MF144 Women in the Military

Document Type

Oral History

Interviewee name

Donna Loring


Mazie Hough and Carol Toner

Interview date


Interview location

Augusta, Maine



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Donna Loring, interviewed by Mazie Hough and Carol Toner, June 19, 2001, in Augusta, Maine. Loring, age 53, talks about enlisting in the Army in the Vietnam War; her experiences of discrimination as a Native American in Maine; boarding school; taking an aptitude test after enlisting; basic training; her role as a member of the Signal Corps; the dangers of the job; rising through the ranks; the detachment of the Women’s Army Corps from the rest of the Army; women soldiers and weapons; leaving the base against orders; racism in the military; diversity within the W.A.C.; the psychological effects; leisure time; feeling alone in her experiences; her reception upon returning; her service as a learning experience; her family members’ service; the relative uniqueness of her Vietnam experience; bonding with Vietnam veterans; other women’s exposure to carcinogens during the war; returning to Vietnam in 1997; and her work with the Maine Women's Veterans Commission. Text: 19 pp. transcript. Recording: No recording. Restrictions: None. Approval to release provided by James Francis of the Penobscot Historic Preservation Committee, 2024-02-23.


Military History | Oral History | United States History | Women's History

Birth date

October 1, 1948


Indian Island, Old Town, Penobscot County, Maine

Nation of origin

United States

Home state/Territory





Native American

Ethnic group



Retired police officer; author, broadcaster, and tribal representative of the Penobscot Nation in the American state of Maine

Civic groups


Branch of service

U.S. Army

Service Unit

Communication Center Company C, 44th Signal Battalion, 160th Signal Group, 1st Signal Brigade

Dates of service

1966-1972; Vietnam November 1967 - November 1968

Date of entry


Service entry


Location of Service

U.S. Army Vietnam Communication Center, Long Binh, Vietnam

Awards & Ribbons

First Signal Brigade Presidential Citation; Vietnam Service Ribbon; Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal; National Defense Ribbon; Certificate of Achievement 160th Signal Group, 1st Signal Brigade, U.S.A.

Wars & Conflicts

Vietnam War

Battles & Engagements

Tet Offensive, 1968

Entry Rank

E-1 Private

Highest Rank

E-3 Private First Class

Exit Rank

E-3 Private First Class


Vietnam War, 1961-1975; United States Army; Women soldiers; Communications, Military

Collection name

Women in the Military

Collection number


Item number


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Donna Loring, interviewed by Mazie Hough and Carol Toner



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