproduce and/or for copyright information contact Special Collections and University Archives, University of Central Florida Libraries, (407) 823-2576. http://library.ucf.edu/about/departments/special-collections-university-archives/


University of Central Florida Libraries, Special Collections & University Archives

Contributing Project

UCF Community Veterans History Project

Document Type