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Saturday, 24 March 2012

Colonel Margarethe (Greta) Cammermeyer

b.  24 March, 1942

Born in Nazi-occupied Oslo, Norway, Greta moved with her family to the US in the early 1950s, and became a US citizen in 1960. After completing collegeat the University of Maryland, in 1963, she went on to active duty in the US Army, taking up nursing as a career (chief nurse of the Washington State National Guard). Colonel Cammermeyer had a long, distinguished and impeccable career. National Guard officer, Vietnam veteran, she earned the Bronze Star for her US military service as well as several citations.

In 1968, having married and had children, the military regulations required that she leave the army, although after a change in the regulations, in 1972 she resumed active duty in the Reserves, serving initially in Seattle, Washington. In 1980 Greta, mother of four sons, divorced her husband. 

In 1985 she was named Nurse of the Year by the Veteran Administration, and in 1987 she was promoted to full colonel. In 1988 she met Diane Divelbess, the woman who was to become her long-term partner.

During an interview for a security clearance in 1989, she honestly acknowledged that she is a lesbian. Greta was fired in 1992, with a dishonorable discharge from the armed forces - she has been the highest ranking officer in the US military to contest its anti-gay policies. 

Greta Cammermeyer

The Federal District Court in Seattle  in 1994 ruled in her favor and she was reinstated in the military.

Greta served for three more years and then retired in 1997. She took up residence in Washington with her partner, Diane, and continues her close relationship with her children and five grandchildren. In 1994 she published her story, Serving In Silence, which became a television movie. In 1997 she ran a Democratic campaign for Congress that, even though unsuccessful, garnered much grassroots support. She is writing a second book about her career as an activist, and hosts a talk-radio show. She has been awarded NOW's Women of Power award, among many other honors.

Sources: on-line encyclopedia 
Matt & Andrej Komasky

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