The positive buzz continues for Master Wings’ latest release, Lita & Jean: Memoirs of Two Generations of Military Women. Lita Thomas and Jean Marie McNamara joined host Shaun Hall on the July 25th Scuttlebutt podcast to bring stories of their memoir to life and add additional color to the narrative they’ve shared in the pages of their book.
Shaun kicked the conversation off by sharing his deep admiration for the stories and strength of this mother-daughter team. He then dove into their military backgrounds chronologically, asking Lita to outline her first foray into the Air Force, her experience joining the military as a single mother, and the path that led her from the Air Force to the Army to the Illinois Army National Guard. Lita was a pioneer paving the way for women in the military and shared stories such as the time she advocated for herself and made it clear that she was there to work as a mechanic – for which she had training and experience – rather than working as a typist simply because she was female.
Jean recalled childhood memories of growing up with a mother in the military, covering everything from 4 a.m. wake-up calls to the family feel of active-duty bases to the enrichment she experienced being stationed with her mother overseas and learning about new cultures at a young age. She pointed out that Lita raised Jean and her sister to believe that serving others was key to a fulfilling life, and they often volunteered together as a family. Jean carried on this family maxim of helping others by following in her mother’s footsteps into the Illinois Army National Guard.
While Lita and Jean’s book is about their military experience, it’s also a story of the resilience and triumph of the human spirit. In particular, Jean dealt with severe injuries to her brain, spinal column, shoulders, and legs, narrowly escaping death. At one point, Lita was told that Jean had “coded” (died in surgery). While Jean continues to manage the day-to-day ramifications of her devastating injuries, she’s made remarkable progress and recovered beyond anyone’s expectations. She made sure to tell Shaun that she couldn’t have done it without the support of her family. Jean also shared that spending time in recovery under her mother’s care allowed them to get to know each other not just as mother and daughter but as two adults, deepening their relationship even further.
Shaun acknowledged that they barely scratched the surface of the wealth of stories in the book and encouraged listeners to pick up their own copy. To cap off their discussion, he asked both women what they hoped people would get from reading their memoir. Lita said she hopes that reading about their struggles helps others overcome their own. Jean added that she wants people to be inspired and remember that even when things seem dark and dreary, life is everchanging, and there is a new tomorrow ahead.
Check out the full podcast interview here.