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Interview with Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli [1/21/2003]

Celeste Brasuell:

Okay. Today is January 21st, 2003. I am the interviewer, Celeste Brasuell, and I am interviewing Pamela Kay Cozzoli, whose maiden name is Warsaw. I will be calling her Pam from now on. Her birth date is August 20th, 1959. She is a veteran of the US Air Force, and she was in the the Air Force from August 1977 to August 1997. Pam is also my sister in law; she's married to my brother, and I guess the interview will begin. So Pam--

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Yes.

Celeste Brasuell:

As a veteran of Desert Storm, you probably did not enlist. I mean you probably were not drafted into the service. You probably enlisted.

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

That's right.

Celeste Brasuell:

Why did you enlist? What was your motivating factor?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

I was getting out of high school. I didn't want to go to college. We really didn't have the resources to start college right away. I wanted to do something. I didn't want to stay in my hometown and do nothing or, you know, get some minimum-wage job. I wanted to do something. I wanted to, I guess, be out on my own. So the military seemed like a good, a good opportunity. My father was in the Air Force. That may have had some influence on my decision, maybe a little bit, but my folks were divorced. So that may not have had a great amount of influence, but growing up as a military brat I enjoyed it. I enjoyed traveling, seeing different places. I had four sisters. So I was never alone, you know, starting new schools. I liked traveling. I liked meeting people. I guess I was kind of outgoing, so the military seemed like a good place to start my adult life.

Celeste Brasuell:

Okay. And you picked the Air Force?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

I did because it seemed like it had the best opportunities for females. I--in my senior year in high school I listened to all the recruiters--the Army, Marines, Coast Guard. The Air Force offered more jobs to females or less restrictions, and the Air Force it seemed like you could be stationed in more places in the country and through the world as opposed to like, say, the Coast Guard or the Marines or the other services. So that's why I chose the Air Force.

Celeste Brasuell:

So could you tell me a little bit about how it worked when signed up in high--while you were still in high school?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

I did. There was a program. It was called delayed enlistment. So I signed up before I actually graduated from high school, and I got what was--I went to the interview with the recruiter and actually had my career field and my specific job guaranteed before I actually started in the Air Force. So I signed up. It was called delayed enlistment, and that--the only benefit that was, that was my pay date. So when I was eligible for a raise, my raise would start in March when I signed up as opposed to August when I actually joined the Air Force.

Celeste Brasuell:

Okay. And so then in August when you joined the Air Force, how did you feel that day that you left?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

I think I was kind of excited. I remember my mom and my oldest sister took me to the airport in Boston. That's where I joined, and my oldest sister cried. My mom didn't. I didn't cry. I was excited, you know. There was so much, you know, I was looking forward to, and I was looking forward to it. I was excited about it.

Celeste Brasuell:

Okay. And then when you joined you didn't have any--there was no threat of war on the horizon?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

No. No.

Celeste Brasuell:

So that wasn't ever something you had to think about?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

No. It was in '77. So I think things were pretty quiet.

Celeste Brasuell:

Yeah, I think so too. So what was boot camp like for a woman?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

It was--it--I--you know, I wasn't very physical. You know, I didn't place sports in high school or anything like that. So, you know, I thought it might have been a little bit tougher, but actually, you know, the physical part of it, you know, like the obstacle course was actually pretty fun. I wish we could have done that more than, you know, just once or twice. It wasn't that difficult. Just as long as you, you know, did what they wanted you to do and just kind of--I tried to keep a low profile, you know. They yelled. You know, they were TI's, would yell at you, but only if you know, you were--deserved it. It wasn't that bad. It wasn't that hard.

Celeste Brasuell:

Were you home sick at all or--

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

You know, I don't remember being. I don't remember actually, no, being homesick because, you know, you're--you were just--they kept you so busy. I'm sure this was part of it. You were just so busy from, you know, the minute you got up, you know. You jumped up. They--the lights came on. You jumped out of bed. You had five minutes to get dressed and make your bed and get downstairs. And then they just kept you busy, so busy the whole six weeks. You know, you got a chance to call home and--but you were so busy, and I think a lot of it that helped was you were there with, I guess, there were maybe 40 other young women in my flights, and you're all in the same boat, you know. So it's not like you were along in your misery or whatever. Everybody was--know you--you--you could share the feelings with theirs because you had friends that were, you know, feeling the same things, and I don't remember, you know, crying in my bed at night being homesick.

