Women in the Armed Forces A CENT URY O F SERVI C E
“I’m a bit of a free spirit, and I admit that at first I struggled at West Point because I was trying to be something that I wasn’t. But then I discovered that being a strong leader also means being myself. From that moment, I really began to grow—mentally, academically, and physically too. “Here, I’m never told ‘what to think’ – I’m taught ‘how to think’... and I love that! “Not only does a West Point education include everything I need to excel, I’m encouraged to develop my own leadership style. Why? Because the Army wants leaders of character, not robots. “I’m still a free spirit. But now I’ve got direction and focus, and I’m the type of leader who explores new things, looks outside the box, and thinks for myself.”
- CDT McKenna Pressley
“My first language is Spanish, I’m a second generation American, and I’m the first person in my family to attend college. When I told my parents that I was applying to West Point, they were concerned because, in their eyes, yeah… I’m their baby girl. “ But I knew West Point was the right decision for me, because [here] I’m getting more than an education – I’m growing into the person I’ve always wanted to be. “Also, I’m accomplishing so much more than I could have imagined. I’ve repelled out of a helicopter, hiked a twelve mile road-march in full gear, and made it through both Cadet Basic and Field Training – All of that while staying on top of my academic schedule and advancing in my leadership development training. “Funny thing - the last time I visited home, I overheard my father bragging to our neighbor, ‘there isn’t anything my little Marina cannot accomplish.’ Thanks , dad.”
- CDT Marina Camacho
ACCOMPLISH MORE THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE Every cadet receives a fully funded education including room, board, books, tuition, full medical and dental benefits, and an annual salary.
Every graduate is guaranteed employment as a leader, making a difference in a meaningful profession of their choosing, as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army.
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WOMEN IN THE MILITARY Women have a rich and proud history of military service to our nation. They have blazed new trails, made vast contributions and sacrificed a great deal to maintain our liberties and freedoms. The NEX salutes generations of women in our U. S. Armed Forces!
â€œCourage is the art of doing what we fear to do and doing it well, no matter how difficult we think it might be.â€?
One Woman Can
MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE. We salute the women who have followed their dreams and helped make the world a better place. Every day, you show us the courage that proves one woman can make a difference. View the Mary Kay Ash story here
To find out more about Mary Kay Ash, the company and other women who can, go to marykay.com.
n 1963, Mary Kay Ash took the traditional, male-dominated workplace and turned it on its head with a business built just for women. Armed with her life savings, a solid business plan, a skin care breakthrough and an unstoppable desire to change the working future for women, she opened the doors to an amazing opportunity. Never wavering from her vision of enriching the lives of women, Mary Kay broke boundaries by putting women in control of their own futures. She stood for being your own boss, earning what you’re worth, setting your own schedule – making the way a woman works all about her choices. She understood the power of praise and the natural desire for friendship and connectedness. She was a cheerleader, a task master, a role model and a dream believer. But most important of all, Mary Kay led the way for women to reach for and break through the glass ceiling. Fifty-five years later, we stand proud as a business built by a woman for women – with the courage to always do what’s right. Believing not only in honor but also in flexibility, Mary Kay Ash gave our military families the opportunity to continue their Mary Kay businesses – no matter where duty took them. The day that Mary Kay Ash’s dream became a reality was the day that changed the lives of women around the world. That dream has stood the test of time as fashionable, glamorous and boundary-defying today as the day Mary Kay sold her first pink jar of skin care. Hers is the dream that all of us can realize. It’s the dream that proves ONE WOMAN CAN.
HONORABLE COURAGEOUS DISCIPLINED USPS® SALUTES THE SERVICEWOMEN OF OUR ARMED FORCES FOR A CENTURY OF SERVICE
USPS is the employer of choice for more than 100,000 reservists, veterans and their families. We value the discipline and leadership skills military personnel bring to our organization. Transfer your military experience into a career with USPS.
Visit usps.com/careers and apply today.
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SAINT LEO SALUTES YOU
And honors the celebration of 100 Years of Women in Service who have served our Nation or are serving today in our Armed Forces.
For nearly 50 years, Saint Leo also has a proud history supporting our military and veterans in their pursuit of higher education and their career goals. Saint Leo University has exciting and relevant degree programs and one that will fit your needs, on ground or fully online. • Flexible, affordable, values-based, and student-centered education • Discounted tuition for active duty, guard, reserves, and military spouses • Resources and coaching for veterans transitioning to civilian life • Office of Military Services to provide assistance and advocacy • GI Bill® and VA Certifying Officials on staff • Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degrees • More than 30 graduate programs in high demand career fields Thank you to all women and men in uniform, past and present, for YOUR service and commitment. Saint Leo University supports you and we are committed to your success.
Apply & Enroll Today
888.875.8265 | SaintLeo.edu
Saint Leo University Offers Values-Based Education to Military, Veterans Affordable, Convenient Classes Available at 35+ Locations, Online Saint Leo University always has been forward-thinking, welcoming, and student-centered. When the U.S. Air Force approached Saint Leo about educating its personnel, the university opened an education center in 1973 at Avon Park Bombing Range in Highlands County, FL, as well as MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. While the troops returning from Vietnam found a not-so-welcome home, Saint Leo received them warmly and helped educate them for their future. This speaks to Saint Leo’s core values, particularly respect and community. Today, many men and women of the armed forces – comprising about 30 percent of the university-wide community – are enrolled in Saint Leo degree programs. In addition to University Campus in St. Leo, FL, Saint Leo provides education online and at 35 teaching locations in seven states – many on military bases. Saint Leo has historically been a forerunner in the provision of distance education, primarily because of our long-standing commitment to serving the military community. Saint Leo focuses on offering degrees that are highly transferable so if military personnel are transitioning out of the military or continuing their career, they may enroll in more than 70 programs designed for adult learners. Programs are offered in a variety of
high-demand fields including cybersecurity, business, healthcare, criminal justice, human services, and more. To make education affordable, Saint Leo offers discounted tuition rates for active military, reservists, veterans, and spouses. The University has the Office of Military Services and dedicated support staff to assist with GI Bill® benefits, transition counseling, and supportive services. Saint Leo is a top provider of education and is recognized by U.S. News and World Report as a Best for Veterans and Best Value University, GI Jobs Military Friendly School and Military Friendly Spouse School, Military Advance Education Top University, and Military Times Best: Colleges 2018. “Saint Leo remains committed to educating our active-duty military, veterans, and their families,” said Dr. William J. Lennox Jr., Saint Leo University president. “I am proud of the university’s dedication to the U.S. military. Saint Leo recognizes the special needs of those serving, as well as their families, and the university strives to provide the best educational opportunities for them.” For more information, go to https://www.saintleo.edu/active-militaryveterans, email Militaryservices@saintleo.edu, or call (352) 588-8234. For Admissions information, go to www.saintleo.edu or call (800) 334-5532.
Janet C Wolfenbarger General, Retired United States Air Force
I whole-heartedly applaud this commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the first women to formally enlist in America's Armed Forces. It is truly a milestone to celebrate. In fact, if you look back at the history of women in military service in our country, you would realize that women have served in all eras since the revolutionary war-since this country's very beginnings. The roles available to women in military service have changed markedly over the years, decades, and centuries of this country's existence. Those roles start with non-participant and passive support, move to active support, then to assumption of non-combat duties to free men to fight and finally, most recently, to involvement in the full range of military operations. It's a fact that in every era, women have had an important and substantial impact in achieving victory for our nation. Not only have the roles been changing, attitudes toward women in the service and toward diversity in general have been moving in a positive direction as well in this country since the revolutionary war. I maintain all women serving in the current generation owe a huge debt of gratitude to our forerunners who played an integral role in this change of culture. I know that it was only by standing on the shoulders of these awe-inspiring pioneers that I was fortunate to be selected to serve as the first female four-star general in the United States Air Force.
ÂŠ2018 Banfi Vintners, Old Brookville, NY
to show appreciation for the brave women of the US Armed Forces
As the National Commander of the 1.7 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. and its Auxiliary, it is my sincere honor to express our heartfelt appreciation and gratitude for your service and sacrifice to our great nation. As we celebrate A Century of Service of Women in the Armed Forces, please know your many contributions to America’s military, and to local communities around the world are held in the highest regard. Over my combined 50 years of service to my country and to the veteran community, I have witnessed firsthand your strength, perseverance and absolute dedication to success. You have broken down barriers, shattered glass ceilings, all the while embracing your Creed. Women are not only the fastest growing demographic of veterans, but also the fastest growing demographic of members within the VFW. The voice of our members drives everything we do. From advocating for improved legislation and health care, to instituting programs and services to serve EVERY veteran, your voice is of the utmost importance. The VFW exists to serve and support you at every phase of your military service. As we celebrate a century of women’s contributions to America, and to the world, I invite you explore the VFW — America’s largest organization of combat veterans — and see what we can do for you. Again, thank you for your dedicated commitment to service. We are pleased to join you in celebrating this momentous occasion. Respectfully,
Keith E. Harman National Commander Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S.
WomEn VEtEran StudEntS LEad at John Jay coLLEgE
All four executive officers of the John Jay Veterans Association for 2017-18 are women veteran students. Our students lead the charge on- and off-campus, contributing richly to class discussions, participating in events hosted by the NYC Mayor, discussing veteran student issues with city, state and federal representatives, serving as interns with public and private employers, and volunteering in their communities. Our graduates have successful careers in public administration, law enforcement, emergency management and security, as well as in legal, financial and healthcare fields.
Join nearly 500 veterans among our diverse community of motivated students. Explore what a John Jay Education can do for you! To apply, call 212.237.8866 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Congratulations on the
of women in service!
John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York
Educating Fierce Advocates for Justice John Jay College of Criminal Justice of The City University of New York (CUNY) is an international leader in educating for justice, offering a rich liberal arts and professional studies curriculum to upwards of 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 135 nations. In teaching, scholarship and research, the College approaches justice as an applied art and science in service to society and as an ongoing conversation about fundamental human desires for fairness, equality and the rule of law. John Jay is a place where veteran students thrive. The College was ranked #12 on College Choice’s Best Colleges for Veterans for 2017, where it is lauded for a curriculum “that focuses specifically on the interests and needs of student veterans and military students.” In recognition of its programming, services, and career opportunities to prepare its student veterans for life after the military, the College is also a Best for Vets and Veteran Friendly higher education institution. Out of 500 veteran students enrolled at John Jay, 25% are women. Whether enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program, women veterans at the College become leaders. The Military and Veteran’s Services Office provide extensive opportunities for its women veteran students, including discussing veteran student issues with members of Congress and their staffs, participating in events hosted by the NYC Mayor, and volunteering in their communities. Women veterans also participate in paid internships with NYC-area public and private employers such as NYC Department of Investigation, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, First Data, and the New York State Assembly. For the 2017-2018 academic year, the executive leadership of John Jay’s student-led Veteran’s Association is comprised entirely of women. President Sade Thomas, who graduated with her BS from John Jay in 2014 and will graduate with an MPA in Oversight and Inspection this year, served as an administrative specialist in the US Marine Corps at Camp Pendleton, CA from 2006-2010, where she achieved the rank of Corporal. She is proud to lead this peer mentorship group for veteran students and assist them in overcoming any obstacles they may
face in transitioning to civilian life and attaining their degrees. “As women who have served, we add a certain dynamic that is paramount to the mission of the military,” she said. “My involvement as President of the Veteran’s Association is something I’m doing as an extracurricular for school, but it’s more than that. We need to see women in roles of leadership because it can give other women the initiative and courage to be leaders too.” Nearly half of John Jay’s 55,000 graduates pursue careers in public service, and graduates are uniquely positioned to excel in government and nonprofit positions. Veterans who have graduated from John Jay have gone on to assume governmental leadership roles, as well as become attorneys, finance and healthcare industry professionals, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and much more. For more information, visit www.jjay.cuny.edu. To apply, call 212-237-8866 or email email@example.com.
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urely when Loretta Perfectus Walsh enlisted in the
CELEBRATING 100 YEARS OF WOMEN IN THE MILITARY.
U.S. Navy as a reservist in the spring of 1917, she realized the significance of the moment, but could
she have imagined that she was setting a course that would lead to a century of women’s service in the armed forces? Could she envision a future, 100 years later, where women would serve not only in the Naval Reserve, but in all the military branches – one of which, the U.S. Air Force, did not even exist yet – and that they would serve as regular members who train, fight, and command alongside their male counterparts all over the globe? Women in the Armed Forces: A Century of Service aims to tell the history of those 100 years, as well as recount the people and events that laid the foundation for this centennial of service – because women have had a presence in the military, formally and not-so-formally, since the American Revolution. Articles that cover each of the U.S. military branches shine a light on how women endeavored to serve and their willingness to serve; how their roles in the military have expanded from primarily nursing and administrative support activities to leading service members on the ground and from some of the highest offices; how women have consistently met
At MBA, we salute military women for their readiness to defend the country.
and exceeded expectations in the course of service to their country. Perhaps, on that day in 1917, Loretta Perfectus Walsh simply felt glad to have the opportunity to be of service, took a moment to relish being “the first,” and then – as so many servicewomen after her have done – focused on the mission at hand.
