Noon to 1:00p.m. / Virtual NMUSN Facebook 

The museum hosts Jennifer Barnhill and author, Heath Hardage Lee as they give historical insight into the organization called League of Wives and the League of Wives Memorial Project. The original League of Wives was a fierce band of women who battled Washington and Hanoi to bring their husbands back to their homes and families. In the late 1960s, the organization expanded their mission be becoming a space for women to build identities that were not centered on their wifehood but that connected them with other women who had experienced loss without official answers. Still in existence, the organization’s history and legacy are commemorated in Heath Hardage Lee’s book, The League of Wives: The Untold Story of the Women Who Took on the U.S. Government to Bring Their Husbands Home (St. Martin’s Press, 2019). Moderating the discussion is Denise Krepp, NHHC Director’s Action Group.

A bronze statue commemorating The League of Wives was installed at Star Park, Coronado, California on June 21, 2024. The 360-degree, life-sized memorial features four female figures, one of which is the likeness of Mrs. Sybil Stockdale, wife of the League's leader and wife of James Stockdale, the highest-ranking POW held captive in the Hanoi Hilton during the Vietnam War. The other women are intentionally unidentifiable, representing the national movement. The women are stepping forward on an upward slope, signifying their uphill battle. A space at the rear, where one can stand to read the League history, is intentionally left open, inviting current and future military spouses join the ladies, seeing themselves as a continuation of this powerful story.

Left to right: Jennifer Barnhill and Heath Hardage Lee

Left to right:  Jennifer Barnhill, Heath Hardage Lee, League of Wives Memorial

Participant Bios

Jennifer Barnhill is a columnist for, freelance journalist, podcaster, and researcher with a focus on military families. Her reporting was featured in numerous publications including Military Times, The War Horse, The Independent, Military Spouse Magazine, and Military Families Magazine. Her research on military students in special education has been cited by the White House and she was the first to conduct research examining the role of military spouse groups. In addition to her reporting, Jennifer Barnhill is also the host of Military Dinner Table Conversations, a monthly reverse town hall with military families that helps elevate emerging issues within the community. She is a 2023 Bush Institute Stand To Veteran Leadership Program Scholar, the editor-in-chief of the National Military Spouse Network’s Career Connections Magazine and the military spouse liaison on The League of Wives Memorial Project. She is currently writing a book about how military families fit into the military narrative.

Heath Hardage Lee is an award-winning historian, biographer and curator who specializes in women’s history. Heath’s narrative nonfiction book "The League of Wives: The Untold Story of the Women Who Took on the U.S. Government to Bring Their Husbands Home from Vietnam was published by St. Martin’s Press in 2019. She curated the museum exhibition The League of Wives: Vietnam POW MIA Advocates & Allies about Vietnam at the Dole Institute of Politics in May 2017 and it has since traveled to other venues throughout the United States. Heath also writes about women’s history and politics for publications such as Time, The Hill, The Atlantic and White House History Quarterly. Her new book, The Mysterious Mrs. Nixon: Washington’s Most Private First Lady, is the first commercial biography of Pat Nixon in nearly 40 years.

Note: This virtual program will air on the museum’s Facebook page on the date and time indicated.