Veterans Voices: Janice’s Story

Veterans Voices

WBRE/WYOU-TV -Janice Gavern, is a United States Air Force Vietnam era veteran from Susquehanna County who she is very proud of her service to our county.   This retired air force reserve captain’s new mission includes sharing women veteran’s stories.

     And showing off a her military ambulance.

    Eyewitness News Reporter Cody Butler spent some time with her talking about her military career.

There were a lot of women in the military and the government tried very hard not to emphasize it.”

            Janice Gavern is an air force veteran.

            Growing up in Scranton in the 19-50’s .. She never thought she would join the military… Until college was not an option.

Retd. Capt. Janice gavern/u.s air force

“I couldn’t afford it on my own and the military was one way of earning.. G-I bill “

             Janice enlisted in 1967.. Not only to get a degree.. But to demonstrate that women can defend the United States.

 “Even though we weren’t required to defend it so this was a way to do that and to do something to support our country.”

            The now Susquehanna County resident did just that for more than two decades in the Air Force Reserve.- retiring as an Air Force Reserve Captain.

             Through school and training.. Janice became a tech sergeant 

            For 14 years she specialized in logistic planning for equipment that was  being developed 20 years out. 

  “That was very interesting to me and very rewarding. I mean it felt like you were really accomplishing something.”

            Until a health concern —

 “I was devastated,” Gavern told us.

            Janice developed asthma.

“Now you wouldn’t think too much of asthma but at the time.. That medically disqualified me for worldwide service. So, basically I got a letter in the mail one day that said ‘ah thank you for your service.. Go away.”

            From there.. She didn’t talk to anyone about her time in the air force..

             Five years later.. She opened up…

    When Janice and her daughter made a spontaneous decision to attend a native American Powwow.

“Now if you’ve never been to a Powwow.. And I hadn’t.. I did not realize how much they support the military.”

            Ahead of a traditional dance.. They asked..

“Is anybody out there.. A veteran? If you’re a veteran we invite you to come up and to dance with us. I look at my daughter. I go.. ‘I was a veteran.'”

            That moment had a profound impact on the retired captain.

“Nobody had ever thanked me for my service before. So I wanted to do something eventually to pass that along.”

            Shortly afterShe joined the “American Legion Gardner-Warner Post 154” Near Montrose. 

            For seven years. Janice has been collecting  stories of women veterans — many that were untold.

“They thought the American people were not ready to hear about women who are involved in the military.”

            She purchased a 1967.. Vietnam Era ambulance to highlight an important tool used by women serving at war.

“I wanted something to catch your attention.”

             Janice now uses the display to recognize the proud service of women in the military  including her own..

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