Trailblazing Women Veterans: “The Angel of Death”

In the third episode of “Trailblazing Women Veterans,” a special four-part Tango Alpha Lima podcast series in honor of Women’s History Month, the story and Air Force career of combat aviator Allison Black is featured.

Col. Black, who would go to fly more than 2,500 combat hours and later command the First Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field, captivated an American Legion audience at the 2011 Washington Conference, telling her story of how enemy ground forces had been convinced that that the laser pointer used for targeting from her AC-130 was a death ray. In a sense, it was.

U.S. Army National Guard veteran Ashley Gorbulja and American Legion Media & Communications Director Jeff Stoffer salute Col. Black and other women of distinguished military service from the Cold War through the Vietnam War in this episode, which continues a historical journey that began with the Revolutionary War and continues today for women.

A new episode in the series is posted each Wednesday in March.

• Episode 1, which posted March 6, describes the story of Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, the only woman so far to receive the Medal of Honor. The Civil War surgeon and prisoner of war broke ground for women not only in the military but in medicine, as well. The episode also looks back to women who served during the Revolutionary War, others in the Civil War and additional 19th century military conflicts.

• Episode 2remembers the heroic life-saving service of “The Angels of Anzio” of the 56th Evacuation Hospital Unit, nurses who treated wounds on the coast of Italy during World War II at a time when enemy planes paid no heed to the red crosses atop field hospitals. Four of the nurses, including one who lost her life after a shrapnel wound, were the first women in U.S. military history to receive the Silver Star.

• The final episode, scheduled for March 27, shares the harrowing experience of Pvt. Shoshana Johnson, the first Black female held as a prisoner of war and the determination it took for her to survive captivity with bullet wounds in her ankles and abuse from her captors. “Trailblazing Women Veterans” is available in video and audio formats at The series can also be downloaded on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and other popular podcast hosting sites. Listeners of the series are asked to share stories of extraordinary military service among women using the hashtag #MilitaryWomenWednesday.