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The NYC Veterans Oral History Project: Martha Taylor Butler, Veteran Interview

September 16, 2013

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    Martha Taylor Butler served in the United States Air Force. Her husband at the time was already in the service, and the date of his separation was the date of her enlistment. Ms. Taylor Butler had a long military career, serving all over the United States and in Korea. She was responsible for guarding a missile, and undergoing war training exercises in Korea that lasted for thirty-six hours at a stretch. During her time in the Air Force, Ms. Taylor Butler also went to college and raised a child. In this interview, Ms. Taylor Butler expresses her love of travel, and how she drove around the countryside in Korea with a Korean note explaining who she was, and she is grateful that her experiences have left her with friends all over the world.


Major Points in Interview

1:30 - Was working on base when she enlisted.

2:19 - Aced linguist test, but declined linguistics job because she did not want to be sent behind the Iron Curtain.

7:22 - Wrote regulations and reports, which her commanding officers received credit for.

8:37 - Went to officer training school.

9:17 - Juggled work, school, and raising a child. Commanders helped her with babysitting.

10:21 - Became the Titan Two Deputy Launch Commander as a commissioned officer.

11:52 - Enjoyed her uniform-- easy to decide what to wear everyday.

14:30 - Went to Korea as an Accounting and Finance Officer.

15:09 -Took her car to Korea and toured the countryside with a Korean note explaining who she was.

15:29 - While touring, saw dog farms, where dogs were raised for food.

16:33 - Present for student uprisings in Korea, restricted to base.

17:57 - War training exercises, 36 hours long.

19:33 - Fired a 38 only in Weapons training.

21:36 - Wore the gun for missile watching duty, was supposed to fire "in case the other person doesn't want to turn the key we were trained to pull the gun on them."

24:45 - Experiences of racism in the Air Force

29:20 - Accounts a story of a black woman Captain who was Court Marshalled in order to protect a male officer.

32:20 - While working in Management Consulting and Internal Control she was fired for "conduct unbecoming," a fabricated charge.

34:00 - When an investigation was launched, she had the highest rating Strategic Air Command ever gave in her field.

36:00 - Instead of writing Letters of Recommendation, officers came to her base to show their support.

37:45 - Very grateful for the people she met.

41:10 - Appreciates the responsibility and self control the demands of a person. Enjoyed it immensely.