Becoming a F-111 Mechanic During Vietnam

What was it like to serve during the Vietnam War as a Woman? Check out Diane Sherwood’s experience of serving in the Air Force during Vietnam. As one of the first women to be a jet engine mechanic she found a supportive group. Unlike many stories you hear of harassment and overcoming difficulties, Diane had a great military experience. 

vietnam era veteran Diane Sherwood

Listen to the full episode here.

Vietnam Era Veteran

Diane Sherwood served in the Air Force and she is a Vietnam Era veteran. She was a Jet Engine Mechanic on F-111 fighter jets. She was stationed at Mountain Home AFB in Idaho. In the end, she loved the west so much that she moved to Boise, 50 miles from the base when she got out and lived in Boise for many years. After being in Idaho for 20 years, my daughter & she moved back to Minnesota where she was born. She currently works as a waitress so I have flexible time to work on my non-profit organization. She started the Remember Rally after 9/11 and we do events to honor military and first responders. Our current project and goal is to build a Veterans Memorial in her hometown of Luverne, MN.

Female Mechanic

Diane decided to join the military because it sounded interesting. When she joined there were not a lot of options open to women, but while at boot camp she was given the option to switch from being a dental assistant to a mechanic. She said, “It sounded like fun” so she decided to sign up to do it.

She loved being a mechanic. Even though she was the only female in her shop she did not face challenges. She even decided she wanted to work on the flight line and the base worked to figure out how a woman could work on the flight line since it had never been done before. As a mechanic, she worked on F-111 jets and was responsible for the engine. On the flight line, she would run the pre-flight safety check and get the engine started. She absolutely loved everything about her job.

After the Military

She left the military after her first enlistment, ready to try something new. She didn’t get involved in the veteran community until September 11th happened. It lit something inside of her that she wanted to help those who sacrificed so much during and after the events of September 11th. She is continuing to work to build a memorial in her hometown of Luverne, MN.

Connect with Diane: 


Related Episodes:

A Female Vietnam Veteran – Episode 5

Climbing the Ranks to Brigadier General – Episode 65

Women Who Gave the Ultimate Sacrifice – Episode 75

What was it like to be one of the first women mechanics for the F-111 during Vietnam? Check out Diane's story on the Women of the Military Podcast! #vietnam #military #airfoce #f111 #mechanic #militarywoman #womanofthemilitary

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