Women’s Army Corps, Reserves, Utah Army National Guard, Army Nurse Corps
United States, Germany
Pamela “PJ” Jennings struggled very early in life facing many adversities, as well as being separated from her family. As she matured, growing up protesting the Vietnam War, Jennings had a change of heart and traded in her “love beads for dog tags.” She joined the Women’s Army Corps wanting to prove she could amount to something.
With limited options for women, Jennings began nursing school. Hearing about opportunities in the Utah National Guard, she quickly transferred to the 19th Special Forces (Airborne) as a supply sergeant and then jump school. Jennings made it through Airborne School undeterred by the “boys club” and restrictive policies that unscrupulously mistreated women and continued to pursue her goals to be in the medical field.
After 13 years with the Utah National Guard, she took a commission with the Army Nurse Corps. Her duties included being stationed in Washington DC as a nurse consultant and in Hohenfels, Germany, at a US Army clinic. She retired in 1999 as a captain and continued to serve as a nurse at the Salt Lake VA Medical Center for another 20 years.
Jennings found satisfaction working in pain management, palliative care, hospice and outpatient care including the LGBTQ Clinic referred to as the Gender Identity Veterans Experience (GIVE). Jennings continues to shine as a champion for women’s health by encouraging women veterans to seek the help they are entitled to.
“It is important to me to make my experiences worthwhile,” Jennings said. “You get back what you put in.”