Celeste Brasuell:

Okay.

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

No. {Laughing}

Celeste Brasuell:

Okay. And what was your first assignment then?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Out of basic I went to Keesler, Mississippi, for my tech--tech school training, my technical school training, and that was an eight-month tech school. My job was--I was going to be a radar technician, avionics radar technician, and that is somebody that works on the navigational equipment on the plane. So you--you learned to work the equipment. You'd take it off the plane, bring it into the shop, work on it and then take it back out to the plane and off (shuk) it. And so, you know, I worked on the airplane and then also in shop.

Celeste Brasuell:

And how did you find the training?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

It was--you know, some of it--a lot of it, you know, especially the electronics part of it, was all, you know, very new to me. So that part of it was kind of hard, you know, the theory part of it. Math was never a strength of mine anyways, although, you know, I mean I passed without a problem. It was--it was--it was kind of hard for me. I had to study. I liked better and I did better like with the hands-on, you know, taking the equipment out to the plane, you know, and turning it on out on the plane and, you know, learning to, you know, go through all the checks. That was--I think I did better at that than, you know, a lot of the, you know, the school, the book part of it, the theory part of it. It was kind of hard, but I passed without a problem. So--

Celeste Brasuell:

And then what was your first real assignment?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

It was at Mather up here in northern California, Mather Air Force Base, which is now closed, and I was there for six years.

Celeste Brasuell:

And doing what you were trained for.

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Right. Exactly.

Celeste Brasuell:

What kind of planes were you on?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

I was in the--Mather is a--was a training base, an ATC base, but I was there as a SAC tenant there that had KC135's and B-52G models, and I was a part of that SAC tenant. I was assigned a SAC working on the tankers and bombers.

Celeste Brasuell:

And SAC is strategic air command?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Correct.

Celeste Brasuell:

Which Mather--Mather--

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Right.

Celeste Brasuell:

Used to be a strategic air command base.

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Well, it was--it was a training--Mather was a training base, but there was a little SAC unit.

Celeste Brasuell:

Right.

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

That operated there.

Celeste Brasuell:

Right. And then after that what was your next assignment?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

It was Travis.

Celeste Brasuell:

And how long were you at Travis?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

I was there for about three years.

Celeste Brasuell:

Doing the same thing?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

The same thing basically except on different air craft.

Celeste Brasuell:

Okay. And then, next?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

And then I went to Spain, Torrejon Air Base in Spain for three years.

Celeste Brasuell:

Could you say the name of the air base again, please?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Torrejon. Do you want me to spell it?

Celeste Brasuell:

Yes, please.

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

T-o-r-r-e-j-o-n.

Celeste Brasuell:

And what's that near in Spain?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

It's about 20 minutes I think south of Madrid, right in the center of the country.

Celeste Brasuell:

And what did you do there?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

I was--well, that was a little bit different because it was a (transient). There were no C-5's or 141's or no aircraft assigned. Well, Torrejon, there was--it was a fighter base. It's a Spanish air base but, you know, the Air Force pretty much ran it and maintained it, but there--it was a fighter base, but we were like another tenant unit. It was--I was assigned to a CAMS squadron, which is a consolidated avionic maintenance squadron, and it was just a small unit on that base, and we maintained the C-5's and 141's and other planes that would pass through like if a plane would stop there, if they needed to get fixed, if they needed gas they'd stay and only stay as long as they had to, and then they would move on to wherever they were going. So I did my specialty, but I also got trained to do a lot of the general air craft maintenance like, you know, to change tires, do inspections, you know, put gas on the plane and general-type things like that to make--to ready the plane so that it could just fly.

Celeste Brasuell:

Okay. So how long were you in Spain again?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Three years.

Celeste Brasuell:

And then what happened?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

And then I got orders back to Travis.

Celeste Brasuell:

And is that where you've been ever since?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Yes.