Financial readiness for military families. Visit militarybenefit.org
3984_MBA_WomenArmedServices_2_75x10_875_R1_012318.indd 11/23/18 1:52 PM
Are you a veteran business owner or are you thinking about becoming an entrepreneur?
Gain access to many lucrative business opportunities offered by companies and government agencies by becoming NVBDC certified. H The National Veteran Business Development Council (NVBDC) is the certification entity-of-choice for veteran (VOB) and service disabled veteran (SDVOB) owned businesses, and the corporations wanting to engage them. The world of Veteran Businesses has changed - NVBDC has opened an $80 billion corporate market, and SD/VOBs must understand there are different rules and chain of command in the corporate business arena, than that of government contracting.
H Certification provides access to corporations who have established supplier diversity programs. To benefit, you must first register as suppliers, and follow their processes, then take the time to attend NVBDC’s and our sponsor’s events. NVBDC is planning five events in 2018: from New York to California. H We have Veteran companies doing hundreds of millions of dollars in business with our sponsors which include Walmart, Johnson & Johnson, Bank of America and many others who have named NVBDC as the ONLY certification body for SD/VOBs.
Since our certification, many exciting opportunities have already come about. In just the first month, suppliers such as Kellogg’s, Dana Business Holdings, Flex-N-Gate, and Whirlpool have allowed us to begin bidding. These organizations bring huge opportunities, and I cannot express my excitement to finally be in a position to compete for some of this business! — Jessica
Learn more about certification by visiting www.nvbdc.org or by calling 888-CERTIFIED.
FIND US. LIKE US. FOLLOW US. JOIN US.
NVBDC Joins the Conversation at The Bigger Discussion V: Future of Supplier Diversity
he National Veteran Business Development Council (NVBDC) is proud of its involvement and participation in the Bigger Discussion V Panel held at the NMSDC conference in Detroit, Michigan. Bringing together four minority certification groups, it was an opportunity to unite strategically, and discuss the future of supplier diversity. For the NVBDC, speaking on the panel is a significant achievement because it was the first time they have been asked to attend a discussion that united the four certification agencies in one location. The executive speakers included Presidents from the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) and NVBDC President Keith King. The Bigger Discussion provided a unique setting for the national certification agencies to talk about working with corporations and accessing Supplier Diversity programs. The mission at NVBDC is to provide opportunities for Service Disabled and Veteran Owned Businesses (SD/VOBs) of all sizes through certification. As the only national third party authority for certification, it’s crucial the message is communicated: “I think the biggest challenge for us is educating our Veteran Businesses…many of our veterans do not know what Supplier Diversity does, why they’re
our gatekeepers, and why they’re our champions,” stated NVBDC President Keith King. NGLCC Co-Founder and President Justin Nelson furthered the discussion and addressed the commonality between the certification agencies and how the future is finding ways to creatively work together, “how can we work across diverse segments… be suppliers to one another, we have shared stakeholders and there are businesses that should be certified by every single one of our organizations.”
“I think the biggest challenge for us is educating our Veteran Businesses… many of our veterans do not know what Supplier Diversity does, why they’re our gatekeepers, and why they’re our champions.” NVBDC President Keith King and Pamela Prince-Eason, President and CEO of WBENC both reiterated this message about uniting and supporting one another saying, “we all advocate for our particular group because that’s our job, but we believe in every single one of you and that’s what we all need to be about.” NMSDC Interim President Louis Green also spoke about strategically aligning saying, “I would hope that inclusion and cooperation is the only way forward for all of us.”
All of these certification agencies continue to work passionately for the communities they serve. At the NVBDC, working with Veteran Business Owners is an honor and opportunity to help SD/ VOBs have access to Supplier Diversity funding. As a contributor to the Bigger Discussion panel, the NVBDC continues to be a part of the conversation. As a National certification agency, NVBDC is at the forefront of future discussions on how to access the approximately 80 billion dollars of available corporate spending. To view The Bigger Discussion V, Future of Supplier Diversity, and discover what happens when leaders in the supplier diversity world come together for a candid talk, visit: https://youtu.be/1RWjMQarD8U To learn more about the NVBDC, visit www.nvbdc.org or call 888-CERTIFIED to find how to become certified, or to learn more about the organization. H
All the Benefits of Service Since 1999, Military.com has upheld its mission to improve the lives of service members, veterans and their families.
U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Joe W. McFadden
Women in the Armed Forces CONTENTS
3 30 52
Letters Making Waves WOMEN IN THE U.S. NAVY By Craig Collins
Incognito to Full Inclusion A HISTORY OF WOMEN IN THE U.S. ARMY By Jan Tegler
Always Ready WOMEN’S CRUCIAL ROLE IN THE U.S. COAST GUARD
LIVE, LEARN & ADVANCE It’s more than a diploma, it’s a career enhancement. Earn your degree while you continue to work or serve in the military.
online.norwich.edu/service Bachelor’s and master’s degrees available online.
From learning what I was experiencing first hand in Afghanistan to meeting professionals with similar ideas and goals, the program helped to keep me motivated about the possibilities post grad school.
A C E N TU RY OF S ERV I C E
By Craig Collins
Semper Fi WOMEN IN THE U.S. MARINE CORPS By Craig Collins
Aiming High WOMEN’S SERVICE IN THE U.S. AIR FORCE By Eric Tegler
Master of Arts in Diplomacy Class of 2015
We create chemistry that keeps the world marching forward BASF is proud to support A Century of Service: Women in the Armed Forces. Congratulations on your 100th Anniversary and thank you to those who have given so much over the past century. We value your service and your military background. Find out how you can come create chemistry with us! www.basf.com/careers Watch our video to learn why BASF is a Great Place to Work!
BASF Corporation, headquartered in Florham Park, New Jersey, is the North American affiliate of BASF SE, Ludwigshafen, Germany. BASF has more than 17,500 employees in North America, and had global sales of $63.3 billion in 2016. At BASF, we create chemistry â€“ and have been doing so for over 150 years. Our portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics, performance products and crop protection products to oil and gas. As the worldâ€™s leading chemical company, we combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. Through science and innovation, we enable our customers in nearly every industry to meet the current and future needs of society. Our products and solutions contribute to conserving resources, ensuring nutrition and improving quality of life. We have summed up this contribution in our corporate purpose: We create chemistry for a sustainable future.
We create chem that keeps the
Â©2018 Excelsior Wine Company, Old Brookville, NY
we congratulate IN THE
LESLIE NICOLE SMITH Leslie Nicole Smith, a medically retired Army Captain, graduated from Marymount University with a degree in Communications and received her commission from the Army ROTC program at Georgetown University. Leslie was assigned to the Nuclear Biological Chemical Corps and later attended the Army Defense Information School to serve as a Public Affairs Officer. Leslie held a variety of positions including NBC Instructor and Media Liaison with the Military District of Washington during the sergeant major of the Army court-martial at Fort Belvoir. Leslie was featured on the official U.S. Army Uniform Poster and deployed to El Salvador for Task Force New Hope to support Hurricane Mitch recovery efforts. Leslie deployed to Bosnia in 2001 with the 29th Infantry Division during Operation Joint Forge. She developed a blood clot and returned two weeks before the end of her deployment. Leslie was admitted to Walter Reed Army Medical Center for complications from exposure to a chemical agent or toxin. Leslie lost her left leg below the knee and vision leaving her legally blind.
©2018 Excelsior Wine Company, Old Brookville, NY
Leslie forged ahead and passionately advocates for veterans and wounded, ill, and injured warriors.
She served as a Secretarial Appointee on the VA’s Advisory Committee on Women Veterans. Leslie participates with the Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program and testifies for the Vision Loss and Prosthetics programs. She is a member of the Council of Advisors for the U.S. Army Heritage Center Foundation and serves as an Ambassador for the Gary Sinise Foundation and the Travis Manion Foundation. She is a member of the Wounded Warrior Project National Campaign Team. Leslie is a spokesperson for many organizations including Canines for Veterans, USO, Fisher House Foundation, and the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial. She is the national spokesperson and co-founder of Fatigues to Fabulous, a nonprofit that assists female veterans. In 2007, Leslie served on the Commission on Care for America’s Returning Wounded Warriors established by President George W. Bush. Issac is her loyal and dedicated service dog. Issac enables Leslie to live life with confidence, independence, and a ‘Paw-sitive’ Attitude of Gratitude!
Women in the Armed Forces A CEN TURY OF S ERV IC E
Published by Faircount Media Group 4915 W. Cypress St. Tampa, FL 33607 Tel: 813.639.1900 www.faircount.com EDITORIAL Editor in Chief: Chuck Oldham Managing Editor: Ana E. Lopez Editor: Rhonda Carpenter Contributing Writers: Craig Collins Eric Tegler, Jan Tegler DESIGN AND PRODUCTION Art Director: Robin K. McDowall Ad Traffic Manager: Rebecca Laborde ADVERTISING Ad Sales Manager: Steve Chidel Account Executives: Christopher Day Art Dubuc, Beth Hamm, Ron Petracco Patrick Pruitt, Jim VanNeste, Geoff Weiss OPERATIONS AND ADMINISTRATION Chief Operating Officer: Lawrence Roberts VP, Business Development: Robin Jobson Business Development: Damion Harte Business Analytics Manager: Colin Davidson FAIRCOUNT MEDIA GROUP Publisher: Ross Jobson
ÂŠCopyright Faircount LLC. All rights reserved. Faircount LLC does not assume responsibility for the advertisements, nor any representation made therein, nor the quality or deliverability of the products themselves. Reproduction of articles and photographs, in whole or in part, contained herein is prohibited without express written consent of the publisher, with the exception of reprinting for news media use. Permission to use various images and text was obtained from the U.S. Department of Defense or the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and in no way is used to imply an endorsement by any U.S. Department of Defense or U.S. Homeland Security entity for any claims or representations therein. None of the advertising contained herein implies U.S. Department of Defense, or U.S. Department of Homeland Security endorsement of any private entity or enterprise. This is not a publication of the U.S. Department of Defense or the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Printed in the United States of America.
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OU EXTENDED CAMPUS
LaDawn Jones: VETERAN STUDENT ADVISOR MAKES HELPING MILITARY STUDENTS HER MISSION
aDawn Jones grew up thinking a college education was
Jones doesn’t just help military students reach their education-
something she would never have. Thanks to the U.S.
al goals. She also serves as the OU Student Veterans Association
Navy and the University of Oklahoma Extended Campus,
advisor, leads the Sooner Salute Graduate Ceremony and serves
she was wrong. Not only did she complete two degrees, but she also found a career where her daily mission is helping others achieve dreams of their own. “I grew up in southeastern Oklahoma with a single mom and two older brothers,” Jones said. “I didn’t think college was an option for me because we didn’t have anything.” As a senior in high school and just 17 years old, Jones enlisted in the U.S. Navy’s delayed entry program to secure money for college and spent five years in active duty and three years in the reserves. When she returned to Oklahoma, she enrolled in community college. Like many students, she struggled.
on the Pat Tillman Scholarship committee. While her motivation for joining the military was to secure funding for college, she said the experience taught her skills she uses every day to meet the needs of the Extended Campus students she works with. “My time in the military taught me how to stand on my own,” she said. “Also, it taught me how to be a team member and how to contribute to something bigger than myself.” These are skills she uses every day as she contributes to the lives of OU Extended Campus students. “I take my job very seriously.
“After leaving the Navy, I started and stopped at the community
I’ve been in their shoes. I can
college level for way too long. No one told me how stupid I was for
relate to them on that level,”
changing my major three times,” she said. “Once I finally knuckled
she said. “Extended Campus
down and got my associate degree in 2009, I thought I was done.”
makes sure there are
Soon after, she heard an advertisement for OU Extended Cam-
military people here to
pus. She was working full time, and Extended Campus’ online
help serve our military
programs allowed her to go to school and still work.
students, and I think that
“I knew that was the program for me,” she said. “I started the
makes them feel more
liberal studies program in Fall 2009 and graduated with my bach-
comfortable. I don’t think
elor’s degree in Spring 2011,” she said.
anyone is a bigger fan than
Jones immediately started graduate school, earning a Master of Human Relations degree in Fall 2012. She was eventually hired by OU Extended Campus and now works as a military undergraduate academic advisor where she not only guides students through course enrollment but also helps them succeed in reaching their goals. “I’m really passionate about people who come back to school,” Jones said. “Having been in their shoes, starting and stopping my education through the years, helps me to guide others to avoid my potholes.” In addition to allowing her to get a degree on her own time, OU Extended Campus was affordable. She was given the maximum military credit possible, and it was transferred to her transcript at no charge. These are things Jones always shares with potential Extended Campus students. “The fact that we continue to focus on and serve the military student during what has turned into decades-long wars and changing military benefits sets us apart from other institutions,” she said. “We work with them in any way we can when they have unexpected deployments or training that calls them away.”
I am of what we do.”
SS LIBRARY OF CON GRE
Making Waves Women in the U.S. Navy
By Craig Collins
ve he first women to ser re we the U.S. Navy a y nurses who, nearl century before the ser n vice established its ow ved ser s, rse nu professional corps of rs or civilian as wartime voluntee , when the nacontractors. In 1811 s established, val hospital system wa med William a young surgeon na sfully lobbied P.C. Barton unsucces new medical the Navy to staff its female nurses. establishment with at the start of Some 50 years later, vy created the the Civil War, the Na ” – a position designation of “nurse ed men, whose filled by junior enlist embled those duties more closely res . of hospital corpsmen
A U.S. Navy World War I recruitin
More than 3 million women have served.
