air force veteran honored

BEAVERCREEK, Ohio – Retired Air Force Col. Linda Strite Murnane is being honored this month for Women’s History Month after a nearly 30-year career. She said she just wanted a fair chance to get to her goal from her.

What You Need To Know

  • Retired Col. Linda Strite Murnane had an almost 30-year career in the Air Force, but when she started in 1979, there were rules that nearly kept her from her goals
  • Her goal was to go to college through a military-funded program, study law, and become a judge
  • With the help of mentors and supporters, she pushed through, got into a program, was a judge in the military for years, and made history

Murnane said it took many sacrifices to join the Air Force.

“If you got pregnant when I enlisted in 1974, the rule was that you were discharged immediately,” said Murnane.

She joined the Air Force anyway and without children at the time.

She says for her, it was the only way to pay for college and she wanted to study law. She applied for the military-funded legal education program, but she said even that it was a problem for women, and she was turned away.

“They told me if I had only gone to the Air Force Academy, they’d know I was committed, and I said ‘with all due respect, women weren’t eligible to go to the United States Air Force Academy, it was a male-only institution,’ and he responded, ‘Well, there is that,’” said Murnane.

She didn’t let it stop here. Murnane drove hundreds of thousands every night to a school that accepted her. She then reapplied for that same military-funded program, and this time she got it.

“You can imagine how challenging it was to get one of those seven slots, but that same day, guess what I found out? I was pregnant with my first child. At that point, they had never sent a pregnant woman to a funded graduate program,” said Murnane.

She said the military gave her six weeks to lose her baby weight and pass a physical test if she wanted to keep her spot.

She was back in class five days after her daughter was born.

“I had to do well. If I failed, the next woman coming down the road would be a long time coming, particularly a woman who was pregnant,” said Murnane.

She had a second baby and was taking care of their father, who’d become disabled.

Even through all the challenges, she still got her law degree from the University of Cincinnati and became an international trial judge in the Air Force.

After almost 30 years in the military, she’s now a grandmother and still working in a private legal office in Beavercreek while taking her place in women’s history.

Murnane is among the honorees at the Dayton Women’s Club March 26 for a special tribute to women’s luncheon.

You can also read more about Murnane’s story in the book “Ohio Women in the Military.” Children’s Historical Publishing released the book with her biography of her and is a sponsor for the women’s tribute luncheon.

You can find more information about it here.


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