Cathi Gatewood-Keim and Judy Gatewood-Keim

Recorded May 24, 2019 Archived May 24, 2019 37:45 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: dda002948


Cathi Gatewood-Keim (58) talks to her spouse Judy Gatewood-Keim (54) about Judy's military career. Judy talks about her motivations for joining the Army, her time in Officer Candidate School and flight school, and being deployed as part of Operations Desert Storm, Desert Shield, and Restore Hope. She talks about how she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis while in the military and how she was able to hide it and find ways to stay in the military for as long as she could before being given a medical discharge. She reflects on her time in the military and how her post-traumatic growth and service has helped her prepare for her life with multiple sclerosis.

Subject Log / Time Code

Judy talks about joining the military at 18 once she didn’t need her father’s permission. He had been unwilling to sign her enlistment papers hen she was 17. Judy talks about her motivations for joining the military. Judy talks about adjusting to military life and touches on what it was like to discover she was gay during the military’s ban on gays in the military and later on it’s don’t ask/don’t tell policy.
Judy talks about going to Officer Candidate School and flight school. She talks about how she came to be in leadership roles. She talks about the first really proud moment she had in the military was when her company chose her for a leadership award.
Judy talks about her deployments. She was in Desert Storm/Shield in Iraq and Operation Restore Hope in Somalia. She talks about staying in touch with her family during her deployments by writing letters. Judy also talks about the support she got from the general public who would send care packages to the troops. She also talks about some of the extreme weather she experienced during her deployments and how her deployments differed from one another.
Judy talks about her second proudest moment in the military. She had volunteered to backfill her sister companies pilot position. The company commander told her he didn’t believe women should be pilots in the army and didn’t want her as the pilot. Another officer came to her defense and told him she was a great soldier and pilot and they’d be lucky to have her.
Judy talks about the things she enjoyed when she got to civilian life. She talks about showers and how appreciative she is of them after describing some particularly dirty water from one of her deployments.
Judy talks about how she changed during her military service. She talks about post-traumatic growth and how that would eventually prepare her for her multiple sclerosis diagnosis which she received while in the military. She talks about how she was able to stay in the military after that diagnosis by hiding in the Air Force Guard and how some of her superiors would overlook that diagnosis.
Judy talks about the first time she was found out about her multiple sclerosis diagnosis and how she joined the reserves and became an instructor for many years. She would eventually go in front of what would be her final medical board review where it was recommended she be given a medical discharge.
Judy remembers some of the most influential people she met during her time in the military. She also talks about some of the recreation/pranks she participated in during her deployment.
Judy talks about some of the things she wishes civilians understood about the military. She talks about how it isn’t like the way it’s portrayed by Hollywood, where the military is all the same, and talks about some of the individuality that exists in the military. She goes on to talk about some of the things that annoy her about civilian life like how civilians write dates and times. She also jokes about how much she uses the phrase “Roger” and “Roger that” which she is teased about by her civilian friends.
Judy talks about how being part of a team is something she’s come to appreciate after her military service. She also shares some of the other lessons she’s learned from that time. She also talks about how her multiple sclerosis is sometimes much harder to deal with than anything she experienced in the military. She talks about what she sees as her legacy from her time in the military.


  • Cathi Gatewood-Keim (b. 1960)
  • Judy Gatewood-Keim (b. 1964)

Recording Location

Nashville Public Radio

Venue / Recording Kit

Partnership Type