Discover their stories at the Women In Military Service For America Memorial, Gateway, Arlington National Cemetery.
Dept. 560 • Washington, DC 20042 • 703-533-1155 • 800-222-2294 firstname.lastname@example.org • www.womensmemorial.org
Rico, Hawaii, and the Philippines, and on three ships, including the hospital ship Relief, where six nurses – including Esther V. Hasson, who would become the first superintendent of the Navy Nurse Corps – tended to hundreds of sick and wounded men. With its growing network of naval hospitals and service members now stationed in far-flung tropical territories, the Navy needed skilled nurses – women who had graduated from two- or three-year courses in hospital training schools – to assist its medical staff. After years of debate, the Navy Nurse Corps was established on May 13, 1908. The first women to serve in the Corps – the first women to serve formally as members of the United States Navy – became known as “The Sacred Twenty.” By the time the United States entered World War I in 1917, the Nurse Corps included 160 women stationed as far away as the Philippines, Guam, and Samoa.
BELOW LEFT: Red Rover served as the U.S. Navy’s hospital ship on the Western Rivers during the Civil War, and women served as nurses aboard. BELOW RIGHT: Two of a contingent of 250 yeomen (F) who were sent to New York from Washington, D.C., to take part in the Victory Loan drive in May 1919.
The first women to serve in the Corps – the first women to serve formally as members of the United States Navy – became known as “The Sacred Twenty.”
U.S. NAVAL HISTORY AND HERITAGE COMMAND PHOTOGRAPH
U.S. NAVAL HISTORY AND HERITAGE COMMAND PHOTOGRAPH
Nevertheless, many patriotic American women volunteered their services to the Navy in wartime. During the Civil War, for example, more than a dozen Sisters of the Holy Cross and five African-American women served as nurses aboard the USS Red Rover, a former Confederate steamer that had been captured by the Union Navy and transformed into the first Navy hospital ship. After its victory in the 1898 Spanish-American War, the United States emerged as an imperial power, in possession of island territories as far away as the Philippines, the Marianas Islands, Hawaii, and what’s now known as American Samoa. The war led to significant reforms in military medicine. In their remote tropical encampments, thousands of soldiers contracted diseases such as malaria, typhus, yellow fever, and dysentery. During the war, 5,438 soldiers died from disease, compared to 968 battle deaths. To help care for these soldiers, the military hired 1,563 contract nurses who served in Cuba, Puerto
U.S. NAVAL HISTORY AND HERITAGE COMMAND
As the nation mobilized for war, the Navy encountered another problem that led Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels to seek the service of women: The service’s growing number of overseas commitments demanded a significant expansion of its fleet and personnel. Many Navy “yeomen” – an enlisted rating for sailors who performed administrative and clerical work – were called to service afloat or overseas. The Navy needed immediate help in handling the paperwork and administrative tasks demanded by this mobilization. Fortunately, the 1916 law establishing the United States Naval Reserve Force (USNRF) did not specify that these reservists had to be men. On March 19, 1917, Daniels ordered that women be enrolled into the reserve. As soon as Daniels’ announcement was made public, young women across the country flocked to recruiting stations. The first to enlist was Loretta Perfectus Walsh, who became a chief yeoman at the naval home for disabled veterans in Philadelphia. When the United States declared war on April 6, there were 201 women reservists, a number that would grow to more than 11,000 by November 1918. These included Navy nurses who
Forward ward room on the main deck of USS Relief, Aug. 6, 1898, during the Spanish-American War. Among the six female nurses serving aboard was Esther V. Hasson, who would become the first superintendent of the Navy Nurse Corps.
cared for patients in U.S. hospitals, overseas, and on transport ships. Women reservists served mostly as office staff, and were popularly referred to as “yeomanettes,” but women reservists, while all holding the same clerical rating of Yeoman (F), also served in a variety of roles that included radio operators, fingerprint experts, electricians, photographers, draftsmen, chemists, and torpedo assemblers. The Navy’s Women’s Reserve included the first African-American women to serve as enlisted members of the U.S. armed forces, 16 yeomen (F) who worked in the offices of the Washington Navy Yard. The Navy had a few requirements for its new women reservists: They had to be between the ages of 18 and 35, and be of good health and good character. Most women joined out of a strong sense of patriotism – but also for opportuni-
ties, pay, and benefits that were relatively scant in the peacetime job market. Unlike their private-sector counterparts, yeomen (F) were paid the same as male sailors of the same rating and class. In World War I, the Navy’s women reservists received no formal indoctrination, as their counterparts in the Nurse Corps had, and there was no administrative apparatus to manage them or address women-specific issues. Women simply reported to their posts and followed the orders of their commanding officers. As rapidly as the Navy’s Women’s Reserve was called into service, it was dissolved after war’s end. The Naval Appropriations Act of 1919 stipulated that all female reservists, except nurses, be placed on inactive duty within 30 days. Only a small crop of Navy nurses remained on duty at war’s end. Many honorably discharged yeomen (F) later filled civil service positions in the same facilities where they’d served during the war – including Joy Bright Hancock, who rejoined the Bureau of Aeronautics and
Navy nurses were among the first Americans to experience the perils of World War II.
U.S. NAVAL HISTORY AND HERITAGE COMMAND
LEFT: Esther Voorhees Hasson served as first superintendent of the Navy Nurse Corps from Aug. 18, 1908, to Jan. 10, 1911. RIGHT: Ann Agnes Bernatitus, a Navy nurse who became the first person to receive the Navy’s Legion of Merit medal.
edited the newsletter that would evolve into the magazine Naval Aviation News. It would be another 23 years before Navy women returned to general service.
U.S. NAVY PHOTO
The WAVES A small corps of Navy nurses continued to serve in naval hospitals at home and overseas in the interwar years, and aboard hospital ships and transports. In addition to their regular duties, they delivered instruction to hospital corpsmen and, at overseas training schools in Guam, Samoa, and the Virgin Islands, encouraged women to assist in the care of the local populations. Navy nurses were among the first Americans to experience the perils of World War II. Thirty-one nurses served at the Pearl Harbor Naval Hospital, and a dozen more on the hospital ship Solace, which lay at anchor in the harbor when a Japanese carrier group launched its fateful attack on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941. Throughout the day, even as the Japanese continued to drop bombs and torpedoes, Navy nurses rushed to care for the injured.
Over the next few days, the Japanese attacked and overran the island of Guam, taking five Navy Nurse Corps women prisoner. In the Philippines, after Japanese forces invaded Manila, 11 of the 12 Navy nurses at Cañacao Naval Hospital were taken prisoner. The 12th, Ann Bernatitus, escaped to embark on an ordeal that saw her setting up hospitals on the Bataan Peninsula and the island of Corregidor before fleeing the Japanese aboard a Navy submarine on May 3, 1942. Bernatitus became the first person to receive the Navy’s new Legion of Merit medal. At home in the United States, meanwhile, the Navy embarked on an unprecedented commitment to global warfare, and it became immediately clear that the sea service would need to accept not only a large number of enlisted women, as it had in World War I, but also commissioned female naval officers. Secretary of the Navy William Franklin “Frank” Knox set a plan in motion to form this Women’s Reserve, and as Congress and the Navy negotiated the details, an eight-person Women’s Advisory Council selected Mildred Helen McAfee, president of Wellesley College, to be the Women’s Reserve’s first director, and determined that the reserve would be known by the acronym WAVES – Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service. On July 30, 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Public Law 689, creating the Women’s Reserve, a branch of the Naval Reserve, to “expedite the war effort by releasing officers and men for duty at sea and their replacement by women in the shore establishment.” On Aug. 3, McAfee was sworn in as “an officer and gentleman of the United States Navy,” and received her commission as lieutenant
U.S. NAVAL HISTORY AND HERITAGE COMMAND PHOTOS
commander – the first woman officer of the Naval Reserve. The Navy’s standards for recruits and officer candidates were strict: a minimum age of 20 (a maximum of 35 for recruits; 49 for officers); a high school diploma or equivalent (college degree or equivalent for officers); and U.S. citizenship. Women accepted to the Women’s Reserve couldn’t be married to a military man, and could not marry at all during indoctrination or training periods. A standing no-marriage policy for Navy nurses – who could be immediately discharged if they married or became pregnant – remained in place until nearly the end of the war. Thousands of women volunteered to become a part of the Navy. Officer candidates for the WAVES were trained at Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts, and, after receiving commissions
as either ensigns or lieutenants junior grade, went on to receive specialized officer training alongside men – a practice initiated by the progressive Bureau of Aeronautics that rapidly spread to other bureaus. Enlisted women were trained at several college and university campuses around the country. The Navy’s goal at the outset was to recruit 1,000 officers and 10,000 enlisted women to the WAVES, but the recruiting campaign far exceeded expectations. The WAVES reached peak strength in 1945 with 86,291 women in service: 8,475 officers and 73,816 enlisted. WAVES served at around 900 shore stations in the continental United States. While most filled secretarial or clerical jobs, wartime labor demands compelled thousands of women
WAVES stand in formation during an inspection. More than 86,000 women served in the WAVES at its peak strength during World War II. ABOVE RIGHT: Lt. Cmdr. Mildred H. McAfee, USNR, director of the WAVES, 1942-43.
LEFT: WAVES aviation machinist’s mates work on the engine of an SNJ-4 aircraft at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida, in 1943. BELOW: A World War II recruiting poster.
Stagnation and Reform
women, or those with children under 18, from serving. The Women’s Reserve had a fixed limit on rank, and prohibited any command authority for female officers except within the WAVES. Women were also barred from duty afloat or overseas. Though the ban was lifted late in the war – due in large part to the advocacy of Hancock – the only WAVES to serve outside the continental United States arrived in Hawaii in January 1945. Navy nurses, meanwhile, served with “relative rank,” which meant they wore insignia and had authority over assistants in their line of work – but no au-
In 1946, with the Navy in the midst of its massive postwar demobilization, Hancock took over as director of the Women’s Reserve and joined the chorus of voices calling for women to remain in the regular armed services. When the Armed Services Integration Act of 1948 granted women permanent status in the regular and reserve components of all the armed services, the WAVES formally ceased to exist – though the nickname would stick to Navy women for years afterward. Hancock was promoted to captain and took on a new title: Assistant Chief of Naval Personnel for Women, or ACNP(W). The new law established limits on how many women could be in the Navy (no more than 2 percent); how high they could rank in the service (there could be only one captain, and the percentages of commanders and lieutenant commanders were capped); and where they could serve (they were strictly forbidden from
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
reservists to perform specialized duties as draftsmen, translators, air traffic controllers, radiomen, parachute riggers, statisticians, and aviation machinists and metalsmiths. One of the most influential wartime leaders in the WAVES was Cmdr. Joy Bright Hancock, who had lobbied hard for the reestablishment of the Women’s Reserve. Hancock was instrumental in shaping Navy women’s training and service, advocating for gender-integrated specialist training and the opening of aviation jobs to women. Among the most famous of the WAVES was mathematics professor Grace Hopper, who requested a leave of absence from her position at Vassar College to join the reserve. After completing her officer training, then-Lt. j.g. Hopper joined the Bureau of Ships Computation Project at Harvard University to work with computer scientist Howard Aiken on programming the Mark I computer. Hopper would remain under Navy contract at Harvard until 1949. Among the many highlights of her 42-year Navy career, Hopper is remembered today as the person who recorded, in a 1947 logbook, the first computer “bug” – a moth that had become stuck between the computer’s relay contacts. While many WAVES thrived in the Navy, some women chafed at the reserve’s gender-specific restrictions. Naval regulations prohibited pregnant
thority over anyone else. Throughout the war, Navy nurses served at 263 locations in the United States; aboard hospital ships; at forward operating locations throughout the Pacific and in Europe, and in South America, the Caribbean, and Africa. In 1945, the Nurse Corps trained its first 24 flight nurses for service in three newly formed Naval Air Evacuation service squadrons, and these women were instrumental in the evacuation of wounded servicemen from the amphibious assaults on Iwo Jima and Okinawa – the first Navy nurses to fly to and from active battlefields. After Nurse Corps officers were finally granted full military rank, the Corps’ fifth superintendent, Sue Dauser, became the first woman commissioned as a captain in the U.S. Navy in February 1944.
