Women Veterans Rose Petal Ceremony 2016
Rose Petal Luncheon Hosts Lady Vietnam Vet

Vietnam Veteran Claire Starnes, U.S. Army, will be guest speaker at the Women Veterans 13th annual Rose Petal Ceremony and luncheon, noon to 2 p.m. on Wednesday Nov. 8th at the Radisson Hotel, 120 Wildwood Drive in Branson.
Starnes was among the estimated 1,200 female non-medical related military personnel that served in country in the Republic of South Vietnam 1969-1971.

“This little-known group of Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy members left its mark in Vietnam from 1962 to 1973,” Starnes said, “They served in a myriad of duties such as intelligence analysts, flight controllers, clerk-typists, translators, physical therapists, dietitians, communications specialists, photojournalists, finance clerks and couriers.”
Starnes was initially assigned to the Army Engineer Construction Agency at Long Binh, also serving in several areas during the time she spent in Nam.

Vietnam was once a French colony and Starnes, who was fluent in French, was often called upon to serve as a translator. She later worked as a photojournalist in-country.  Starnes retired in 1994 with 31 years in the Army. In 2006 she and her late husband, Army journalist Edward C. Starnes, became the first husband/wife team to be inducted into the Ordnance Corps Hall of Fame.
Starnes and Precilla Landry Wilkewitz, her former roommate in Long Binh, co-founded Vietnam Women Veterans, Inc. (VWV) in 1999. The non-profit organization searched for all line staff, officers and enlisted women that served in Vietnam. By November 1999, more than 700 women had been located.

In September 2015, the book ‘Women Vietnam Veterans: Our Untold Stories’ was published. “Now the world can learn about the contributions made by these women,” Starnes said.  BVTF Women Veterans Committee Co-chair Dayle Goldsworthy had suggested inviting a woman Vietnam veteran to be speaker for the 2016 luncheon. After reading a review of the book, she ordered it. Starnes was contacted soon after. “As a Vietnam era veteran I look forward to hearing the story of a female veteran who served in-country,” Goldsworthy said. “So many of us wanted to go, but just a few did.”

The annual Rose Petal Ceremony and luncheon, hosted by the Branson Veterans Task Force (BVTF) recognizes women’s contributions in the United States Armed Forces. Guests are invited to drop rose petals into a fountain of water in honor of women veterans they have known or respect.

The BVTF offers the luncheon free to women veterans and active duty female personnel. Reservations are required. The public is invited to attend the buffet lunch for a donation of $10.
For information or reservations call the BVTF Women Veterans Committee, 417-337-8387.




Women Veterans 12th annual Rose Petal Ceremony welcomes pilot/nurse Amy Dawson

The Branson Veterans Task Force (BVTF) Women Veterans 12th annual Rose Petal Ceremony and luncheon welcomes guest speaker Amy Dawson, former pilot and Warrant officer, who changed careers to become a registered nurse and works for the VA hospital in Little Rock, AR.

The 2015 gathering that honors women’s contributions in the US Armed Forces will be in the Jungle Room of the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center, 2820 Missouri 76, noon to 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 8.

The rose petal ceremony gives guests an opportunity to remember women veterans they have known or respected by dropping rose petals into a pool of water. The BVTF offers the luncheon free to women veterans and women on active duty. Reservations are required.

The public is invited to attend the buffet lunch for $10.

Dawson, who has completed 24 year of service in the National Guard, intends to retire in May. She has flown more than 500 combat hours in Iraq as a pilot and was awarded the Army Air Medal for that service. She also received the Meritorious Service Medal for service in Kosovo and earned her Senior Aviator Wings.

Dawson was the first female Warrant Officer Aviator in Arkansas and the first female Army Pilot in Command in Arkansas.
While in Iraq the 1-185th Air Assault Battalion, the company Dawson was with, suffered the loss of crew and aircraft to enemy fire.
“I decided to go to nursing school while I was in Iraq,” she said. “After losing our crew, I decided I needed to do something to honor the brothers we lost and to continue to serve other Veterans. Nursing was the obvious choice.”

Branson performer, Army Veteran Jeanna Kilbane, will supply special entertainment for the event.

A special time of remembrance will honor WWII Veteran Emma Pogge who passed away in January. Pogge had attended the annual women veterans’ Rose Petal Ceremony for the past 10 years.

Army Veteran Emma Pogge

"It is with deep sorrow that we mourn the passing of Army veteran Emma Pogge on 01/02/2015."

For more information, call the Task Force Women Veterans Committee at 417-337-8387 (417-337 VETS).


The Tribute included a Rose Petal ceremony and Women Veterans Appreciation gathering. Both are open to women veterans, those who wish to honor women veterans or those who are serving in the Armed Forces.

Women Veterans Committee Chair, Navy and USAF Veteran, Barb Riggle -
and Rose Petal Ceremony guest speaker Colonel Patricia Blassie.

For more information, contact Barb Riggle at 417-339-6823 or the Branson Veterans Task Force office at 417-337-8387.

From left: Branson Veterans Task Force Board members Julie Peters, Mary Schantag, Chairperson Army Veteran Brenda Meadows, Branson Hotel Owner Bozana Varisco, 2013 Committee Chair Navy Veteran Dayle Goldsworthy, Ohio Navy Veteran Arlene Zehe and BVTF Vice Chairperson Navy/Air Force Veteran Barb Riggle.

Women veterans thank Branson Hotel

 Members of the Branson Veterans Task Force Women Veterans Committee recently expressed appreciation to the Historic Branson Hotel with the presentation of a folded and framed American Flag.

The Branson Hotel is a sponsor for the Annual Rose Petal Ceremony and Tribute to Women Veterans.
“This is the second year we have been a sponsor for the women veterans event,” said Bozana Varisco, Branson Hotel owner. “It is important that we remember what roles women have played in all fields of military service, even those that were raising their families while the men were away from home. Men and women need to be honored for their sacrifices.”
The Branson Veterans Task Force Women Veterans Committee organizes the annual ceremony honoring women who have served in the military. The tribute includes a Rose Petal Ceremony and Women Veterans Appreciation gathering with a free luncheon for women veterans and women that are active duty personnel. The 2014 Rose Petal Ceremony is 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 9. The location will be announced at a later date.

For more information, call the Task Force Women Veterans Committee at 417-337-8387. 

Prior Rose Petal Ceremonies

100 + year old Army Veteran Emma Pogge, and Aerial
violinist/Army veteran, 
Janice Martin, from the Showboat Branson Belle.

BVTF Chairman, Brenda Meadows (right), Army Veteran.

Women Veterans Committee Chair,
 Barb Riggle (standing),
 Navy and USAFR Veteran


Navy Veteran Dayle Goldsworthy
and Branson's own, Dalena Ditto.

Oldest Woman Veteran to participate in
 the Branson Veterans Day parade.
Army veteran, Emma Pogge.

The Branson Veterans Task Force is a 501 (c)(3) organization with a mission of recognizing veterans, fostering
patriotism and educating the community on the accomplishments and the history of our veterans.
Donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the IRS rules and regulations.


Branson Veterans Task Force
P.O. Box 128
Branson, Mo 65616
Phone: 417-337-8387