Dollie Goldman has been breaking down social barriers for more than 50 years.
She was one of the first female photojournalists to serve in the newly formed U.S. Air Force, one of the first female TV reporters and one of the first female newspaper editors.
The 81-year-old Korean War-era veteran will soon celebrate another first when she takes her first Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., on May 1.
“When I was living in Alabama, I wanted to take one of the Honor Flights,” said Goldman, who moved to Hinesville three years ago. “I didn’t actually serve overseas in Korea, so they were (only) taking those guys who served overseas. I was delighted to find out about the Honor Flight here in Georgia. I called and, by George, I’m going on an Honor Flight. I want to see the Korean War Memorial.”
When she goes, Goldman intends to take her camera. In fact, she never goes anywhere without a camera. The Alabama native said she served in the Civil Air Patrol until she graduated high school then joined the Air Force, which became a separate branch of the military in 1947. She joined in March 1953, four months before the armistice was signed that resulted in a cease-fire but did not end the war.
According to the U.S. Department of State, no peace treaty has ever been signed to officially end that war.
Lou Carreras, U.S. Army Reserve Ambassador and Honor Flight coordinator, told Goldman she’s going to enjoy the trip to Washington, where she’ll see not only the Korean War Memorial but all the war memorials, Arlington National Cemetery and other historic sites.
“When we went into the service, the Air Force wanted females to come into the service,” Goldman said. “They told us we could go into any career field we wanted. I’d always wanted to be a photographer … and filmmaker. So I asked for that field, and they gave it to me.
“When our orders were cut ... from film school, Gen. Curtis LeMay, who was head of Strategic Air Command, found out he was getting female filmmakers,” she continued. “He said ‘no way.’ Instead of going to SAC, we were sent to Air Training Command, which kept us stateside.”
Despite the limitations placed on her service, Goldman planned to make the Air Force a career. Then she met “a Yankee from Detroit,” she said. They got married and she became pregnant. Back then, female service members were not allowed to stay in if they got pregnant, so she left the Air Force in March 1955.
After her child was born, she joined the Civil Air Patrol, where she served for 17 more years, mostly as an information officer in Alabama, Florida and Michigan. Goldman said she was the Tampa (Florida) Tribune’s first photojournalist and one of the first female TV reporters. She said she covered the Gemini and Apollo programs as well as the civil rights movement. In fact, she said, she had an eight-year working relationship with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“Right after I got out of the service, I covered Dr. Martin Luther King,” she said. “I knew King for eight years. Every time he was doing something or going on a march, he’d call. … After the bombing of that (16thStreet Baptist) Church (in Birmingham in September 1963), he called me. He was so upset. He was crying. He said, ‘They’ve bombed a church.’”
Goldman paused a moment to gather her thoughts and emotions then changed the subject to talk about something dear to her heart. She hopes to find an organization interested in preserving oral histories.
“The Library of Congress has the National Veterans History Project,” she said, explaining about a project she was involved in recording veterans’ history. “I’d very much like to find an oral history program for veterans here in the Savannah area that I can volunteer for.”
Goldman and other Korean War and World War II veterans will leave by bus from Truscott Air Terminal at Hunter Army Airfield at 9 a.m. May 1. Carreras, the Honor Flight coordinator, said the public is invited to see them off.