U.S. NAVAL HISTORY AND HERITAGE COMMAND
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY PETTY OFFICER 3RD CLASS DUSTIN R. WILLIAMS
duty in combat aircraft or in any ships other than hospital ships and transports). The Secretary of the Navy would determine the extent of women’s command authority. During the Korean War, at Hancock’s urging, the Navy loosened some restrictions on women’s service in order to meet its recruitment goals. The ban on married women’s service was dropped, and the age of enlistment was lowered to 18. The number of women reservists reached 9,466 in November 1952. Though overseas service was opened to women in 1949, no women in the regular Navy went to Korea. Navy nurses, whose wartime service strength peaked at 3,405 in 1951, served continuously on hospital ships and transports in Korean waters; at 15 civilian nursing schools; and at 180 duty stations in the United States and abroad – 200 of them at the U.S. Naval Hospital, Yokosuka, Japan, where more than 5,800 casualties were treated. Overall, professional gains for Navy women were few during the 1950s and 1960s. It wasn’t until 1962, when Cmdr. Etta-Belle Kitchen took command of U.S. Naval Training Center Bainbridge, Maryland, that the Navy appointed its first female commanding officer. About 90 percent of regular and reserve Navy women served in administrative or healthcare ratings. A few hospital corpsmen became the first Navy women other than nurses to serve afloat, aboard transport service ships in the mid-1950s, but generally this narrowing of opportunities continued
LEFT: Lt. Joy Bright Hancock, USNR, after being presented with the World War I service ribbon by Adm. Ernest J. King, at the Navy Department, Washington, D.C., circa October 1942. Hancock had served as a yeoman first class (F) during World War I. RIGHT: One of the 53 women in the Navy assigned to duty on the Navy hospital ship USS Sanctuary (AH 17), manning her duty station as lookout on the ship, March 1973.
well into the 1960s. In 1966, only 20 of the Navy’s enlisted ratings were open to women. The number of regular and reserve Navy women actually decreased during the Vietnam War, and their assignments remained primarily clerical, administrative, and health care related. Only nine female naval officers, and no enlisted women, served in Vietnam. The Navy Nurse Corps, on the other hand, played an active and important role in the Vietnam conflict, expanding to a peak of 2,338 serving in 1968. Navy nurses began arriving in Saigon in 1963, and by far the largest number of them served at the Naval Support Activity Hospital, Danang. The 600bed hospital became the largest combat casualty treatment facility in the world, admitting 63,000 patients. In 1964, when the Viet Cong bombed the Brink Bachelor Officers’ Quarters in Saigon, four Navy Nurse Corps officers, wounded themselves in the blast, cared for multiple victims. These four officers were the first Navy nurses to be injured in combat support. For both nurses and regular Navy women, a period of professional stagnation came to an end in 1967, when Public Law 90-130 eliminated caps on women’s ranks – and authorized but didn’t mandate flag rank for Navy women. The law ushered in an era of broadening horizons for Navy women, which gathered steam in the 1970s with congressional passage of the Equal Rights Amendment and the end of the military draft. On June 1, 1972, Alene B. Duerk, chief, Navy Nurse Corps, became the first Navy woman to be promoted to the rank of rear admiral (lower half).
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U.S NAVY PHOTO
Rear Adm. Fran McKee, the first female line officer in the Navy to be promoted to flag rank (rear admiral, lower half), in February 1976.
The most significant factor in these expanding opportunities was the 19701974 tenure of Adm. Elmo R. Zumwalt as Chief of Naval Operations (CNO). The visionary Zumwalt immediately grasped that an all-volunteer Navy, without providing opportunities for women and other disadvantaged groups, wouldn’t be able to recruit enough personnel to meet its basic needs. Zumwalt’s Programs for People, designed to break down barriers to service, was made public in a series of policy directives informally known as “Z-grams.” In Z-gram number 116 (Z-116), issued in August 1972 and titled “Equal Rights and Opportunities for Women in the Navy,” Zumwalt authorized preliminary actions that would lead to women serving at sea. He proposed assigning a pilot group of women to serve afloat; allowing women officers to exercise command ashore; opening Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) college programs to women; considering women for joint services colleges; and assigning them to more challenging billets. In these proposals, Zumwalt proved more radical than the ACNP(W), Capt. Robin Quigley, who didn’t support women at sea or in aviation billets. Quigley left her post in March 1973 to make way for Capt. Fran McKee, who served briefly before leaving headquarters to become the first woman to head an activity of the Naval Security Group Command. In February 1976, McKee became the first woman line officer to be selected for flag rank when she was promoted to rear admiral (lower half). With the backing of the CNO, obstacles for women began to fall. In the early 1970s, the Navy began sending women to more overseas duty stations. In 1973 alone,
male and female recruit training was combined; the first mixed class graduated from Officer Candidate School; and the first female flight surgeons graduated from the training program of the Naval Aerospace Medical Institute. Navy women received limited admission to the NROTC, and now also were eligible to attend naval postgraduate schools such as the Naval War College in New-
port, Rhode Island, and the General Line School (now the Naval Postgraduate School) in Monterey, California. In July 1976, 81 women entered the U.S. Naval Academy, 55 of whom received their commissions with the class of 1980. Beginning in 1972, the Navy began to implement Zumwalt’s pilot program of women’s sea service: By the end of 1973, 53 enlisted women had come aboard the hospital ship Sanctuary, accompanied by two female line officers and 12 Nurse Corps officers. After a year of service that took them on humanitarian assistance missions in Colombia and Haiti, their commanding officer concluded that the
As 55 officers and 375 enlisted women became integrated into the crews of these ships, the 204-year old tradition of male -only U.S. Navy ships came to an end.
ABOVE: Lt. Carol Watts (center) discusses with Lt. Lyndsi Bates (right) her night-time strike over Iraq on Dec. 17, 1998, after returning aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) during Operation Desert Fox. Watts was among the first female aviators in the Navy to see combat. LEFT: Ensign Matice Wright, the Navy’s first African-American female naval flight officer.
U.S. NAVY PHOTO
women had performed their shipboard duties as well as men, and that as far as he was concerned, they could serve “in perpetuity.” Meanwhile, the first female officers began their aviation training in a test program at the Naval Aviation Training Command at Pensacola in March 1973. Six women eventually completed the 18-month program and earned their naval aviators’ wings of gold. By 1978, there were 19 women aviators, and the next
DOD PHOTO BY PETTY OFFICER 3RD CLASS TEDRICK E. FRYMAN III, U.S. NAVY
U.S. NAVY PHOTO BY JO1 MICHAEL O’SHAUGHNESSY U.S NAVY SEEBEE MUSEUM
ABOVE: Lt. Cmdr. Darlene M. Iskra, commanding officer of the salvage ship USS Opportune (ARS 41), speaks to the crew. Iskra’s appointment in 1990 as the vessel’s commanding officer represented the first time that a woman had been assigned to command a U.S. Navy ship. LEFT: A team of Seabees selected to build barracks high in the Afghanistan mountains was made up of eight women and no men. They were the first all-female construction team to take on a build from start to finish in the Seabees’ 70-year history, and they did it in record time in the barren, rocky mountains of Helmand province, a Taliban stronghold.
21st Century Leaders year, Lt. Lynn Spruill became the first female pilot to become carrier qualified. One of the most stubborn obstacles remaining for Navy women was Title 10, Section 6015 of the 1948 Armed Services Integration Act, which barred women from duty aboard combatant ships and aircraft. This provision, after a discrimination lawsuit, congressional amendment of Section 6025, and much debate among Navy leadership about the definition of a “combatant” ship, was amended to allow women’s service on noncombatant ships other than transports and hospital ships. In 1978, the Navy introduced its Women in Ships Program, which deployed female officers and enlisted women on a number of auxiliary and noncombatant ships. As 55 officers and 375 enlisted women became integrated into the crews of these ships, the 204-year-old tradition of male-only U.S. Navy ships came to an end.
When Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm concluded in 1991, women comprised 10 percent of Navy personnel. Media coverage of the war in Iraq brought images of women serving capably in combat support units, and with the public increasingly comfortable with women’s military service, Congress and the Pentagon made further changes. Laws banning Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps women from air and sea combat units were repealed in 1991 and 1992 – though certain restrictions, such as service aboard submarines or in special operations forces units, remained. As women were authorized to move into these roles, a scandal revealed long-simmering resentments among some of the male naval aviators. At the 1991 Tailhook Association Symposium, an annual gathering of naval aviators, several women were subjected to sexual harassment and assault by groups of drunken aviators – behaviors that had become something of an annual tradition at the convention, but which were at last formally reported to Navy leaders. The Tailhook scandal eventually led to the resignation of the Secretary of the Navy and the retirement
of the commander of its investigative service. Capt. Lory Manning (Ret.) was a telecommunications subspecialist in the Navy over a 26-year career that ended with her retirement in 1995. Today she’s director of government relations at the nonprofit Service Women’s Action Network. Both male and female aviators, Manning said, suffered in the rancorous aftermath of Tailhook, while top Navy leaders – many of whom attended the convention and knew what was going on – seemed to be letting lower-ranking aviators take the fall. “Any male who had been at Tailhook had to prove that he had not molest-
Air Control Officer Lt. Nydia Williams, left, Radar Operator Lt. j.g. Ashley Ellison, Plane Commander Lt. Cmdr. Tara Refo, Pilot Lt. Ashley Ruic, and Mission Commander Lt. Cmdr. Brandy Jackson, all assigned to Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 125, pose for a photo before flying the first all-female-crewed combat mission in an E-2C Hawkeye aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) on Jan. 25, 2012.
ed somebody before he could get his promotion,” she said. “But I think the people who got the worst of Tailhook were the women aviators who, afterward, went to aviation training and went … to those squadrons as the first women.” To this day, the 1994 death of Lt. Kara Hultgreen, an F-14 pilot who crashed on approach to the carri-
er USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) off the coast of San Diego, is an event that seems hopelessly tangled in the indignations lingering after Tailhook. But as Manning pointed out, subsequent classes of female aviators progressed rapidly in the ranks. By 1998, several women were flying combat missions in the Persian Gulf from the carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65), monitoring the “no-fly” zone in southern Iraq, and in December of that year they became the first female fighter pilots to see combat, dropping missiles and laser-guided bombs over targets in Iraq. Women aboard surface ships, Manning said, had an easier time
U.S. NAVY PHOTO BY MC2 JAMES R. EVANS
integrating into their units. The first female commander of a naval ship, Lt. Cmdr. Darlene Iskra, took command of the USS Opportune (ARS 41), a rescue and salvage ship, in 1990. The Navy’s first gender-integrated warship was the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), whose crew of 4,967 included 425 women. In 1997, the Navy commissioned the USS The Sullivans (DDG 68), the first ship designed and built to accommodate both male and female crewmembers. By 2003, when then-Cmdr. Anne Claire Phillips took command of the Navy’s new destroyer, USS Mustin (DDG 89), female skippers had become commonplace. Concerns about tight quarters and the costs of modifications, however, continued to keep women from service aboard submarines – until it became clear that the benefits of women’s submarine service would outweigh these drawbacks. In the early 2000s, submarine duty was considered among the most prestigious in the Navy. “The submarines got the cream of the crop of the graduates of Annapolis and ROTC, the very best men,” Manning said. But interestingly, high admission standards for women tended to push them toward the top of the Academy’s graduating class. “And what the submarines need more than anything,” continued Manning, “are people with brains.” The first group of female submarine officers completed nuclear power school and officially reported for duty aboard two ballistic and two guided-missile submarines in November 2011. Enlisted women began receiving their first assignments for submarine duty in 2015. Today, about 80 female officers and 50 enlisted women serve aboard submarines, and the first Navy submarines expressly built to accommodate female crewmembers are in the design phase, with the first scheduled to enter service in 2021. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have also served as an equalizer for Navy women. Along with service in air squadrons and aboard ships in the Persian Gulf, many Navy women served alongside combat support troops, as corpsmen attached to Marine units, or as “augmentees” drawn from the Navy to serve combat support units. Many Navy personnel, despite serving in support roles, saw ground combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Petty Officer 1st Class Regina Clark, for
example, was one of six service members – three of them women – killed in a convoy attack in Fallujah, Iraq, in June 2005. Women’s encounters with direct combat in Iraq and Afghanistan – still strictly forbidden under Pentagon rules dating to 1994 – led to an explicit change in these rules. All remaining prohibitions on military combat were lifted, beginning in 2013. In 2014, the Navy admitted the first women aboard the assault boats of its Coastal Riverine Force, and in 2016, the last off-limits Navy job – the service’s elite special operations forces unit, the SEALs – was opened to women applicants. So far no woman has completed the SEAL training course. But it’s early. About 94 percent of male applicants don’t meet the basic requirements for SEAL training, and 75 percent of qualified SEAL candidates don’t make it through the first month of basic training. Long before these last barriers to women’s service had fallen, women had become an integral part of the all-volunteer Navy. The service’s top leaders include those who began long careers of service in the 1980s and 1990s. “What we’re seeing now are women captains and women admirals commanding Navy ships, commanding air wings,” Manning said. It’s a trend certain to continue into the future, given current percentages: Women make up nearly 20 percent of the Navy’s total force end-strength, and about 27 percent of the midshipmen in the Naval Academy’s class of 2021 are women. They now have plenty of role models to look to – such as Michelle Howard, who became the Naval Academy’s first African-American graduate in 1982 and went on to command a destroyer, an amphibious squadron, an expeditionary strike group, and the combined task force that rescued Richard Phillips, captain of the Maersk Alabama, from Somali pirates in 2009. In July 2014, when Howard became the first female four-star admiral in the U.S. Navy, she was also named the 38th Vice Chief of Naval Operations. “That’s the No. 2 job in the whole Navy,” said Manning. “You’re really starting to see these women who began their careers aboard ships and aircraft, 20 to 25 years later, coming into real honest-to-God leadership roles. And sooner or later, one of them will be on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.” I I
Concerns about tight quarters and the costs of modifications, however, continued to keep women from service aboard submarines – until it became clear that the benefits of women’s submarine service would outweigh these drawbacks.
