Margarethe (Grethe) Cammermeyer was born in 1942 in Oslo, Norway. Her career as nurse in the military included distinguished
service in Vietnam, work for the Veteran’s Administration, and a position as Chief Nurse of the Washington National Guard.
As a result of her statement in an interview for top security clearance that she was a lesbian, she was separated from the
military in 1992. She successfully challenged her discharge and the military’s regulations that mandated that lesbians and
gay men be separated from the service. This experience, documented in her memoir,
Serving in Silence, inspired her to become involved in LGBT activism and politics. The Margarethe Cammermeyer papers contain her personal, professional,
and activist materials including correspondence, legal documents, photographs, videotapes, ephemera and other materials. The
majority of the material relates to her successful challenge in the courts of both her discharge and the military’s regulations
that mandated that lesbians and gay men be separated from the service between 1992 and 1997.
Margarethe Cammermeyer was born on March 24, 1942 in Oslo, Norway. Her family immigrated to the United States in 1951, settling
near Washington, D.C. She became an American citizen in 1960. From 1959 to 1963 she attended the University of Maryland, College
Park, earning a Bachelors of Science in Nursing. In 1961, while at the University of Maryland, she joined the Army Student
Nurse Program. Upon graduation in 1963, she reported for active duty, serving in United States Army Nursing Corps at Fort
Sam Houston, Texas, Martin Army Hospital at Ft. Benning, Georgia, and a 2-year tour in Nuremberg, Germany. In Germany she
married fellow soldier, Harvey Hawken, in 1965. At her request in 1967, she was sent to the 24th Evacuation Hospital at Long
Binh, Vietnam where she served for 14 months as head nurse of a medical unit and of the neurosurgical intensive care unit.
She was awarded a Bronze Star. She was forced to leave the military in 1968 when she became pregnant with the first of her
four sons, as women were not permitted to have dependents.
26 linear ft.
(59 document boxes, 2 record cartons, 1 flat box)
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