“I Found My Heart In The Army”: From WAC To Sergeant Major

Donna Lowery


Sergeant Major (R) Donna Lowery grew up in New York and Oregon. She joined the Army partly because her father served in the Military in World War II, but also because it was “difficult to be a woman,” in the 1960s. While working at Ft. Monmouth, New Jersey, she was selected for assignment to Vietnam, deploying on January 31, 1967. In Vietnam, she was profoundly influenced by 1SG Marion Crawford and SFC Betty Benson, who inspired her development from a “scatterbrained” young Non-Commissioned Officer to a confident leader. It was in Vietnam that she realized the Army offered her a tremendous potential career. She left Vietnam on August 19, 1968 and was reassigned to Germany where, at 21, she was the youngest First Sergeant serving outside a combat zone. During her career, Donna Lowery served as First Sergeant of three different companies before being promoted to Sergeant Major. In this interview, Sergeant Major (R) Donna Lowery discusses her childhood, her decision to join the Army, her service in Vietnam, and her leadership style as First Sergeant and Sergeant Major. She describes her frustration at deploying in heels and skirts, without weapons. She also talks about her day to day duties, as well as the people she served with. Finally, she asserts that Vietnam was a positive experience for her that led to a lifetime of service to her Soldiers and to the Nation.


conflicts Vietnam War
topics Camaraderie Morale Patriotism Returning from War Taking on a New Command Women in Service Leadership
interviewer David Siry
date 25 August 2016


name Donna Lowery
service WAC
unit USARV, Special Troops Personnel, Personnel Records Clerk; S4 NCOIC
service dates 1965 1991