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Founded in 1963 and headquartered in
the U.S. armed services.
Sparks, Nevada, SNC operates under the leadership of owners, CEO Fatih Ozmen
SNC’s technologies are used in diverse
and President Eren Ozmen. For more than
applications the world over – from land to
50 years, customers have turned to SNC for
sea, air and space – including navigation
its technical expertise and reputation for
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than 3,000 people—from scientists and cybersecurity experts to software engineers
Anchored by our heritage, we dream
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support of customer needs.
generation of engineers and innovators so we can all realize a better, safer world.
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Jennifer Jensen VICE PRESIDENT, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, ELECTRONIC AND INFORMATION SYSTEMS
lifetime of academic experience
I worked. I found a position here
also includes a Bachelors of
where I could make a
Aeronautical Science from Florida
substantial contribution. I have
Institute of Technology; USAF
now been with the company
Command and Staff College;
long enough to see beginning
multiple civil and military fixed
to end on programs—it’s been
and rotary wing ratings to include
personally satisfying to be able
to demonstrate how good our products are to our customers.
I always had a love of flying Jennifer Jensen joined SNC
and got my pilots license at
in 2011 after retiring from the
17; I continued to fly and earn
U.S. Army with 23 years as a
multiple fixed wing ratings
former Senior Army Aviator and
through college. I was selected
Acquisition Corps Officer. She was
for the Aviation branch in
directly responsible for rapidly
the Army and started to fly
deploying real-time unmanned
helicopters. I completely enjoyed
My advice regarding transitioning
aircraft video directly into the
numerous duty stations around
to civilian life? Take a realistic
hands of U.S. Army soldiers.
the world and then transitioned
look internally to assess your
to contracting and program
personal needs, what type of job
makes you happy, and a good
She has experience in strategic
“I FOUND A POSITION HERE WHERE I COULD MAKE A SUBSTANTIAL CONTRIBUTION.”
planning and program
assessment of what skills you
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Incognito to Full Inclusion A History of Women in the U.S. Army By Jan Tegler
efore there was a United States of America, there were women, as well as men, fighting to secure its future. From serving the nation’s first organized military force – the Continental Army – in traditional and nontraditional roles to performing the full range of military occupations today, female participation in the U.S. Army has been a constant. Women began not only supporting combat operations unofficially as cooks, nurses, and seamstresses, but engaging directly in combat and as spies during the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. Their involvement continued with the creation of the Army Nurse Corps at the turn of the 20th century, work in the Army Signal Corps, and serving as Army nurses in World War I. The establishment of the Women’s Army Corps during World War II and the integration of women into the regular Army in the 1970s advanced their roles and recognition further.
In 2017, women reached new peaks, joining infantry and armor units for the first time and graduating from the Army’s prestigious Ranger School as they began to fill the 138,000 combat positions opened to them in 2016. On Aug. 1, 2017, West Point Cadet Simone Askew was selected as the “First Captain” at the U.S Military Academy, becoming the first-ever African-American female to lead the Corps of Cadets. Askew can trace her own achievement over an arc of female predecessors, dating all the way back to the American Revolution and daring women like Deborah Sampson.
Women, the Army, and the Revolution Sampson embarked on a radically different path than most of the women who were present at Army camps and garrisons during the Revolution. The majority was there to feed the soldiers, act as seamstresses,
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or fulfill one of the noblest and longest-standing military roles for women: nurse. In fact, shortly after the 1775 establishment of the Continental Army, Gen. George Washington asked Congress for “a matron to
In 2017, women reached new peaks, joining infantry and armor units for the first time and graduating from the Army’s prestigious Ranger School as they began to fill the 138,000 combat positions opened to them in 2016.
First Captain of the Corps of Cadets Simone Askew leads the U.S. Military Academy Class of 2021 as they complete their 12-mile march back from Camp Buckner to West Point on Aug. 14, 2017.
supervise the nurses, bedding, etc.,” and for nurses “to attend the sick and obey the matron’s orders.” The Second Continental Congress adopted a plan to provide one nurse for every 10 patients and stipulated “that a matron be allotted to every hundred sick or wounded.” The assignment of female nurses to Continental Army units was vital to their effectiveness and cohesion. Disease was as deleterious as battle wounds to the soldiers of the Army. Nurses were a bulwark against both, and their care not only saved lives, it helped keep units together. The promise of medical care had a decidedly positive impact on the desertion rate of fighting men from Army units. Many who might have fled otherwise stayed and fought. But men weren’t the only ones to engage in direct combat with the king’s forces. Sampson fought alongside them – disguised as a man.
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WOMEN IN THE ARMED FORCES Chapman University is proud to recognize Professor Kyndra Miller Rotunda for her service, dedication and leadership to the Armed Forces, where she previously served as a Major in the US Army JAG Corps. As the Executive Director of Chapman’s Military and Veterans’ Law Institute, Rotunda leads law students and recent law grads in litigating cases on behalf of veterans and military families. Their work is pro bono and they’ve recovered millions of dollars for wounded troops. Rotunda’s team also engages in scholarly research and writing. She is author of three books in the military law genre; publishes opinion pieces for major newspapers; and appears on nationally syndicated radio and television programs, giving voice to America’s unsung heroes. Major Rotunda is proof that we can all do anything imaginable.
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In 1783, Sampson was assigned as a waiter to Gen. John Paterson. That summer, she became ill in Philadelphia and was cared for by a doctor named Barnabas Binney, who upon examining her discovered she was actually a woman. removed the bullet herself, fearing discovery if she were treated by a doctor, but the wound failed to heal properly and caused her discomfort thereafter. In the summer of 1783, while in Philadelphia, Sampson fell ill with a near-fatal fever and was cared for by a doctor named Barnabus Binney, who upon examining her discovered she was actually a woman. With her secret revealed, she was granted an honorable discharge in October and returned to Massachusetts. In the winter of 1792, Sampson petitioned the Massachusetts State Legislature for pay that the Army had withheld from her because she was a woman. The legislature granted her petition and Gov. John Hancock signed it. She received 34 pounds plus interest accrued from the time of her discharge in 1783. In 1804, her friend Paul Revere wrote to Massachusetts Congressman William Eustis on her behalf, asking that the now-married mother of three be granted a pension. It was granted in 1805 and again in 1821. Congress further recognized her claims as a Revolutionary soldier after her 1827 death by granting her husband a widow’s pension. Sampson’s experience may not have been singular but it was certainly uncommon. It’s unknown how many women may have fought in combat during the Revolutionary War, but there were others. Margaret Cochran Corbin traveled with her husband, John Corbin, when he joined the First Company of the Pennsylvania Artillery in 1775. She became a camp follower, cooking and doing laundry for the soldiers. Corbin was also at her husband’s side at the Nov. 16, 1776 Battle of Fort Washington on Manhattan Island. Manning a cannon, John was killed during a Hessian assault. When he fell, Margaret took his place, continuing to fire the gun until her arm, chest, and jaw were hit by enemy fire. The British were victorious, taking Margaret and other Continental soldiers prisoner. Corbin was released along with wounded male soldiers by the British to recover from her injuries. She settled in Philadelphia, mostly disabled, and never fully recovered. In 1779, Congress’ Board of War, cognizant of Corbin’s injuries and impressed by her service and bravery, granted her half the monthly pay of a soldier in the Continental Army and a new set of clothes or its equivalent in cash. She thus became the first American woman to receive a military pension and was included on military rolls until the war ended. Thereafter, she was enrolled in the Corps of Invalids created by Congress for wounded soldiers. She was discharged from the Army in 1783.
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Disguised as a man, Deborah Sampson fought alongside men in the Continental Army.
In the spring of 1782, Sampson traveled to Worcester, Massachusetts, wearing a suit of men’s clothes she had sewn during the winter. There, she successfully enlisted in the Light Infantry Company of the 4th Massachusetts Regiment under the assumed name of Robert Shurtleff. By that time, the fighting had migrated to New York, and Sampson marched with her regiment to West Point to protect the Hudson Highlands from the British, who still occupied New York City. There, she fought in several skirmishes, including a battle near Tarrytown, New York. She was wounded during fighting in New York, shot in the thigh; she
RIGHT: Civil War surgeon Mary E. Walker performed heroically as a volunteer field surgeon for the Union Army during the Civil War. She received the Medal of Honor. FAR RIGHT: Dorothea Lynde Dix served as superintendent of Army nurses for the Union Army during the Civil War.
At the conclusion of the war, the Continental Army disbanded, and the U.S. Army was created in June 1784. The role of women in the newly established Army remained modest until the nation’s next great conflict.
Women were secretly present on the battlefields of the Civil War just as they had been during the Revolution but in greater numbers. More than 400 women are estimated to have disguised themselves as men to fight for the Union and Confederate armies during the war. Following the Civil War, the Army Adjutant General’s Office (in charge of maintenance of the U.S. Army Archives) compiled military service records for both Union and Confederate participants in the conflict. Documentation of women’s service was included, though the Army wasn’t keen on revealing it. Women like Sarah Emma Edmonds Seelye and Jennie Hodgers were among the best documented, having served long term in the Union Army. Seelye served two years in the Second Michigan Infantry as Franklin Thompson, participating in the Peninsula Campaign and the battles of Second Manassas, Fredericksburg, and Antietam. In 1886, she received a military pension. Hodgers enlisted as Albert D.J. Cashier in the 95th Illinois Infantry and served until Aug. 17, 1865, when the regiment was mustered out of the Union army. She’s said to have participated in approximately 40 battles and skirmishes. Exceedingly lax standards for recruitment in both the Union and Confederate armies allowed women who disguised
themselves to enlist more easily than may be appreciated today. Assuming male names, dress, and cultivating the speech and habits of men, soldier-women were, like their male peers, not subject to proof of identity. Physical examinations were cursory. And with so many under-aged boys in the ranks on both sides, women had a good chance of blending in. Soldiers slept in their clothes, bathed in their underwear, and went as long as six weeks without changing their underclothes. In addition, the vast majority of Union and Confederate soldiers were civilian enlistees, unfamiliar with Army life. This put
women at little disadvantage to males in learning to be warriors. Nevertheless, discovery was always a worry – particularly for those women wounded in battle. A fascinating episode ties the experience of Civil War women and the Army together uniquely – with one woman in the unfamiliar guise of combatant, and the other famously in the familiar role as a nurse to soldiers. A woman named Mary Galloway was wounded in the chest during the Battle of Antietam. Clara Barton, attending to the wound, “discovered the gender of the soft-faced ‘boy’ and coaxed her into revealing her true identity and going home after recuperation.” Nearly 6,000 women performed as nurses for the Union Army, including an estimated 181 black nurses who served in convalescent and U.S. government hospitals during the war. Female nurses often performed their service close to the fighting or on the battlefields themselves, earning the respect of soldiers,
Nevertheless, discovery was always a worry – particularly for those women wounded in battle.
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Women and the Armies of the Civil War
and in Barton’s case, the nickname “Angel of the RIGHT: Known as the Founder of Battlefield.” the Army Nurse Barton was appointed “lady in charge” of the Corps, Dr. Anita N. McGee drafted the hospitals at the front of the Army of the James bill that led to the by Union Gen. Benjamin Butler in 1864. Other Army Nurse Corps’ women distinguished themselves as nurses as creation. BELOW RIGHT: well, including Dorothea Dix. She served as Dita H. Kinney was superintendent of Army nurses for the Union, a role appointed the first superintendent of in which she set guidelines for nurse candidates the Nurse Corps in and was an advocate of treating both Union and 1901. Confederate wounded equally. Dr. Mary E. Walker performed heroically as a volunteer field surgeon with Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside’s troops at battles in Warrenton and Fredericksburg, Virginia, in 1862 and was appointed an assistant surgeon in the Army of the Cumberland’s 52nd Ohio Regiment after tending casualties at the Battle of Chickamauga in 1863. In April 1864, she was captured by Confederate troops and spent four months in various prisons until she was exchanged for a Confederate surgeon in August 1864. In recognition of her gallant service during these and other battles, President Andrew Johnson presented Walker with the Medal of Honor on Nov. 11, 1865. She wore the decoration every day for the rest of her life and remains the sole female recipient of the Medal of Honor.
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The Creation of the Army Nurse Corps When the Spanish-American War broke out in 1898 following the loss of the battleship USS Maine and American intervention in the Cuban War of Independence, military nursing was almost nonexistent. It had become an important component of modern conflict but had been almost completely neglected since the Civil War. However, on April 28, 1898, just three days after Congress declared that a state of war between the United States and Spain had existed since April 21, the surgeon general requested and was given authority to appoint female nurses under contract. “Contract nurses” had existed during the Civil War. Walker was one, contracted as an assistant surgeon by the Army Medical Department. But the idea didn’t really take hold until the Spanish-American War. Between 1898 and 1901, more than 1,500 female nurses signed government contracts and served in the United States, Puerto Rico, the Philippine Islands, Hawaii, China, Japan, and on the hospital ship Relief. Recognizing the value of their service, the Army established the Nurse Corps as a permanent corps of the Medical Department under the Army Reorganization Act of 1901. The bill that led to the Nurse Corps’ creation was authored by Dr. Anita N. McGee, who was serving as acting assistant surgeon. Thereafter she was known as “the Founder of the Army Nurse Corps.” Dita H. Kinney was appointed the first superintendent of the Nurse Corps in 1901. Nurses were appointed to the regular Army for a three-year period but were not actually commissioned as officers in the regular Army during that period of time. Their appointment
could be renewed provided the applicant had a “satisfactory record for efficiency, conduct and health.” The Army Reorganization Act also stipulated that the surgeon general maintain a cadre of nurses who would be willing to serve in an emergency. These were women with at least six months of satisfactory service who were retained on a reserve status. This became the first-ever Reserve Corps of women.
