Veterans Day program at PrimeLife features Fishers women


At age 19, Judy Armstrong decided she wanted to join the military and needed to convince her father to sign permission.

“I was restless,” Armstrong said. “I knew so many military people and I just thought it was something I wanted to do.”

Armstrong joined the U.S. Air Force in 1956, working in the military air transport control center in Charleston, S.C.

“We had to keep track of the crews, the planes and payloads,” Armstrong said. “I was an airman second class.”

Armstrong and fellow Fishers resident Aileen Cloonan, 95, were featured during a reading of several female veteran stories at PrimeLife Enrichment in Carmel. The Honoring Women Veterans program, which was created by PrimeLife Activity Coordinator Dee Timi, was presented Nov. 7.

Armstrong, who served two years, met her husband, Lewis Armstrong, during her service. Lewis, an Air Force member, died in 2004.

At that time, Armstrong, now 80, said women in the military were supposed to be married so she left the service to marry Lewis.

Cloonan, who was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Corp. in August 1945 near the end of World War II, was discharged in May 1948. Cloonan, who already had a college degree in biology, had decided to join because her brother had polio and could not serve.

Cloonan worked as a physical therapist at different spots, including Camp Atterbury in Edinburgh. She served 18 months at Letterman General Hospital in San Francisco, among other facilities.

Cloonan, who continued being a physical therapist after her service, said hearing her personal history read aloud was completely different.

“For the first time, I got to hear it in third person,” she said.

Armstrong admitted it was a bit odd to hear her story read by another woman.

“Dee had us write down our memories,” Armstrong said. “We told her what we could remember little by little and she put it together. She interviewed us several times.”

Armstrong’s daughter, Karen, lives in McCordsville. Her son, Ken, is an investigative reporter and lives in Seattle.


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