Celeste Brasuell:

And so how long did you end up at Travis the last time?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

I got back in '90, so from '90 until I retired in '97, so a good seven years.

Celeste Brasuell:

Yes. And were you doing the same thing at Travis the last time?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

I went back to--I went back to a maintenance squadron, so basically, yes.

Celeste Brasuell:

Okay. You want to elaborate?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Okay. When I got back to--I came back to the states. I went back to the maintenance squadron, and then was assigned there for, I guess, about maybe four years, and then I ended up taking another job as an instructor to do more of the training side of it, training the young troops that came in as opposed to doing the actual maintenance. So that was--and then I ended up going to a different squadron to the LSS, the logistics support squadron.

Celeste Brasuell:

Great. Now, in that career of 20 years, did you also go on temporary tours of duty anywhere that you would like to mention?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Sure. I went on a few. Let me think. When I was assigned at Mather I had--I think I had been in--I was at--I had two stripes. So I had maybe been in about three years, four years maybe. I don't remember, but I went to what was called the Tanker Task Force, and I spent three months in Guam helping out with a lot of the tanker traffic that was going through whatever, you know. There was some exercise that they were doing. So I did that and spent three months on Guam. I spent a little bit of time in Cairo, in Egypt, just a couple weeks. Those are the two big--I visited actual TDY assignments. Those are about the main two except for TDY's for--like for training, for school, like leadership school and things like that, but those were the actual two working TDY's, I guess, my two biggest ones that come to mind.

Celeste Brasuell:

And those were stateside or--

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

No, Guam and Cairo in Egypt.

Celeste Brasuell:

Oh, okay. Oh, okay. I'm sorry.

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

That's okay. Sorry, I kind of (Laughing) you would say.

Celeste Brasuell:

And then you eventually retired from the Air Force after 20 years. Anything you want to say about that? Just it was your time or--

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Well, in the course of all that I had my son, and that certainly after, you know, you spend 12 years, you know--my first 12 years I was single. I liked the traveling, you know, working, it didn't, you know,--I could work nights or days, weekends, it didn't matter, but then you have a child and it--it changes your--it changed my--my outlook. I mean, you know, once I had my son I didn't want to, you know, I didn't want to work nights. I didn't want to have to go anywhere and leave him behind. So that--it--that changed me a lot. So after my 20--then I got married. I had my daughter and they were--by then I was ready to--I mean my focus wasn't so much my career but my kids.

Celeste Brasuell:

Okay. And then while you were in the Air Force, did--were you awarded any medals or citations?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Yeah. I got a--_____+ I got--when I retired I got an MS, a meritorious service. I got a commendation medal. I think I was--I don't remember exactly when in my career, but I got a commendation medal. I was assigned to one of the maintenance squadron, I think, two I think Mather and then again at Travis, we got an outstanding unit award, a longevity one for--just some of the basic ones.

Celeste Brasuell:

Okay.

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

No nothing. No purple hearts or no bronze cross, ____+ or anything.

Celeste Brasuell:

Because you never saw combat or anything. But during Desert Storm you were--where were you ____+?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

During Desert Storm I was at Travis and, in fact, I--I remember I had--I, you know, I lived--I spent 12 years in the military. There were never any wars, any kind of conflicts. So I get pregnant with Michael, and don't you know, you know, war breaks out. So I remember I had Michael on the 9th of January in '91, and then Desert Storm, I think, kicked off on the 12th.

Celeste Brasuell:

Yeah, something like that or the 16th maybe?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Yes. But I remember I had just brought him home from the hospital, and I remember sitting, you know, on the couch, you know, nursing my little baby thinking, "Oh, my gosh," you know, "What terrible time--what horrible timing," but, thankfully, I was able to--even though I had to work a lot of 12-hour shifts, and, you know, a lot of my days were taken away, I still got to go home after my 12-hour shift. I had had friends who had small children that had to--that were, you know, shipped to Germany or, you know, some forward-support base that left small children. So even though, you know, I had to work long hours and my baby was still very small, thank goodness I didn't have to leave him.