Army nurses on the Western Front often worked close to the trenches, living in bunkers and makeshift tents with few comforts. They withstood the horror of sustained artillery barrages and the debilitating effects of mustard gas. They also battled the global influenza outbreak
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ABOVE: An Army nurse wears the Caduceus, the winged staff and serpent of the Medical Corps, with the “U.S.” on her outdoor uniform. ABOVE RIGHT: The Army Signal Corps recruited and trained women as telephone operators. The Women’s Radio Corps also replaced male wireless operators who had gone to war and trained male draftees in wireless classes. RIGHT: Oveta Culp Hobby, first commanding officer of the Women’s Army Corps. She later became the first secretary of the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, and chairperson of the board of the Houston Post.
When America entered World War I in April 1917, there were just 403 nurses on active duty. But like the rest of the U.S. military, the Nurse Corps was rapidly expanded. The Army Reorganization Act of 1918 led to a redesignation of the Nurse Corps as the “Army Nurse Corps,” and by the war’s end, more than 21,000 women were serving in the Army Nurse Corps in camps near the front lines and in station hospitals overseas and at home. This amounted to more than half of the American women who served during the Great War.
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Army Women in World War I
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Their presence stirred considerable public interest as the corps presented the biggest opportunity to test integration in the Army.
of 1918, which took the lives of an 50-100 million people. More than 200 Army nurses succumbed to influenza and pneumonia. While the Army Nurse Corps accounted for the greatest share of female participation, it wasn’t the only branch of the service in which women served. The U.S. Army Signal Corps turned to women to serve as bilingual telephone operators. More than 220 women were recruited and trained as French-speaking operators to meet the Army’s needs overseas. Known as the “Hello Girls,” they were required to purchase uniforms designed by the Army with Army insignia and buttons, and were issued travel orders and per diem orders reading “same as Army nurses in Army regulations.” However, when the war ended, the women were not discharged; the Army claimed they’d never officially been “in” the service. It wasn’t until 1979 that the women telephone operators of the Signal Corps were granted military status. Female participation in the “war to end all wars” demonstrated a contribution to America that could no longer be ignored. Social change accom-
ABOVE: Maj. Charity E. Adams and Capt. Abbie N. Campbell inspect the first contingent of AfricanAmerican members of the Women’s Army Corps assigned to overseas service. BELOW: A World War II recruiting poster for the Women’s Army Corps.
panied their contributions when on June 4, 1919, the 19th Amendment passed, guaranteeing women the right to vote.
Army Women in World War II Women played many new roles during the largest conflict in history, supporting the war effort directly and indirectly. Opportunity expanded as never before, and with the entire American population mobilized, women entered professions that were previously the preserve of men. Nearly 400,000 women served with the armed forces during World War II, including 60,000 Army nurses. During the interwar period, the Army Nurse Corps was a shadow of itself, about 1/20th the size of its World War I peak. But with another war on the horizon, some leaders recognized that women would be vital to the effort as nurses and in other roles. In May 1941, U.S. Rep. Edith Nourse Rogers of Massachusetts introduced a bill for the creation of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC). It languished, but the legislation was reintroduced after the attack on Pearl Harbor,
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LEFT: Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAACS) on parade ground going through the company drill, Des Moines, Iowa, 1942. BELOW: Elizabeth P. Hoisington, director of the Women’s Army Corps, seen here as a colonel, was one of the first two female generals in the U.S. Army.
America’s entry into the war, and the stark realization that manpower challenges would mount quickly as war production increased. The bill passed the next year and freed men for combat duty by creating a cadre of up to 150,000 women in noncombatant clerical worker roles. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the bill into law on May 15, 1942, and the next day, Oveta Culp Hobby was sworn in as the first director. WAAC recruiting and training centers were quickly organized, with Fort Des Moines, Iowa, chosen as the first WAAC Training Center. More than 30,000 women nationwide applied for fewer than 1,500 positions,
and the first arrivals streamed into Fort Des Moines in July 1942. Among their ranks were 125 enlisted women and 440 officer candidates (including 40 AfricanAmerican women), who had been selected to attend the WAAC Officer Candidate School (OCS). Their presence stirred considerable public interest as the corps presented the biggest opportunity to test integration in the Army. Following OCS, AfricanAmerican officers and white officers were segregated. In 1942, Charity Adams became the first AfricanAmerican female commissioned officer in the WAAC. Initially, WAAC officers and enlisted were only assigned as clerks, typists, drivers, cooks, and unit cadre. Within one year of the WAAC establishment, however, more than 400 jobs opened to women. But because WAAC legislation didn’t make women an integral part of the Army, they could not be governed by Army regulations or the Articles of War. Women and men received the same pay at home, but women weren’t eligible for overseas pay or government life insurance. Strong in its first year, WAAC recruiting was down by mid-1943; higher paying jobs in the war industries, unequal benefits with men, and difficulty navigating the male-dominated Army contributed to the decline. With this in mind, Nourse Rogers presented bills to the House and Senate in January 1943 advocating for the enlistment and commissioning of women in the Army of the United States, or reserve forces, as opposed to regular enlistments in the U.S. Army. The bills would end the “auxiliary” status of the WAAC, allow women to serve overseas, and “free a man to fight.” Roosevelt signed the bills into law in mid-1943. The WAAC was now the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) and a constituent part of the United States Army. Women could enjoy all of the ranks, privileges, and benefits of their male counterparts. More than 150,000 women served as WACs during the war, recruited from all 50 states and territories, including Puerto Rico. Nisei women (second-generation Japanese-American women) were also recruited. Hundreds were selected, with a number trained in linguistics at the Military Intelligence Service Language School at Fort Snelling, Minnesota. At war’s end, some Nisei WACs found themselves serving as translators and office workers at Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s headquarters in Tokyo. In 1943, the WAC recruited a unit of Chinese-American women to serve with the Army Air Forces as “Air WACs.” Referred to as the “Madame Chiang Kai-Shek
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U.S. ARMY PHOTO BY STAFF SGT. KAILY BROWN
Air WAC unit,” the first two women to enlist in the unit were Hazel (Toy) Nakashima and Jit Wong, both of California. Air WACs served in a large variety of jobs, including aerial photo interpretation, air traffic control, and weather forecasting. The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion – an all-African-American, all-female battalion during World War II – worked in England and France in 1945, making it the first African-American female battalion to travel overseas. Now a major, Charity Adams commanded the unit. WAC women were assigned to the Army Air Forces, Army Ground Forces, and the Army Service Forces’ nine service commands, the Military District of Washington, and the Technical Services. Opportunities rapidly expanded with WAC assignments in the Army Air Forces, where they served as weather forecasters/observers, electrical specialists, sheet metal workers, Link trainer instructors, control tower specialists, airplane
U.S. Army soldiers from the Cultural Support Team (CST) and Female Treatment Team (FTT) are introduced to members of the women’s shura held at a local compound in the village of Oshay, Uruzgan province, Afghanistan, May 4, 2011. With the support of U.S. special operations forces, the CST and FTT worked closely together in order to bring health education to women in the area, as well as give them a voice in the district.
mechanics, photo-laboratory technicians, and photo interpreters. WACs also served with Army Ground Forces at Armor and Cavalry Schools as radio technicians and maintainers, and trained men in field artillery and code sending and receiving. The Army Service Forces’ Signal Corps used WACs as photographic experts, telephone, radio, and teletype operators, cryptographers, and cryptanalysts. WACs were assigned to the Technical Services’ Transportation Corps, processing troops and mail, and as medical and surgical technicians within the medical department. They also served with the Adjutant General’s Corps, Chemical Warfare Service, Quartermaster Corps, finance department, provost marshal, and Corps of Chaplains.
Following the war, WACs had no peacetime component or inactive Reserve. Lacking re-employment rights, employment for women would be meager in peacetime. Hobby disbanded the WAC when the war ended, and Congress mandated re-employment rights for WAACs and WACs in August 1946.
Postwar Landmarks WAC service during World War II proved to be exceptional. This led to the signing of the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act by President Harry S. Truman in June 1948. The act granted women a permanent presence in the military, including Army WACs, Navy WAVES, and Air Force and Marine Corps women. Women were also eligible to serve in the Reserve components of each service. Executive Order 9981 established equal treatment and opportunity in the armed services one month later, opening the door for the racial desegregation of the Army. Later in 1948, the first
U.S. ARMY PHOTO BY STAFF SGT. STEVE CORTEZ
training center for the permanent WAC opened at Camp Lee, Virginia. WAC Organized Reserve Corps training got underway in 1949, with direct commissions offered to female college graduates in the Organized Reserve Corps. The Women’s Medical Specialist Corps and the Army Nurse Corps were established as part of the regular Army in 1947, with military nurses receiving permanent commissioned officer status. When the Korean War broke out in June 1950, WAC officers were involuntarily recalled, marking the first time women were summoned to active duty without their consent. Thousands of WACs went on to serve during the war in a multitude of roles – most notably as nurses in Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) units close to the front lines, and on Army transport ships. Through the 1950s, refinement of the WAC continued. Restrictions were lifted
Capt. Kristen Griest (right) and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver receive their Ranger tabs during their graduation from the U.S. Army Ranger School at Fort Benning, Georgia, Aug. 21, 2015. Griest and Haver became the first female graduates of the school.
on the number of women who could be recruited, and the Army standardized Army-green service uniforms for men and women. The first WACs to serve during the Vietnam War went overseas in 1962, but it wasn’t until 1965 that WACs could serve in support elements. Army nurses accompanied the rapid buildup of American forces in theater, and by the end of the war, more than 9,000 Army nurses had served in hospitals and clinics throughout Vietnam. With promotion and retirement restrictions lifted in the late 1960s, Army women rose to new levels. President Richard M. Nixon selected Col. Anna Mae Hays, chief of the Army Nurse Corps, and Col. Elizabeth P. Hoisington, director of
the Women’s Army Corps, for promotion to brigadier general in June 1970. The major milestone of the period was the full integration of women into the all-volunteer military that followed the Vietnam War. Women entered Army ROTC programs alongside men in 1972, the U.S. Military Academy in 1976, and integrated basic training in 1977. Their contributions were essential in the smallest peacetime military force in decades, and their status was influenced by the feminist movement of the 1970s. By 1978, the need for a separate Women’s Army Corps was gone, and the WAC was disestablished in October of that year. Women were authorized to serve the same 36-month overseas tours as their single male counterparts, and Army enlistment qualifications became identical for men and women in 1979. Through the 1980s and 1990s, Army women broke more barriers. More than
U.S. ARMY PHOTO BY STAFF SGT. KAILY BROWN
100 women participated in the U.S. invasion of Grenada in 1983. More than 600 were involved in Operation Just Cause in Panama in 1989. Capt. Linda Bray, a military police commander in Panama, became the first woman to command men in battle. During Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, women were utilized in a wide variety of roles, from leading a company of Chinook helicopters into Iraq on day one of the ground war to guarding POWs and commanding battalion-sized material management centers. More than 40,000 women deployed for the conflict. Fifteen were killed and two were imprisoned by Iraqi forces. By 1994, the “Direct Ground Combat Definition and Assignment Rule” allowed women “to be assigned to all positions for which they qualified, except for units below brigade level whose primary mission is to engage the enemy in direct combat.”
Women in the 21st Century Army Steady progress toward women’s participation in the full scope of Army missions continued in the wake of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the advent of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2005, Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester became the first woman to be awarded the Silver Star for heroic
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announces the full integration of women into the armed forces in 2015.
actions in direct combat on March 20, during an enemy ambush on a supply convoy near the town of Salman Pak, Iraq. Hester and her military police squad leader, Staff Sgt. Timothy F. Nein, assaulted a trench line with hand grenades and M203 grenade launcher rounds. Nein and Hester assaulted and cleared two trenches during the 25-minute fire fight. In 2010, the Army began utilizing Female Engagement Teams and Combat Support Teams in Afghanistan to engage female populations. Three years later, Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta ended the Defense Department’s ban on women in direct ground combat roles, opening the path for their service in artillery, armor, infantry, and other combat roles and military occupational specialties. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter cemented the full integration of women in 2015, and beginning in January 2016, all military occupations and positions opened to women, without exception. Now a line can be drawn from Deborah Sampson’s service incognito during the Revolution to Capt. Kristen Griest and 1st Lt. Shaye L. Haver, who in 2015 became the first women to complete the Army’s acclaimed Ranger School and earn their Ranger tabs. Griest and Haver accomplished their feat as fully integrated members of the U.S. Army. II
Teachers College Women in the Military The U.S. military and Teachers College, the nation’s first and largest graduate school of education, are partners of long standing. The Eisenhower Leader Development Program, operated by the College and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, prepares many graduates for service as Tactical Officers who command Cadet Companies at West Point. The College is home to the Resilience Center for Veterans & Families, which pairs groundbreaking research on human emotional resilience with clinical training of therapists to assist veterans and their families in transitioning to civilian life. TC also participates in the Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program, which helps cover the cost of post9/11 era veterans’ tuition expenses at private colleges and universities.
