TV women
Concetta Tomei in "China Beach"

Television has practically ignored military women over the years - it's always about the guys.

Col Cammermeyer In 1995 Barbra Streisand had the courage to produce "Serving In Silence" for television - the story of Col Margarethe Cammermeyer. Glenn Close portrayed Col Cammermeyer and won an Emmy for her performance. Glenn Close

Loretta Swit
Beginning in 1972 and running for a record eleven years the TV series M*A*S*H featured Loretta Swit as a military nurse.

Airing in from 1988 to 1991 "China Beach" with Dana Delany, gave us a glimpse of nursing in Vietnam. Dana Delany

Pvt. Benjamin
Goldie Hawn did the movie "Private Benjamin" but did not star in the short-lived TV series.

The successful series J*A*G, about Navy Judge Advocate General lawyers, featured Marine Lt Col Sarah MacKenzie, played by Catherine Bell, in a subordinate role. However JAG has been dumped and NCIS is a ludicrous attempt at being anything but military.

pensacola "Pensacola - Wings of Gold" features two women in uniform - Sandra Hess ,left, playing Alexandra "Ice" Jensen and Felicity Waterman, right, as Captain Abigail Hilley, both members of the Marine Multi Skill Task Force. pensacola2

anneheche In August 2000 on Showtime - "One Kill" featured Anne Heche as a Marine Corps Captain on trial for the murder of her superior officer, also her lover. Entertainment Weekly called it "a cracking good military courtroom drama."

In March 2001 ABC presented Glenn Close and Harry Connick, Jr. in RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN'S SOUTH PACIFIC. Set on a remote island during World War II, the classic musical follows two parallel romances: one between Glenn Close as Ensign Nellie Forbush, a Navy nurse, and Emile de Becque, a wealthy French plantation owner; the other between Liat, a native girl, and a young American Marine, Lt. Joseph Cable, whose secret mission on the island could help change the course of the war.

glenn close

Nellie is a small town woman who joined the Navy to see the world outside of Little Rock, Arkansas. When she meets the arrestingly handsome Emile, the two fall in love at first sight. But Emile is hiding a secret that threatens their blossoming romance.

And sadly - that's about all - except for the occasional dramatization of specific incidents - like the Paula Coughlin story of the Tailhook debacle, starring Gail O'Grady.

The best science fiction military woman is Captain Janeway on "Star Trek Voyager", played with a "command presence" by Kate Mulgrew, accompanied by two other strong women characters.


Another excellent sci-fi show that features an intelligent woman is "Stargate - SG-1" with Amanda Tapping in the role of Air Force Lt Col Samantha Carter.


"Babylon 5" also features two "military women" portrayed by Claudia Christian who is Lt. Cmdr. Susan Ivanova and Tracey Scoggins as Captain Elizabeth Lochley.

babylon5 babylon5

It's too bad that the television gurus and the money men have such tunnel vision about television tastes. But are they beginning to wise up to the fact that women watch, women spend, and women in strong roles appeal to audiences? It's not evident in their programming. And let's hope that "reality drivel" has run its course - how bad can that get?? The "wanna-be's" are not the spenders. Who knows when there may be some hope for television - so don't stop reading books and surfing the net just yet.

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Unless otherwise noted content © 1996 to date by Captain Barbara A. Wilson, USAF (Ret)