Heart of a Military Woman: A Book of Tributes

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Heart of a

Military Woman:

A Book of Tributes


When I sit and think about all the military influences in my own life today, I don’t have to look very far. I reflect first on my immediate family tree.

My father, Hiram Roush, served in the Army Corps of Engineers, and went on to become one of the best military aircraft design checkers, masterminded the hydraulic wheel lift system on the E-2, and saved the Apollo 11 black box from exploding on impact at the first landing on the moon on July 20, 1969.

Dad’s younger brother, Henry, was killed in a test flight at Miramar Air Station, taking another guy’s shift so he could be with his family.

Dad’s older brother, James Roush, was a B-52 Bombadier, noted for his accuracy and successful missions.

My mother, Beverly Roush, was a Rosie the Riveter, and met my father when working late shifts at the same plant. Several relatives are members of DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution).

Living in a military base town such as San Diego, it was bound to happen that I would meet and marry a man in the Navy, an Air Traffic Controller (Top Gun), stationed on the USS Horne, and later USS Valley Forge. Not sure how “romantic” this was, but he proposed to me during an episode of M*A*S*H. I understand all too well, being a West-Pac Widow, as his ship was assigned to the USS Ranger during the Persian Gulf War. Although he was highly decorated for his merits, he came home a different man, and became an abusive alcoholic. I’ve since dated a Submarine Senior Chief, and a Marine (not that I’m dating my way through the ranks!).

As a professional trainer, many of my clients are from the military world, not only the individuals and their families, but also their service providers, their hospitals, their housing coordinators, and their transition teams.

I have a certain affinity and a special place in my heart for our military, so I’m proud to produce this book of stories from—and tributes to—each and every one: the service member and their loving, dedicated families.

—Sheryl Roush

The Heart of a Military Woman book was proudly released on Veterans Day, 11 Nov 2009. To purchase copies for yourself and as gifts, click here. To schedule co-authors swww.sherylroush.com and/or Eldonna Lewis Fernandez, female motivational and inspirational speakers for your event, click here.

Veteran Photo-Journalist Honors Military in New Book

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Veteran Photo-Journalist

Honors Military in New Book

Debra Ann Ristau served for nine years as a photo-journalist and public affairs specialist in the California Army National Guard.

In 1987, Pope John Paul II came to California and said Mass at the Laguna Seca racetrack, and spoke at Carmel Mission. I flew with the 49th Helicopter Company to assist and write about the event. The Pope is a head of state (the Vatican) and treated as a visiting diplomat, not just head of Catholic Church. Once the Pope and his entourage landed at the Monterey airport, the 49th Helicopter Company, based in Stockton, California, flew the Cardinal’s and Secret Service people to the site while the Pope rode in Marine 1 (the Marine’s helicopter equivalent of Air Force 1). At Carmel Mission the Pope came out to thank all of us who worked behind the scenes, it was very cool. I am wearing a borrowed flight suit because the secret service didn’t want me to be in camoflauge. This photo was taken by the Vatican.

She writes in the new book, Heart of a Military Woman, releasing today–Veterans Day 2009, "Falling atop those memories are the ever present emotions that come forth when I think of my daughter, who was a U.S. Marine and my niece, a Captain in the Army and Bronze Star recipient while serving in Iraq."

General Norman Schwarzkopf came to Modesto to speak at a fund raiser for California State University, Stanislaus and I was lucky enough to meet him, have my photo taken with him, and he autographed my copy of his book, he is one of my military heroes and it was an awesome moment for me – bad hair and all.

No Creature on Earth

As her tribute in the book continues: "The heart of a military woman is like the heart of a lion—strong, fierce, tenacious. She will slay an enemy in a heartbeat to protect her country—or her young. She will defend what she believes is right until her last dying breath. She is a tough and formidable opponent if you intend her harm. Yet, her heart will soften and swell with pride as she looks at Old Glory, or the men and women and children she serves and protects. Her allies, her team, her fellow soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines are her brothers and sisters; and, she will forever feel the bond they share—no matter how long she served on active duty, and for as long as she lives. She is also soft and tender. Her heart aches for home and her loved ones.
Photo above on right: Sp4 Carla Webb, 980th Medical Supply Optical Maintenance, Sacramento, strings communication wires in the field. CAARNG Photo by Sgt. Debra Sonniksen [Ristau], 69th Public Affairs Detachment (PAD)

"She will do what she says. Her word is an iron promise. She is amazing in her ability to adapt, overcome adversity, do whatever it takes, and still dance the night away if given a pair of heels, a dress, and music. She laughs deeper, loves harder, and her heart knows no bounds. That is the heart of a military woman. There is no creature on earth as tough, as tender, as warm, and giving, as generous of spirit, or as protective as a military woman."
Photo: Lieutenant Louise Sanders, Sergeant Debra Sonniksen [Ristau], and Sp4 Melissa Barnes enjoy a brief respite from a Field Training Exercise (FTX), November, 1987. CAARNG Photo by SSgt. Ben Delaney, 69th PAD

~Debra Ann Ristau
USARNG—California, 1985–1994

Heart of a Military Woman is co-authored by Eldonna Lewis Fernandez and Sheryl Roush, female motivational and inspirational speakers.

Heart of a Military Woman is available here.

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