Celeste Brasuell:

Did you not have to leave him because he was so small or--

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Well, I--

Celeste Brasuell:

Did you just get lucky?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

I think I pretty--I got lucky. I--They could have sent me because after, I mean, my maternity leave was up after two months, and then I took another month of my own leave, but even still, things were going--I mean we were still very busy after that. So when I went back to work we started, you know, everybody was still on 12-hour shifts. I could have gotten sent TDY, but I--either I--my bosses chose not to. There was somebody else that was volunteering to go, somebody else in my career field, so, but I could have gone, and it's not like I could say, "No, I can't go because my baby's too small," because as we all know, you know.

Celeste Brasuell:

They would send you any way.

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Right. If they needed, you know, and I know I was one of the lucky ones because I know, like I said, I, you know, men and women both that had to leave babies, and I don't think it's any much easier for a man.

Celeste Brasuell:

No.

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Than it is for a woman to leave a, you know, six year old, never mind a three month old.

Celeste Brasuell:

Yeah.

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

So the long hours, you know, were not much fun, but at least I got to come home and see my baby at the end of the day.

Celeste Brasuell:

And what did you do at Travis in support of Desert Storm?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

There were a lot of C-5 traffic going through the base. I mean, I can remember at one point there were so many planes, C-5's on the ground that we were running out of places to park them. So there was a lot of, you know, planes, broke planes, a lot of planes that just needed, you know, the minimal stuff done so that they could go back out to wherever, you know, they needed to go. So at that point I was a tech sergeant, and normally you do a lot more of supervising than maintenance. So basically I spent my 12 hours, you know, driving a maintenance truck and shuttling around the workers that needed to get to this plane, going and getting parts, deciding "Okay. This plane--we need to fix this plane first, then we'll do this." So I spent, you know, pretty much all that, you know, 12 hours driving a truck around, moving people around and as opposed to actually the hands-on maintenance just, you know, working one plane.

Celeste Brasuell:

And did you notice a difference like after the war was over? Did things calm back down or--

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

It seemed--It doesn't seem like it ever calmed back down. The C-5 it seems is a pretty high-maintenance plane, and it seemed like it was always busy, even, even after the war slowed down or was over, whatever. The flight line it seems like it stayed. It's still busy. It's, you know, always something. The planes were high maintenance.

Celeste Brasuell:

Yeah, because they're so big.

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Right. And the way they fly them and, you know, with all the takeoffs and landings and, you know, the planes weren't necessarily--they were designed for long distances, not for you know, like a four-hour, you know, training and then to land again. They were getting old too and so all that.

Celeste Brasuell:

Interesting. Is there anything else you'd like to say about the Desert Storm aspect of your service career?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

No. I was very much distracted. Well, not distracted me. That's a poor choice of words, but, you know, having my son, you know, I just was very--just the timing was just horrible, you know. And I probably would have volunteered maybe to go somewhere, you know, if that would have kept, you know, somebody else that maybe had small children, maybe I would have been happy to go because I enjoyed the traveling aspect of it, but, you know, once, you know, you have a child and--I mean I didn't want to be at work. I wanted to be--as terrible as it sounds, I wanted to be with him, you know, and I didn't want to be at work nine hour--I mean 12 hour. I didn't want to be there for eight or nine hours, never mind 14 hours. So, you know, I get my own selfish perspective of that. No. That's about it.

Celeste Brasuell:

Okay. Okay. So I'm going to back up a little bit and just kind of ask you. You were in the service 20 years, and probably you saw a lot of changes in your life. Can you kind of tell me like what it was like in the beginning? You were probably in the barracks. And then as you got older, maybe you lived off base. Can you tell me a little bit about life in the service?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Sure. I was in--started out in maintenance. And when--I remember when I first got to Mather my first assignment, you know, actual working assignment, there were only two other, let me think, only two other women, in the--military women in the--there was a couple secretaries, only two other women in the maintenance squadron. One of--one of them was actually in maintenance, and then there was one that had an administrative job. So I was one of the, like, one of the first or second females that actually started, you know, getting out and working in maintenance. It was--it was pretty new back then. It was pretty new, and in my five or six years there at Mather, of course, more and more women, you know--I was--started coming in into the different, you know, specialty shops. By the time I left Mather, two other women had been assigned to the radar shop that I was in. So that was kind of an interesting thing. And of course it just, you know, got better and better depending on who you asked because then by the time I got to Travis there were a lot of women in supervisory positions. So that's something that I remember. Then there was like the uniform changes. I started out--I did--lived in the, the dorm, and after a couple of years I moved off base and got a couple of roommates, you know, just right outside the base. But, you know, I wanted to kind of, you know, maybe get off the base a little bit and maybe feel a little bit more independent instead of living on base, eating on base in the chow hall, working on base. So I applied for--gosh, I forget what they call it--separate rations and like the quarters allowance where they--if you're not taking up a room in the barracks, they would give you extra money so that you could afford to pay rent and by groceries and live off base. So I was able to do that. I enjoyed that very much too. When I went to Travis I had enough rank by then I was a staff sergeant, and they gave me--because there's limited barrack space, they want you to live off base.

