Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System
Oklahoma Woman Looks Back on Service with Pride
After graduating from Northeastern State University in 1997 with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, Venetta Pouncil-Douglas felt a calling to serve.
But Pouncil-Douglas, who was born in Muskogee, Okla. and grew up in Taft, also admitted that she was apprehensive about the rigors of Army Basic Combat Training and was unsure if she had what it took to become a soldier.
“I woke up one day and wondered if I can do this,” said Pouncil-Douglas, who served in the Army from 1998 to 2004. “I have a cousin who is 4’11 and she was in the Army Reserve for 20 plus years. I thought, ‘if she can do this, than I can do this.’ It was a mental thing. I don’t know unless I try.”
With no prior experience shooting weapons, Pouncil-Douglas struggled during basic training to qualify on her rifle, which is a requirement to become a solider.
“Initially, I struggled at the range shooting,” said Pouncil-Douglas, who receives her health care at the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center. “I was the last person in my battalion in basic training to qualify. Everything else, I had mastered. It was frustrating. But finally, I got it.”
“I’m grateful to have served my country and to have deployed and seen the world”
During the basic training graduation ceremony, Pouncil-Douglas was filled with pride at her accomplishment.
“I felt pride that I could wear the uniform and serve my country,” she said. “It’s the whole prideful thing of ‘I did this.’”
After basic training, Pouncil-Douglas completed training for her new job in warehouse supply and was sent to Kitizgen, Germany where she served from July 1999 to July 2001. Her job was to order supplies for Army units stationed throughout Europe and then coordinate shipping.
“I ordered everything from fire extinguishers, pens, pencils, chemical lights, tape, parts and tools,” she said. “I sent in the mass order and then it got processed in my warehouse and then we either shipped it out to the units or they came and picked it up.”
Along with a desire to serve, Pouncil-Douglas wanted to see the world and that’s exactly what she did. She took advantage of trips that were organized by the Army’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation Office and visited the Czech Republic, Italy, London, Poland, Spain and Switzerland.
“I thought ‘this may be a way I can see the world,” said Pouncil-Douglas about her decision to enlist. “It served two purposes. I can serve in the military and say I did this and I can see the world. Then I wanted to deploy because I guess I felt like that was part of being in the military and serving.”
After Germany, Pouncil-Douglas was assigned to the 31st Air Defense Artillery Brigade, 3rd Battalion 2nd Air Defense Artillery at Fort Bliss, Texas.
Shortly after the Nation was attacked on Sept. 11, 2001, she deployed to Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base in Kuwait, located 75 miles south of the Iraqi border, from February 2002 to September 2002. Then she deployed a second time to Al Udeid Air Base in Doha, Qatar during February 2003 to June 2003.
During both deployments, her battalion operated Patriot anti-aircraft missiles in those countries to protect American forces stationed in the region. Her job was to ensure her battalion had the supplies it needed to perform its mission.
“I ordered everything from tool boxes, water, MREs to barbed wire,” she said. “When you deploy, you take everything with you. Then sometimes you can’t bring back what’s taken. So when you get back, you have to reorder all the things you lost.”
Looking back on her six years in the Army and the two deployments, Pouncil-Douglas has no regrets about her service.
“I’m grateful to have served my country and to have deployed and seen the world,” said Pouncil-Douglas, who has been employed as a Probation Officer for Tulsa County since 2006. “I’m grateful to have learned a job and all the wonderful people that I’ve met. So overall, it was a rewarding experience.”
Honoring Our Women Veterans
March is Women’s History Month and VA salutes our women Veterans for their accomplishments and contributions to society. For generations, women Veterans have honorably served in the military, and their successes don’t stop when they take off the uniform.
Women Veterans are leaders – they have broken barriers for the generations that have followed and capitalized on the many leadership opportunities afforded by military service.
VA is committed to providing our Nation’s more than 2 million women Veterans the outstanding health care, benefits and services they deserve for their service to America.
In Fiscal Year 2013, VA provided unprecedented support to women Veterans:
•More than 329,000 received compensation benefits, a nine percent increase from 2012.
•122,000 received education benefits, a 14 percent increase from 2012
•More than 17,000 were admitted to the vocational rehabilitation and employment program, an eight percent increase from 2012
•Nearly 33,000 received $1.9 billion in home loan guaranty benefits
Through outreach and education efforts, VA is working to increase those numbers. For information on services available to women Veterans, visit http://www.va.gov/womenvet. Veterans can also learn more about services for women Veterans by contacting Susie Hartsell, JCMVAMC Women Veterans Program Manager, at 918-577-4277.