Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Annette L. Bickett, December 9th, 2010

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries

 

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00:00:02 - Introduction / childhood and high school

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Partial Transcript: Okay. I'm rolling. Whenever you're ready--

Segment Synopsis: Bickett gives some basic information about herself. She talks about her childhood and high school experiences, and states that she spent much of that time in Denmark following her parents' divorce.

Keywords: "Gymnasium"; Academics; Culture; Denmark; Divorces; Europe; High schools; Houston (Tex.).; Languages; Liberal arts; Mathematics; Outdoors; Reading; Running; Science; Security and diplomacy; Texas

Subjects: Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce.; United States. Marine Corps.; University of Kentucky.

GPS: Houston (Tex.)
Map Coordinates: 29.762778, -95.383056
00:04:55 - Working and going to college in Denmark / discussions after September 11th, 2001

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Partial Transcript: OK. So you graduate high school--or gymnasium, right?

Segment Synopsis: Bickett discusses the time directly after high school that she spent working and her decision to attend the University of Southern Denmark. She also describes some of the conversations that she had after the September 11th terrorist attacks.

Keywords: Bed and breakfasts; Business administration; Businesses; Colleges; Denmark; Europe; Families; Fathers; Ferries; Freedom; Graduating; High schools; Jobs; Parents; Parties; Service industries; Texas; University of Southern Denmark

Subjects: Education.; September 11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001.; Syddansk universitet

GPS: University of Southern Denmark
Map Coordinates: 55.368611, 10.428056
00:08:44 - Living in the United States again / decision to join the Marine Corps

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Partial Transcript: Okay. So how did, uh, how did 9/11 and these conversations, how did they...

Segment Synopsis: Bickett shares her reasons for deciding to return to the United States after years of living in Denmark. She tells the story of her choosing to join the Marine Corps.

Keywords: Americans; Colleges; Danes; Denmark; Destiny; Fathers; Fulfillment; Houston (Tex.); Mothers; Patriotism; RSO; Recruiters; Recruiting offices; Supportive; United States

Subjects: September 11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001.; United States. Marine Corps.

GPS: Houston (Tex.)
Map Coordinates: 29.762778, -95.383056
00:12:22 - Reasons for joining the military / Officer Candidate School (OCS)

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Partial Transcript: So, what, uh, what were your, your ambitions, your goals, for that decision?

Segment Synopsis: Bickett continues to discuss her reasons for joining the military. She also shares her experiences in Officer Candidate School and tells a story about the time she spent there.

Keywords: Age; Aviation; Boot camp; Chaos; Chow; Contracts; Experience; Flying; Food; Gear; Gunnery Sergeants; Humor; Learning; Maturity; OCS; Officer Candidate School; Patriotism; Ponchos; Quantico (Va.); Rank structure; Stress; Training

Subjects: Military service, Voluntary.; United States. Marine Corps.

GPS: Quantico (Va.)
Map Coordinates: 38.521871, -77.289757
00:18:03 - Training after officer candidate school / duties as an air support control officer

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Partial Transcript: Okay. So, you graduate and you're commissioned.

Segment Synopsis: Bickett discusses the specialized training that she received after Officer Candidate School (OCS). She also describes her responsibilities as an Air Support Control Officer.

Keywords: Air Support Control Officers; Air sickness; Communication; Flight school; Infantry Rifle Platoon Commanders; MAGTF; MOS; Marine Air Ground Task Force; Military Occupation Specialty; Naval Air Station Pensacola (Fla.); Pilots; Quantico (Va.); TBS; Tactics; Test-taking; Tests; The Basic School; Training; Twentynine Palms (Calif.)

Subjects: United States. Marine Corps.

00:21:34 - Joining up with her unit / learning about deployment to Iraq

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Partial Transcript: Okay. So then you graduate there and you go to your--

Segment Synopsis: Bickett describes meeting up with her unit and how she learned about her deployment on the day of her graduation. She also talks about her parents' reaction to her deployment.

Keywords: Air Support Control Officers; Barracks; CO; Camp Pendleton (Calif.); Commanding Officers; Deployment; Enlisted marines; Family; MASS-3; Marine Air Support Squadron-3; OCS; Officer Candidate School; Officers; TBS; The Basic School; Training; Units

Subjects: United States. Marine Corps.

GPS: Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton (Calif.)
Map Coordinates: 33.333333, -117.416667
00:24:44 - Traveling to Iraq

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Partial Transcript: Okay. Uh, let's talk about, you know, you're getting on the plane...

Segment Synopsis: Bickett tells how she and another officer traveled by themselves to Iraq in advance of the main group. She gives her impressions of Kuwait and Iraq.