Celeste Brasuell:

Okay. When you lived on base, backing up again, how did you find like the chow and--you said you wanted more independence eventually. So that was probably your motivation for moving off, but while you were living on base, you know, how was the chow? How was the company?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

You know, I guess you could really, you know, liken it to college, you know. You know, it's, you know, a lot of young, you know, single, you know, kids, teenagers, 20, 21. You know, I enjoyed it. I worked with my friends. I came home, you know. Most of my friends lived up on the same floor as me. We'd go eat together. You know, the food was good. I mean there was a variety. It's not like, you know, what is that (card)? It's not like they slop this, you know, unidentifiable stuff on your plate. I mean, you had a choice of, you know, maybe chicken or beef or, you know, pasta, and they sometimes would have the salad bar, and it only got better from then, you know. Gosh, you go into a chow hall now and you have choices of deserts and, you know, it's not bad no matter what people say. I mean, it's not like having your own kitchen and, you know, cooking your own food, but there's a variety, and you could go in for breakfast, and you could have cereal, or you could get on omelet or eggs over easy or, you know, or the chipped beef or you know. I never--not a favorite of mine. Some people actually like it, but, yeah. But, I mean, it wasn't--you know, and they the fresh fruit, you know, because they were of course, you know, everybody's very health conscious, you know, and it was only getting more and more so. And they even started having takeout where you could just go through and, you know, get something to take out. So it wasn't--it wasn't a bad deal, you know?

Celeste Brasuell:

Yeah. And, okay. This is totally changing the subject again. What did you do on leave when you got leave?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Usually went home, usually went to see my mom.

Celeste Brasuell:

And your mom's in Louisiana?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Well, then--

Celeste Brasuell:

Has been the whole time?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

No. Then she was Massachusetts, where I enlisted. Where I graduated and enlisted in Massachusetts, and then she lived there until my stepdad died, and let me think, that might have been like in the late eighties. And then after a couple years she moved back to Louisiana where she was raised. So I would go back to Massachusetts to visit. My little sister was still--my younger sister was still there. She was five years younger. And I had another --my oldest sister lived in New Hampshire. So that was all close. So I'd get to see my mom and my sisters and my old high school friends and stuff. And then it seems like, yeah, after she moved down there if I'd take vacation nine times out of 10 I would go to see her.

Celeste Brasuell:

You'd go there.

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Yeah.

Celeste Brasuell:

Okay. Do you remember, like, do you have any funny stories that you could kind of tell me from your time in the service that you--I know. That's really putting one out in the sky, huh?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Oh, funny stories.

Celeste Brasuell:

That you and your friends maybe--did you play pranks? Did you--while you're thinking I could tell one actually.

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Okay.

Celeste Brasuell:

I hope this is all right if the interviewer tells a story, but I have a cousin who's a priest in Italy, and he was about 75 years old at the time when he came to visit us, and you have to know Pam. She's about 5 feet tall], and she couldn't be any tinier if she tried. And here comes my cousin from Italy, and we were going to take him up to Travis Air Force Base to see the C-5's, which were the biggest airplanes in the world until the Soviets made one, what, two inches bigger or something?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Yeah.