Women are a major part of the Teachers College community, and our female graduates are especially well-represented in military history. Their ranks include: Olivia Hooker (M.A. ’47), the first African-American woman to serve in the Coast Guard and later a prominent advocate for the learning disabled. As a child, Hooker survived the infamous Tulsa Race Riots of 1921. She graduated from The Ohio State University, became a third-grade teacher and volunteered for national service in World War II. When the Navy declined her application, she served in a Coast Guard unit called SPAR – short for the Coast Guard’s motto, Semper Paratus, or “Always Ready.” Hooker earned an M.A. in Psychological Services at Teachers College and a Ph.D. at the University of Rochester. She advocated for incarcerated women incorrectly labeled “learning disabled”; directed the Kennedy Child Center; taught at Fordham University; and served as a psychologist at the Fred Keller School. She co-founded the Tulsa Race Riot Commission, which seeks reparations for the riot’s victims. At 95, Hooker joined the Coast Guard Auxiliary. In 2015, the Coast Guard Sector in Staten Island named its dining and training facilities after her. In 2016, she received Teachers College’s Distinguished Alumna Award. She recently celebrated her 103 rd birthday.
Army nurse Anna Mae McCabe Hays (B.S. ’58), the first woman in the U.S. armed forces to wear the insignia of a Brigadier General. Hays enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. She deployed with the 20 th General Hospital to India in 1943; and, in 1950, she deployed to Korea with the 4 th Field Hospital as part of the Inchon Landing, helping to treat more than 25,000 patients. Hays also played a field pump organ for weddings and church services, often on the front lines. Hays became Colonel and head emergency room nurse at Walter Reed Hospital, once acting as a private nurse to President Dwight Eisenhower. In 1967, she became the Army Nurse Corps’ 13 th Chief. Hays was promoted to Brigadier General in 1970. On her recommendations, the military ceased automatically discharging officers who became pregnant and determining appointments to the Army Nurse Corps Reserve based on the nurse’s dependents’ ages, and began awarding spouses of female service members privileges like those of spouses of male service members. Hays passed away in January of this year at the age of 97.
Major General Irene Trowell-Harris, USAF, retired, who served for 38 years in the U.S. Air Force/Air National Guard and won appointment under President Obama to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Women Veterans. Trowell-Harris (Ed.D.’83) grew up picking cotton with her 10 siblings to help their parents maintain their farm. She went on to earn flight nurse wings and master’s and doctoral degrees and to author Sky High: No Goal Is Out of Your Reach (Veterans Publishing Systems 2009). Trowell-Harris was the first African-American female in the National Guard’s history to be promoted to General Officer, and the first to have a mentoring award and a Tuskegee Airmen Inc. Chapter named in her honor. She has received the Dr. James D. Weaver Society Award, named for the Pennsylvania Congressman and Air National Guard Flight Surgeon; been inducted into the Columbia University Nursing Hall of Fame and the Yale University School of Medicine Honor Roll; and been named among the “21 Leaders for the 21st Century” by Women’s eNews. She holds Distinguished Alumna Awards from Teachers College and Yale University and the Eagle Award from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
Current Teachers College clinical psychology doctoral student Meaghan Mobbs, who has conducted groundbreaking research on the impact of “transition stress” on returning military veterans. A former U.S. Army Captain who attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and subsequently commanded an aerial delivery detachment in Afghanistan, Mobbs is the David & Maureen O’Connor Scholar at TC’s Resilience Center for Veterans & Families, where she works with renowned TC psychologist George Bonanno. In a recent paper in Clinical Psychology Review, Mobbs and Bonanno argue that transition stress – the unfamiliar pressures of living on one’s own, raising a family and functioning without a tight-knit community of fellow service members – affects a much larger percentage of former military personnel than post-traumatic stress disorder and thus should become the primary basis for research and treatment centered on veterans’ psychological health. Mobbs will soon lead a unique study of 600 men and women from all branches of the military, from their final months in active duty through their transition into civilian life.
Learn About Our Programs The Eisenhower Leader Development Program at: www.tc.edu/ELDP The TC Resilience Center for Veterans & Families at: www.tc.edu/resilience The College’s Clinical Psychology program at: www.tc.edu/clinicalpsych The College’s Social-Organizational Psychology program at: www.tc.edu/socialorgpsych
RESILIENCE PIONEERS David O'Connor (left), whose gift created TC's Resilience Center for Veterans & Families; with TC psychologist Dinelia Rosa; Resilience Center Director George Bonanno; and TC President Susan Fuhrman
ELDP FOUNDER Teachers College psychologist and Eisenhower Leader Development Program co-founder W. Warner Burke received an Outstanding Civilian Service Medal Award from the Department of the Army. Burke’s office is adorned with a ceremonial sword he received from the United States Military Academy at West Point.
MISSION T-Mobile proudly celebrates the 100th anniversary of women in the U.S. armed forces. Bring your military experience to The Un-carrier and together, letâ€™s transform wireless for millions.
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Lamettress F. Retail Sergeant, U.S. Army
“You’ve earned your place.”
Meet an inspiring military leader – and true Un-carrier® contributor. I’ve been a proud member of the Army National Guard for nearly two decades, and in that time, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to bring your best – and become your best – no matter what the challenge is. But back when I joined the Guard, I didn’t see myself staying in for the long haul. I was just looking for a way to pay for school, and a friend convinced me that joining the military was the answer. Looking back, it was one of the best decisions I could have ever made. But it wasn’t close to easy. Imagine you’re a kid right out of high school, going to community college and working full-time in the National Guard as a recruiter aid so you can afford to eventually transfer to a private college and get the degree you had your heart set on. You’re not working off anyone’s playbook: you’re just figuring it out as you go along, and throwing yourself into every opportunity that comes along. And that’s just what I did. After graduating, I did a little bit of everything. Some full-time roles with the Guard, some part-time while I explored my future. Going to language school. Working in commercial real estate. And along the way, I kept rising in rank, paying my dues, and figuring out what my next step would be. And it’s funny: working full-time in the corporate world taught me some hard lessons, and when I took a step back, I realized that cultural fit was really important to me. Turns out, the military was the ideal place where I could bring my authentic self to work, not to mention see my efforts appreciated and celebrated. After an eight-month deployment to the Philippines supporting special operations forces (where I met tremendous people and worked on some truly amazing project), I realized I needed a change in my
work-life outside of the Guard. Taking the skills I had just put into my professional toolkit, I started doing contract work in project management. And eventually, that’s how I met T-Mobile back in 2014. Which brings me to where I am now: I’m about to receive my promotion to Lieutenant Colonel in the Army National Guard, and I’m working full-time for the Un-carrier®, doing work that I truly love. I get amazing support from my team, not because they have to, but because they want to. I also chair our Diversity and Inclusion veterans network here at T-Mobile, where I have the privilege of meeting with a lot of veterans and allies. When I talk about my time in the military, there are so many situations I can look back on as building blocks and learning experiences. But there are a few things that I think are key to anyone’s career – and for women pursuing a career in the armed forces, these are things I wish someone had told me at the beginning.
Tana Avellar Military Intelligence Officer, Major Army National Guard Manager, HR Governance and Data Infrastructure T-Mobile®
You’ve earned your place. Women have earned their place in history – and our shared future. You are every bit as qualified and deserving to stand next to your male counterparts in leadership positions, no matter what the industry. Be better than the person next to you. I’ve held this as my constant since I joined. Never give anything less than your best, and let your achievements speak volumes for your potential – and open the door for your next challenge. Pay it forward. As a leader in the armed forces, I can clearly see that there are fewer women in power as you go up the pyramid, and I’m not alone in wanting to see that change. That’s why I make it my mission to actively reach out and help lift up other women coming through the ranks. What’s next for me? I’m going to continue serving my country in the Army National Guard – and I’m going to keep mixing it up with the Un-carrier as we change wireless for good. Which leads to another question: what’s next for you? Whether you’re active-duty military, retired, or still looking for the right careermove, you owe it to yourself to explore the Un-carrier. You’ll find a culture that allows you to bring your best self to work, coupled with challenges that can make a career. Learn more and apply today at tmobile.careers/military. #BeMagenta
U.S. coast guard
Always Ready Women’s crucial role in the U.S. Coast Guard
It wasn’t until 1939 that all three of the U.S. Coast Guard’s predecessor agencies – the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service, the Lighthouse Service, and the Life-Saving Service – were merged into the same organization, but women served in some of these mission areas long before then, and in fact, long before the United States became an independent nation. Most of these women served as lighthouse keepers.
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTOGRAPH BY PETTY OFFICER 1ST CLASS ADAM EGGERS
By Craig Collins
Lt. j.g. Lashanda Holmes stands in front of an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter at Air Station Los Angeles, in 2010. Holmes, from Fayetteville, North Carolina, was the first female AfricanAmerican helicopter pilot in the Coast Guard.
The American Medical Womenâ€™s Association (AMWA) honors women in the armed forces for their century of service.Â We also honor the contribution of women physicians during World War I, both at home and abroad.
(Photo courtesy of The Legacy Center, Drexel University College of Medicine)
To learn more about women physicians in World War I, visit amwa-doc.org/wwi-film
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO
Ida Lewis, perhaps n 1776, Dr. John Thomas, the keeper of the the most famous twin lights at Gurnet Point, in Massachusetts’ Coast Guard Plymouth Colony, raised a regiment of volunlighthouse keeper. She is credited with teers to join the Continental Army and fight in saving 18 lives, the Revolutionary War under his command, but some argue the leaving his wife, Hannah, to take over his lightkeepnumber was surely higher. ing duties. After Thomas died of smallpox during the invasion of Quebec, Hannah assumed his duties permanently while continuing to raise their three children. She served for 10 years, on at least one occasion taking fire from a British frigate. The task of lighthouse-keeping required isolation and focus, and was often a family affair, which accounted for the number of women who ended up doing it: Like Hannah Thomas, many early women lightkeepers were widows or daughters of men who died or became incapacitated. With few or no options to continue supporting their families, these women stepped into already-familiar roles. By 1830, women were receiving official assignments as lighthouse keepers – probably the first female federal employees, and the first American women to serve in supervisory positions. About 140 women received appointments as lighthouse keepers between 1830 and 1947, and they did more than double duty, caring not only for the lights, signals, and facilities but also their children, homes – including the plot of land assigned to sustain the family – and visitors. The work required dedication, independence, stamina, and courage. Lighthouse keepers often rescued people who were shipwrecked or in danger of drowning, and several achieved heroic status. On Matinicus Rock, a barren granite outpost 6 miles off the coast of Maine, Abbie Burgess, the oldest daughter of Samuel Burgess, learned the task of lightkeeping early in order to free her father to fish for lobsters and run errands. In January 1856, when both her father and brother were off the island, Abbie noticed a storm coming, and moved her invalid mother and three younger sisters into the light tower. The Great Gale of 1856 swamped the island, destroying the Burgess home and stranding the girls in the tower for three weeks. Abbie, at 17 years old, kept the light burning, and kept her mother and sisters alive on a daily ration of cornmeal and one egg. She even managed to wade out one day in frigid knee-deep water to the chicken coop and save all but one of the family hens. “Under God,” she
Probably the most famous Coast Guard lighthouse keeper was Ida Lewis, who began helping her parents tend the Lime Rock Lighthouse in Rhode Island’s Newport Harbor in 1857, when she was 15 years old.
wrote later to a friend, “I was able to perform all my accustomed duties as well as my father’s.” One of the longest light-keeping careers belonged to Kate Walker, the German immigrant wife and assistant to John Walker, keeper of the Sandy Hook Light in New Jersey. In 1883, when her husband was transferred to the Robbins Reef Light in Lower New York Harbor, Kate threatened to leave him. Unlike the shore-based Sandy Hook Light, there was no garden to tend at Robbins Reef; the light was an isolated sparkplug tower that sat by itself a mile off the Staten Island shore. Gradually, however, she grew accustomed to life on the reef, and when John died of pneumonia in 1886, she became the interim keeper. Lighthouse officials were hesitant to give her the job because of her size – 4 feet, 10 inches tall – but four years later, after several men had declined the position, they offered it to Kate. She spent the next 33 years living and working on the island, rowing her children to and from school – a mile each way, twice a day – tending the light, and maintaining the tower and living quarters. She retired in 1919 at the age of 73 after being credited with saving the lives of 50 people. Probably the most famous Coast Guard lighthouse keeper was Ida Lewis, who began helping her parents tend the Lime Rock Lighthouse in Rhode Island’s Newport Harbor in 1857, when she was 15 years old. Her father was an invalid, and Ida, the oldest of four children, rowed her siblings to and from school every weekday and fetched supplies from town. In 1879,
U.S. COAST GUARD MUSEUM IMAGE
UNITED STATES LIGHTHOUSE SOCIETY/TIM HARRISON IMAGE
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Lewis received an official appointment and an annual salary of $500, and continued at her post until 1911, when she died at the age of 69. Throughout her decades of service, she was credited with saving 18 lives, though her celebrants argue the number was surely higher. One of her most famous rescues was in 1869, when she saw two soldiers and their pilot, a 14-year-old boy, capsize in a snowstorm, and ran out to her rowboat without putting on her coat and shoes. The boy was lost, but with the help of her younger brother, Lewis hauled the men aboard and brought them to the lighthouse. In February 1881, two soldiers crossing the frozen harbor on foot suddenly fell through the thin ice, and without hesitation, Lewis ran out onto the ice and threw them a rope, hauling one of the men out before her brother caught up and helped her with the second. She performed her last recorded rescue at the age of 63. The most decorated lighthouse keeper in history, Lewis received the
Congressional Gold Lifesaving Medal and the American Cross of Honor, whose society proclaimed her “The Bravest Woman in America.” After her death, the rock and the lighthouse (now the Ida Lewis Yacht Club) were renamed in her honor. The development of steam signals and their coal-driven boilers, followed by the introduction of heavy-duty combustion engines, transformed lighthouse-keeping into a demanding physical labor that led to the phasing out of women in these positions. The last of the women lighthouse keepers, Fannie Salter, retired in 1947, after working Chesapeake Bay’s Turkey Point Light, at first with her husband and later alone, for a total of 45 years.