Keywords: Al-Taqaddum Air Base (Iraq); Camp Fallujah; Flying; Heat; Lost; MEK Compound (Fallujah, Iraq); Maps; Memorization; Mujahedin-E Khalq (Fallujah, Iraq); Officers; Sand; Tents; Training; Traveling; Units

Subjects: Fallujah (Iraq).; Iraq.; Kuwait.; Military weapons.

GPS: Camp Fallujah (Iraq)
Map Coordinates: 33.315264, 43.883169
00:28:44 - Need for efficiency in work / taking over duties and training

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Partial Transcript: Did, did the perception--once you were on the ground in Iraq, did it, did it seem similar to what you had expected going in?

Segment Synopsis: Bickett discusses the need for efficiency in her usual tasks in the military and states that it sometimes made the difference between life and death. She discusses the handoff from the last unit, and how she was prepared to do her work in Iraq.

Keywords: "Angels"; Aircraft; Command and Control; Death; Evacuations; Ground units; IEDs; Injuries; KIA; Killed In Action; Learning; Saving lives; Turnovers; Units

Subjects: Improvised explosive devices.; Iraq.

GPS: Camp Fallujah (Iraq)
Map Coordinates: 33.35000, 43.78333
00:33:38 - Convoy radio relay

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Partial Transcript: Uh, with, with this deployment, uh, was there ever time when, you know, you were required to go off of your, your base or anything like that or was it--

Segment Synopsis: Bickett talks about her work in convoy radio relay and her transition as a new officer.

Keywords: Air travel; Artillery; Bases; Convoy radio relay; Convoys; DASC; Direct Air Support Center; Enlisted marines; FSCC; Fire Support Coordination Center; Lockheed C-130 Hercules; Radio communication; Radios; Traveling; Turnovers

Subjects: Baghdad (Iraq); Balad (Iraq).

GPS: Balad (Iraq)
Map Coordinates: 34.016389, 44.145278
00:38:15 - The controversy over social events in the military

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Partial Transcript: Uh, it seems to be a very, very stressful job and a very unique--

Segment Synopsis: Bickett talks about the controversial practice of allowing the soldiers in Iraq to have de-stressing social events such as dances.

Keywords: "Anaconda"; Anger; Bases; Communications; Controversy; Dancing; Death; Events; Happiness; Radios; Stressful

Subjects: Balad (Iraq).; Fallujah (Iraq).; United States. Air Force.; United States. Marine Corps.

GPS: Balad (Iraq)
Map Coordinates: 34.016389, 44.145278
00:41:09 - Daily routine in Iraq

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Partial Transcript: --but just, uh, you just showed me the pictures before of, you know, what, what the, the aircraft looked like and everything else.

Segment Synopsis: Bickett shares her typical routine while she was deployed in Iraq.

Keywords: Aircraft; Combat zones; Gear; Heat; Intelligence briefings; JCSE; Joint Communications Support Elements; Lockheed C-130 Hercules; Routines; Surface to air threats

Subjects: United States. Air Force.; United States. Army.; United States. Marine Corps; United States. Navy.

GPS: Balad (Iraq)
Map Coordinates: 34.016389, 44.145278
00:45:23 - Interesting experiences in convoy radio relay

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Partial Transcript: --the, the, two best experiences that I have...

Segment Synopsis: Bickett shares some of the more notable experiences in radio relay that she had while she was in Iraq.

Keywords: Aircraft; Boxes; Communications equipment; Evasive landings; Evasive maneuvers; JCSE; Joint Communications Support Elements; Laptops; Lockheed C-130 Hercules; Pilots; Radios; Ramadan; Sunsets; Tables

Subjects: Fallujah (Iraq); Iraq.; United States. Air Force.; United States. Navy.

GPS: Fallujah (Iraq)
Map Coordinates: 33.35, 43.783333
00:48:12 - Training in Qatar / promotion to senior air director

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Partial Transcript: All right, so what--your first deployment's coming to an end, you're coming home.

Segment Synopsis: Bickett discusses the training that she did in Qatar during her deployment. She also talks about a promotion that she received during that time.

Keywords: Burqas; Colonels; Contracts; Convoy radio relay; DASC; Deployment; Direct Air Support Center; Doha (Qatar); Enlisted; JCSE; Joint Communications Support Elements; Qatar; Ramadan; Senior air directors; Training; Vulnerability

Subjects: Fallujah (Iraq).; United States. Marine Corps.; United States. Navy.

GPS: Doha (Qatar)
Map Coordinates: 25.286667, 51.533333
00:52:28 - Officer casualties / partying and alcoholism

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Partial Transcript: Uh, then you're home. You know, you're kind of reunited...

Segment Synopsis: Bickett talks about some of the people she knew in the military who had died, particularly those she was in basic school with. She also talks about the tendency towards alcoholism that many officers in the marines had, and their lifestyle of partying.