Celeste Brasuell:

So we took--the cousin's name is Don Giovanni--up to Travis, and here comes little Pam in--little Pam in her uniform, and she like hooks up the plane to the power and kicks on the power, and the plane's like firing up, and my cousin the priest is looking at her with complete awe, complete awe, that somebody so little could be so powerful in such a big way. And that was a very nice day because he got to sit in the pilot seat of the C-5, and I think he even put the earphones on.

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Uh-huh, and we played with the radios, I think.

Celeste Brasuell:

Yeah.

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

And turned stuff on for him, and yeah, that was fun.

Celeste Brasuell:

And then Pam and I actually climbed up into the tail.

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

The T-tail, yeah.

Celeste Brasuell:

Which had a really nice view of Travis Air Force Base.

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Oh, yeah, yeah.

Celeste Brasuell:

So that--I don't know if that was a humorous story. The funny part was seeing the look on Don Giovanni's face as he watched Pam fire the plane up. But can you think of anything else?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Oh, things like maybe when I got in trouble and I ____+. But when I--I can't think, really think of anything, nothing's jumpin' out at me.

Celeste Brasuell:

Okay. Did you keep a diary at all during anytime when you--

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

No. I've got like my photo journal. I've got a lot of pictures. I remember once I--when I was stationed at Mather they had tankers flying regularly to Hawaii, and me and several of my friends--in fact, this was when they would let civilians get on a military plane and fly. So gosh, this was maybe like '80 or ‘81 because I remember this couple that--it was another GI friend of mine too, one guy that I worked with and another friend, and then this civilian couple that we were just friends with. And I guess they could sign up--they let people--because they sure wouldn't do it now, but they would let people sign up and get on these hops going to Hawaii, but they would refuel fighters as, you know, of course we're flying over the ocean, and they actually let us, you know, the boom lays back in the tail of the plane. There's a place when you land, and there's two places on either side, you know, and it's got the glass so he can see the plane down below that he was trying to hook up to, and you know, they let us go back there while the plane is refueling, and you could look lay on either side. And in fact--and I've got pictures of that too, you know, the tanker that we were in hooking up to the--I think it was an F4, I believe. I don't know. You could lay down there and watch it all, and things--I think, you know, back then--like I'm ancient, you know? But things, really, I mean it's changed, you know. I don't think--things have gotten more tighter because they had to maybe because the world is changed more now, but things seemed, you know, more relaxed. And I guess just the times, you know, things had to change, but things seemed much easier right now back then.

Celeste Brasuell:

Well, security on the base when we used to go like see you or Mark--

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Uh-hm.

Celeste Brasuell:

At Travis basically you just went through the gate.

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Uh-hm.

Celeste Brasuell:

And now--

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Now you have to show your I--military ID, and they won't let you on if you don't have one.

Celeste Brasuell:

Right. Or, you know, if you have, like if you're going to go see somebody, like when we went and saw you in the hospital.

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Uh-hm.

Celeste Brasuell:

You know, it took forever, and they had to call the hospital.

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Right. Right.

Celeste Brasuell:

And make sure that you were expecting us and--

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Yeah. It's--things--you know, or maybe it was just me back then, you know, because I was young and not really much of a care in the world, you know, and you know.

Celeste Brasuell:

Yeah. I think it's changed though.

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Yeah.

Celeste Brasuell:

Okay. Do you want to say anything else? Can you think of anything else about your time in the service?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

You know, I'll just say that, you know, I did enjoy it very much. I'm glad I've, you know, I've gone places, you know. I've been to, you know, the different countries--Germany, Austria--just the places that I just visited, you know, to travel, you know. I went to Holland. I've been to, you know, Korea, Guam, Hawaii a couple of times, England. You know, I've been, you know, a lot of different places that, you know, that most people don't get the opportunity--maybe they don't care to go, but I'm very glad that I did what I did. I enjoyed it. I learned a lot. I think it's a great thing for some people. I know it's not for everybody. Once I started my family though it--you know, my perspective changed, you know, and I guess that's, you know, natural. I don't know. I think it's great for a single person. It can be hard on a family, of course, but I wouldn't trade it, you know. It was a good thing. It was a good choice for me, but I was glad to retire at 20 years. It was very timely.

