Margarethe (Grethe) Cammermeyer RN, PhD, Colonel, USA, ret.
Grethe was born in Oslo, Norway, in 1942, under Nazi occupation, and immigrated with her family in 1951. At 19, she joined the Army Student Nurse Program and after graduating from college (BS from University of Maryland) she served seven years on active duty. While stationed in Europe she married a fellow military officer.
In 1968 she was forced to leave the military when she was pregnant with her first child. In 1972, she returned to the military in the Army Reserves when women could serve with dependents. She was divorced in 1980.
Concurrently, Grethe earned an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Washington. Dr. Cammermeyer spent 25 years in the VA Medical Health Care system as a Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nurse Practitioner and Researcher in Neuroscience Nursing.
Diane and Grethe met in July 1988 in Lincoln City, Oregon. It was Grethe's aha moment realizing that her attraction to Diane was more than friendship and that she (Grethe) must be a lesbian. (The movie Serving in Silence, NBC,1995 shows our meeting)
In 1989, having served in the military for 25 years, Colonel Cammermeyer disclosed that she was a lesbian during a Top Secret Security Investigation. She was ultimately discharged in 1991, filed suit and was reinstated into the National Guard after Judge Zilly, 9th Circuit Court, ruled her discharge unconstitutional. She retired in 1997, after 31 years of service.
In 1994 her autobiography, Serving in Silence was printed. In 1995, a made-for-television movie, Serving in Silence, was aired. The movie, produced by Barbra Streisand, and Glenn Close who depicts Colonel Cammermeyer’s, depicted the challenge of the military’s anti-gay policy.
Colonel Cammermeyer worked for 17 years to repeal the 1993 Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law. On December 22, 2010, surrounded by hundreds of advocates for repeal, Grethe led the Pledge of Allegiance at President Obama’s signing the repeal of DADT.
Diane and Grethe were formally and officially married in Washington state on 12 December 2012. Whidbey Island has been their home since 1995. (My updated autobiography with epilogue, Serving in Silence, 2015, is available at bookstores, Amazon, etc.)
February 10, 2018
The Cammermeyer and Divelbess Whidbey Family
Grethe and Diane have lived on Whidbey Island since the 1995. Grethe remains involved with health care as Hospital Commissioner and member of Board of Health.
Diane is a retired art professor and artist. She remains active in the art community on the Langley Art Commission and Island County Fair. She is also active in St. Augustine in the Woods, Episcopalian Church.
A rescue dog from a family that didn't have time to care for her. Diane and Bella are inseparable.
Rescued from a puppy mill he went from being one of 31 dogs to big (younger) brother to Diane's lap dog.