Keywords: "Lieutenant mansion"; Alcoholism; Carlsbad (Calif.); Casualties; Death; Football; Friends; Friendship; IEDs; Injuries; Officers; Partying; TBS; The Basic School; The Real World (television program)

Subjects: Afghanistan.; Improvised explosive devices.; Iraq.; United States. Marine Corps.; War--Relief of sick and wounded.

GPS: Carlsbad (Calif.)
Map Coordinates: 33.121944, -117.296944
00:57:42 - Media perceptions of the war / training between deployments

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Partial Transcript: Do you feel you, personally, were different when you came back?

Segment Synopsis: Bickett talks about how the media reported the war and expresses frustration that this did not always reflect what was actually going on. She also shares what she did between her first and second deployments.

Keywords: Awareness; Colors; Contracts; Convoys; Deployment; Driving; Enlisted; Experiences; First Lieutenants; Media; OCS; Officer Candidate School; Officers; Personalities; Reintegration; Reporters; Reporting; Senior Air Directors; Training

Subjects: United States. Marine Corps.

01:02:41 - Difference in living accommodations during the second deployment / complacency in the marines

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Partial Transcript: And it was surreal when you walked back because almost everything was exactly the same.

Segment Synopsis: Bickett describes the living conditions of her second deployment compares them to her first. She also discusses the complacency that many of the marines felt during during her second deployment, and talks about what was necessary to shock them out of it.

Keywords: "Surge"; Balad (Iraq); CASEVACs; Casualty evacuations; Complacency; Contractors; Equipment; Focus; Food; Hesco barriers; Inspections; Internet; Living standards; Marines; Missions; Mobile homes; Motivation; Nouri al-Maliki

Subjects: Basrah (Iraq).; Fallujah (Iraq).; Iraq--Armed Forces.; Iraq. Jaysh.

GPS: Basrah (Iraq)
Map Coordinates: 30.5, 47.816667
01:08:22 - Comparison of first and second deployments / downed aircraft

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Partial Transcript: --were you hopeful when you started to see, you know, the, the decreased numbers of, uh, troops...

Segment Synopsis: Bickett continues to compare her first and second deployments, especially related to the amount of activity they required. She also talks about procedures regarding downed aircraft and the need to get to them as quickly as possible.

Keywords: Aircraft; Boredom; CASEVACs; Casualty evacuations; Chaos; Complacency; Danger; Death; Deployments; Downed aircraft; Helicopters; MEDEVACs; Marines; Medical evacuations; Missions; TIC; Training; Transportation; Troops in Contact; Wars

Subjects: Balad (Iraq).; Fallujah (Iraq).; United States. Army.; United States. Marine Corps.

GPS: Fallujah (Iraq)
Map Coordinates: 33.35, 43.783333
01:14:54 - Importance of family / decision not to reenlist

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Partial Transcript: So you come back from this deployment.

Segment Synopsis: Bickett gives her reasons for choosing not to reenlist with the marines. She stresses her family's importance to her.

Keywords: Brothers; Contracts; Death; Denmark; Deployment; Family; Friends; Grandfathers; Husbands; Loss; Marines; Parents; Personality; Spouses; Texas

Subjects: Families.; United States. Marine Corps.

GPS: Denmark
Map Coordinates: 56, 10
01:18:27 - Interest in diplomacy and the Patterson School / lack of recognition as a veteran / younger fellow students

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Partial Transcript: And we chose to obviously come back to the States...

Segment Synopsis: Bickett shares why she was interested in diplomacy and her reasons for choosing the Patterson School. She talks about why she doesn't usually get the recognition that other veterans get, and discusses her fellow students.

Keywords: Age; College; Cramming; Destiny; Diplomacy; Family; Foreign affairs; Foreign policy; Husbands; International relationships; Marines; Media; Memorization; ROTC; Recognition; Reserve Officer Trainer Corps; Short term memory; Students; The Patterson School; Transitions; Veterans; Young people

Subjects: Kentucky.; Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce.; United States. Marine Corps.; University of Kentucky (Lexington, Ky.); Veterans--Education (Higher)--Kentucky.

GPS: University of Kentucky (Lexington, Ky.);
Map Coordinates: 38.033333, -84.5
01:24:24 - Pride in being in the military / future plans / closing thoughts

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Partial Transcript: Um, so, uh, you're obviously proud of your service, your...

Segment Synopsis: Bickett shares why she is proud of her military service. She discusses some of the career plans she has considered and makes a request of those civilians who are listening to the interview. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: Academics; Airmen; Civilians; Department of Defense; Deployment; Destiny; Discipline; Experiences; Journalists; Patriotism; Policy; Politics; Pride; Sacrifice; Sailors; Security; Service; Soldiers; Veterans

Subjects: Military service, Voluntary.; United States. Marine Corps.