Celeste Brasuell:

And then my next question would be, do you--could you tell me a little bit about your day of retirement? Your--they had a ceremony for you.

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Uh-hm.

Celeste Brasuell:

And I didn't go.

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

We have a tape though {laughing} and pictures. It was great. It was a good finish, too. You know, I'm not one to, you know, I don't--to stand up and, you know, talk in front of people, you know, but I actually felt pretty comfortable, you know, with my little--Mark says, "Oh, Pam, you should say something because people come to see you, and they want you to say something." So, you know, I know did have something to say, and it was very fitting, and I enjoyed it. I'm glad my kids were there. Mark was there, of course, and I think he was very proud of me, and it was--it was fun. I'll always remember it. I'm glad to be retired though.

Celeste Brasuell:

Okay. So when you--basically you retired and now you're a homemaker.

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Uh-hm.

Celeste Brasuell:

Was it hard? Like did you miss the regimentation at first or--

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

You know, it's a good question because, you know, I was surprised because you would think if you get up every morn--you know, five days a week or whatever. You get up and, you know, put your hair up and put on a uniform and put on your boots, and you would think if you did that for 20 years, you know, you'd miss it when you don't--you're not doing it anymore but, you know, I didn't miss it at all, and I think it's just because my kids were one and five. So I went from, you know, that job I mean to taking care of them, and it was--it filled my day. I mean I was so busy doing that, you know, that I didn't--I didn't have time. I don't think I had time to miss it. And I just, you know, went from the one to the other and--

Celeste Brasuell:

Do you think in your life during your time in the Air Force and then after, do you think people treat you differently because you're a veteran of the Air Force?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Yeah. You know, sometimes I wonder. Sometimes, you know, people, you know, especially like, you know, some of these old crusty guys, you know, and I don't mean that disrespectfully, but, you know, and even maybe some women too because even still, I guess, too, a woman retired after 20 years is not as rare as it used to be, but it's still a little bit not super common yet. So when people find that--find out that I was in the military for 20 years, you know, that kind of raises their eyebrows, and they think, "Oh wow," you know, and then, you know, because I was able--I joined at 18. So I retired at 38. So I'm still a little bit on the young side, you know. Not for long but, you know, and people would say, "Oh, you're too young to be retired," but, you know, because I was able to, you know, retire at 38, you know, which--which is a very good thing. I think, I think, yeah, people, you know--maybe I'm not exactly sure why because I don't, you know, I just did what, you know, what I did, did my job, but I think, yeah, some people it's-- they're impressed by it because, I guess, not everybody can say that they did it, but I didn't do anything that--nobody--anybody else could do it.

Celeste Brasuell:

Uh-hm. A But, yeah, some people think, "Oh really," you know. And they're--I don't even--I did work for a little while, and I think one of the things that probably--one of the reasons my boss hired me was because I think when a potential employer looks at somebody that's done 20 years in the military, that's worth, worth something.

Celeste Brasuell:

Right. Exactly.

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

So, yeah, I think people do, you know, especially if somebody knows me and then they find out. You know, then they my might look at me a little bit differently, you know? It's funny.

Celeste Brasuell:

Yeah. Did you ever get an education in the Air Force? Did you advantage of that?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Oh, I took some classes but, you know, I was kind of off and on. I took a few classes and--but never took enough or stayed with it long enough to get a degree or anything. I did take a few but not as--

Celeste Brasuell:

Can you take advantage of that now, or is that not in--

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

I do. I put into a program called the VEAP, Veterans Educational Assistance Program, where for every dollar that I donated, the government donated two dollars, and so I have--I contributed to that the maximum amount that I could. I can't remember exactly how much it is, but it's quite a bit, but I only have until 10 years after my retirement to use it, and I've been retired about five now. And so if I'm going to take advantage of that, I need to before I lose it.

Celeste Brasuell:

Yeah.

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

And that would be a shame.

Celeste Brasuell:

Yeah. Well, now that Markala's(ph) in first grade--

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Yeah. What am I waiting for, right?

Celeste Brasuell:

Yeah. Might be a good time.

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Yes.

