Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Navy Veteran Darlene M. Iskra. Darlene served during the Persian Gulf War.

Darlene had already been a military spouse and worked with sailors in a recreational environment when she decided to join the Navy herself at age 27. Darlene went to officer candidate school and then to dive school.

In an interview with the Veterans History Project, Darlene remembered how dive school had been the most grueling, physically challenging thing she had ever had to do. Nevertheless, Darlene persevered and became one of the first women to graduate from the program.

A few years into her service, Darlene found out the Navy were making new ships with gender neutral platforms, which opened doors for more women in the Navy. When Darlene asked about being assigned to one of the new ships, she was frustrated by roadblocks. Finally, Darlene went to Washington, D.C., and asked the assigning officer for a chance to move forward in her career.

After back to back sea tours, Darlene became the first woman to take command of a U.S. Navy ship, the Opportune, in 1990. Although her ship was on stand-by duty during the Persian Gulf War, Darlene earned a secure place in Naval history.

Thank you for service, Darlene!

Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay

Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? You’re in luck! VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.

It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. All it takes is an email to with as much of the information as you can put together with some good photos. Visit our blog post about nominating for how to create the best submission.

Veterans History Project

This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at

Graphic By Kierra Willis: Kierra Willis is a Graphic Communication Major at the University of Maryland University College. She currently has an AAS in Graphic Design and Visual Communications.

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Published on Jan. 30, 2017

Estimated reading time is 1.9 min.

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