Celeste Brasuell:

Can you tell me about some of the friendships you formed in the service?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Oh, you know, that's something I was kind of thinking about when I was talking about all the traveling that I did, you know. I have--I'm in touch one woman. She's actually retired now. She's on the east coast, but we've stayed in contact. She came out for my retirement. So I've known her for, what, 25 years. Some of the friends that I have--and then another friend that comes to mind that I made at Mather, and she's in--down in Arkansas now, but we're still in touch. I could go probably, you know, just about anywhere in the country, and I--somebody that I know, I mean a good friend that I could go visit.

Celeste Brasuell:

Oh. Wait a second. Okay. ____

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Okay. So you know, I know these friends that I made, maybe half a dozen, but I'm sure they're, you know, people that I'm going to know for the rest of my life.

Celeste Brasuell:

So you've continued your relationships?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

With a few of them, yeah, yeah. A few special people that for whatever reason, you know, we're--a lot that I did lose contact with but, you know, it's got to go both ways, you know. I can't be--you know what I mean?

Celeste Brasuell:

Right. Yes. Right. Did you join a veterans' organization?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Well, I'm a member of the American Legion Auxiliary. I know being a veteran I could be in the Legion with all the men, but I chose the Auxiliary just because they need a little more help. There's not as many of them, and I just thought, you know, I would just as soon be around, you know, some group of old ladies as opposed to a group of--I mean I spent a lot of time around men in my military career. So I opted for the Auxiliary for--just for that reason you know, same causes.

Celeste Brasuell:

Yeah. Doing the same thing.

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Right.

Celeste Brasuell:

Let me see. What is it? Did your time in the military influence how you think about war or like for Desert Storm, were you wholeheartly behind then President Bush and his decision to do that?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

No. I think I was just because it was such a big part of my job, or maybe I didn't question it as much. You know, I just did my job and not, not, you know, resentfully, thinking, "Why are we doing this?" You know, I just did it because it was just something we had to do, and resenting it would have just made it more unpleasant, you know? I think if anything maybe having been in the military with all the stuff that's going on now, maybe just gives me a little insight. You know, you understand a little bit more about maybe things that you don't get told. I mean like things that the media doesn't tell you or maybe the things that the media might be kind of blowing out of proportion. You know, having been there through the the Gulf War conflict. Something--they emphasize, some things that don't--aren't as big a deal as, you know, they like to make it. You know what I mean? Some things are important, are newsworthy, and some aren't, really. So maybe I see through a little bit of that having been on the other side of it.

Celeste Brasuell:

And then conversely, this kind of--I think we probably covered this, but if you could think of anything else. How did your service and the experiences that you had affect your life, in a nutshell? Big question.

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Well, certainly all that 20-year experience made me, you know, the person I am today, maybe gave me--I don't think I'm like overly self-confident. I mean I'm--I'm trying to think how I ____+. Having been through some of the things that I've been through, they've made me stronger, made me a little more self-confident. Of course, then part of it, too, is being from an 18 year old to a 38 year old. I mean part of that is it. Maybe working in a--in a area where, you know, it's, you know, 80 percent men, you know, being a minority might--I think it was probably a good thing for me in the long run, you know, working in a dominant, male career field. You know, of course it had its ups and downs but nothing, I mean, nothing devastating, nothing that--I think it all just kind of made me a stronger--maybe more sure of myself, but I don't think--I'm not arrogant or anything, am I?

Celeste Brasuell:

No. Not at all.

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

____.

Celeste Brasuell:

Do you ever attend reunions? Do they have reunions of--

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

No. I haven't been to one. I've never heard of one out at the base. I would, but--

Celeste Brasuell:

____. Yeah.

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

I haven't. It's only been five years.

Celeste Brasuell:

Yeah. Okay. And then is there anything you'd like to add that we haven't covered in this interview?

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Nothing I can think of. I just hope this all goes for the good of the cause, what little that I might have contributed. I hope it's worth something to somebody someday.

Celeste Brasuell:

It will be. Okay. Then I'm going to say that this concludes our interview.

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Okay. _____.

Celeste Brasuell:

Okay. Thank you.

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Right.

Celeste Brasuell:

Thank you.

Pamela Kay Warsaw Cozzoli:

Thanks.

 
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  October 26, 2011
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