Yeomanettes to SPARs The U.S. Coast Guard was officially established by a Jan. 28, 1915 law merging the Revenue Cutter Service and Life-Saving Service (the duties and authorities of the Lighthouse Service were added in 1939). The new multi-mission agency would operate under the Department of the Treasury
during peacetime, but its people and assets would fall under the authority of the Navy in time of war – a provision that became effective soon after the service’s creation, when the United States entered World War I.
The 20th century and its world wars introduced a new era for women performing Coast Guard duties.
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO
ABOVE: Abbie Burgess kept the Matinicus Rock lighthouse burning through the Great Gale of 1856. A Coast Guard cutter is named for her and serving today. ABOVE RIGHT: An engraving of the Matinicus Rock lighthouse, showing the twin light towers. RIGHT: Genevieve and Lucille Baker, who transferred to the Coast Guard from the Naval Coastal Defense Reserve, arguably the first women in the Coast Guard.
PHOTO BY LT. KAREN KUTKIEWICZ, U.S. COAST GUARD DISTRICT 1 NATIONAL ARCHIVES U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO
LEFT: Coast Guard women known as SPARs (Semper Paratus Always Ready) served on active duty during World War II. RIGHT: The “original nineteen” as they were called, were the first group of Coast Guard SPARS to be assigned to the 13th Naval District from boot camp. BELOW: A World War II recruiting poster for the SPARs.
The 20th century and its world wars introduced a new era for women performing Coast Guard duties. Lighthouse keepers such as Kate Walker and Ida Lewis had thrived in their roles because they lived and worked apart, geographically and socially, from a world run by men. Many achieved distinction by doing work nobody else wanted to do. The reserve corps of Coast Guard women who served in the world wars worked mainly to support an effort conducted by men – but it was a change of venue for Coast Guard women, who were now onshore and in the mainstream of society. It would be decades before they would compete with men for the most sought-after Coast Guard positions. But it was a start. The military buildup preceding Congress’ April 6, 1917 declaration of war on the German Empire generated a mountain of paperwork, a problem confounded by the fact that the enlisted men assigned to complete it soon would be called overseas. The Navy and Coast Guard both used the enlisted rating of “yeoman” for those performing administrative or clerical duties, so the Navy authorized the enlistment of women into the Naval Reserves, with the rating “Yeoman (F).” The use of “yeomanettes” to assist in administrative and clerical work was extended to the Coast Guard, and the first women to wear the Coast Guard uniform, 19-year-old twins Genevieve and Lucille Baker, were transferred from the Naval Coastal Defense Reserve and reported to Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Several additional yeomanettes would transfer to the headquarters building before war’s end, but Coast Guard personnel records of the period are scant. Celebration of the Baker sisters as the first Coast Guard women is mildly controversial today, as some prefer to recognize Myrtle Hazard, a young mother who, after graduating from a radio and telegraphy class at the Baltimore YMCA, applied for a position in the regular Coast Guard as an electrician (there was no radioman rating yet for the Coast Guard). She became the service’s first female electrician on Jan. 21, 1918, and worked at headquarters as an electrician’s mate 3rd class. She was later promoted to electrician, 1st class, before being demobilized after the war’s end. American mobilization for World War II involved a more significant effort to recruit women for service at home. Every branch had its women’s reserve during the war, and on Nov. 23, 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt signed a law creating a Coast Guard analogue modeled after the Navy’s WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service), which had been created a few months earlier. The purpose of the new women’s reserve was to replace male officers and enlisted men at shore stations, releasing them for sea duty. Organizing a large contingent of young women was something the armed forces had never done before, and the Navy turned to an academic, the former dean of women at Purdue University, for help. Navy Lt. Dorothy Stratton agreed to transfer to the Coast Guard and, with the rank of lieutenant commander, to di-
rect the Coast Guard Women’s Reserve, which she’d decided would be called the SPARs, both a nautical term and an acronym based on the Coast Guard’s motto “Semper Paratus – Always Ready.” The Coast Guard estimated it would need 8,000 enlisted women and 400 women officers in its reserve. There were several eligibility requirements: Applicants had to be between 20 and 36 years old (a maximum age of 50 for officers); to have completed two years of high school (two years of college for officers); and to either be unmarried or, if already married, not married to anyone in the Coast Guard. Getting married or pregnant during service in the SPARs would be grounds for dismissal. More than 12,000 women volunteered for service in the SPARs, and throughout the war they served in every district except Puerto Rico. They were subject to two restrictions passed down from the WAVES: They were not to serve outside the continental United States, and could not, whether officer or enlisted, issue an order to a male service member of any rank. These two restrictions would prove impracticable by war’s end, and were later rescinded. While the Coast Guard fell under the Navy’s wartime authority, it had a unique mission requirement and culture. At first, the SPARs wore a slightly modified WAVE uniform, and consisted solely of transfers from the WAVES; the Coast Guard recruited women with WAVES publicity materials, and indoctrinated their recruits on college campuses chosen by the Navy. By 1943, it was clear that selling the SPARs to recruits meant selling the Coast
RIGHT: Lt. Cmdr. Dorothy Stratton transferred to the Coast Guard from the Navy during World War II to direct the Coast Guard’s Women’s Reserve, which she renamed SPARs, an acronym for Semper Paratus: Always Ready. FAR RIGHT: Florence Ebersole Smith Finch joined the Coast Guard Women’s Reserve, SPARs, in 1945 after arriving in the United States from the Philippines, where she worked as a civilian stenographer for the Office of Army Intelligence during World War II. She later received the Medal of Freedom for risking her life to secretly furnish money and supplies to American prisoners after Japan took control of the Philippines.
The first Pacific Island-American woman to wear a Coast Guard uniform was Florence Ebersole Smith Finch, the daughter of a Filipina woman and a U.S. veteran of the Spanish-American War. Guard, and the service withdrew from its arrangement with the Navy and began interviewing and enlisting women at Coast Guard recruiting stations and training enlistees at its own training centers. In June 1943, the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, admitted its first class of women officer candidates, a group of 50 women enrolled in a six-week accelerated course. The Coast Guard was the first of the armed services to admit women officer candidates to its academy, and more than 700 of the 955 SPAR officers commissioned during the war were trained there. The vast majority of enlisted SPARs worked as clerks or stenographers, though around 70 percent of them received some specialized training. A few enlisted personnel were employed, at least for a short time, as jeep drivers or parachute riggers. By the end of the war, SPARs held 43 different ratings, from boatswain’s mate to yeoman. Most SPAR officers held administrative and supervisory assignments. In 1942, after the United States and Canada rolled out their top-secret radio navigation system for ships and aircraft,
the Long Range Aid to Navigation (LORAN) system, a select group of SPAR officers and enlisted women were assigned to work at LORAN monitoring stations in the continental United States, including the facility at the Coast Guard station near the Chatham Lighthouse on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Eleven SPARs served at the Chatham LORAN station, Unit 21, under the command of Lt. Vera Hamerschlag. Unit 21 is believed to have been the only all-female station of its kind in the world. The Coast Guard officially announced its acceptance of African-American women in October 1944, but it wasn’t until 1945 that the first five African-American SPARs – Olivia Hooker, D. Winifred Byrd, Julia Mosley, Yvonne Cumberbatch, and Aileen Cooke – entered service. The first Pacific Island-American woman to wear a Coast Guard uniform was Florence Ebersole Smith Finch, the daughter of a Filipina woman and a U.S. veteran of the Spanish-American War. Finch married Charles Smith, a Navy sailor stationed in Japanese-occupied Manila, in August 1941, but Smith was
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U.S. coast guard
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY PETTY OFFICER 3RD CLASS ALI FLOCKERZI
killed in action in February 1942, not long after the United States had entered the war. She then joined the Philippine underground, diverting Japanese fuel supplies, arranging acts of sabotage, and smuggling food and medicine to prisoners. After being caught in October 1944, she was imprisoned, tortured, and sentenced to three years of hard labor. After the Philippines were liberated by American forces in February 1945, Smith moved in with an aunt in Buffalo, New York. In July of that year, she joined the SPARs, to continue the struggle against the enemy who’d killed her husband. She served until the end of the war and was later awarded both the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Ribbon – the first woman to receive the award – and the Congressional Medal of Freedom. The SPARs had signed up for a term of “duration plus six”: however long the war lasted, and then six months afterward. Recruitment to the SPARs all but ended in December 1944, and shortly after the surrender of Japan, the women’s reserves in all branches began to demobilize. Several women stayed on to help administer this drawdown, and a few remained long enough to finish the projects they were working on, but the remaining 12,000 SPARs returned to civilian life. On July 25, 1947, the SPARs were officially inactivated.
COAST GUARD COLLECTION
Women in the Regular Coast Guard In 1948, the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act enabled women to serve as permanent, regular members of the armed forces – the Army, Navy and Marine Corps, as well as the recently established Air Force. Because the Coast Guard was officially housed in the Department of Treasury in peacetime (it would later be transferred to the newly created Department of Transportation), it wasn’t covered under the act. For the time being, the only way for former SPARs to remain in service was in the Coast Guard Reserve.
LEFT: Olivia Hooker enlisted in the Coast Guard in 1945. She was the first AfricanAmerican woman to become an active-duty member of the service. RIGHT: Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Chester Bender was an advocate for expanding women’s roles in the Coast Guard.
The Coast Guard didn’t mobilize former SPARs for the Korean Conflict, from 1950-1953, but about 200 volunteered for active duty anyway. Most left service after the war ended. Within a few years, women all but ceased to exist in the Coast Guard: By 1956, among thousands of Coast Guard personnel, there were nine enlisted women and 12 women officers in the service. Unlike the other armed forces, the Coast Guard had no explicit policy regarding women, and the service entered something of a Dark Age. When Elizabeth Splaine, the first of the former SPARs to re-enlist after demobilization, passed the warrant officer qualification test in 1957, her superiors told her the only way for her to be promoted would be to leave the service and join the reserve – that there was no place in the regular Coast Guard for a female warrant officer. She fought this decision for months before convincing her superiors of its arbitrariness, and later became the Coast Guard’s first woman chief warrant officer, serving as administrative assistant in the Office of Reserve until her retirement in 1971. The Coast Guard’s brief lapse in recruiting and retaining women came to an abrupt end after the 1970 appointment of reform-minded Adm. Chester Bender as Coast Guard commandant. Bender steered the service through a turbulent period in which the Coast Guard, like its counterparts in the armed services, adjusted to several converging national issues, including the end of the Vietnam War and a burgeoning women’s rights movement. Under Bender, the Coast Guard became a leader in American military policy regarding women. In 1973, under a new federal law, the service officially ended its Women’s Reserve and allowed women to join the regular and reserve Coast Guard components. Those already in the Women’s Reserve were grandfathered into the Coast Guard Reserve without loss of grade, rank, or benefits earned. In the same
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veterans and members of the Guard and Reserves.
U.S. COAST GUARD IMAGE U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTOS U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY PETTY OFFICER 3RD CLASS DUSTIN R. WILLIAMS
year, the Coast Guard became the first of the armed services to open its officer candidate program to women. The first group of women to graduate from this program were commissioned ensigns, and five of them trained during a cruise aboard the cutter Unimak, making them the first Coast Guard women to see service afloat. In December 1973, the Coast Guard’s first women enlistees were sworn into the regular Coast Guard, and within a year, the service had instituted mixed-gender basic training for its recruits. In early 1974, the Coast Guard opened up its first enlisted ratings for women. Adm. Owen Siler, who succeeded Bender as commandant, continued these reforms. In 1975, the Coast Guard’s active-duty component contained 420 enlisted women and 32 female officers, and Siler announced that women would join the Corps of Cadets at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut – the first time in history that a U.S. military academy would offer appointments to women applicants. Seven hundred of the 10,000 applicants to the academy’s class of 1980 were women, and 38 of these women reported to the academy in June 1976. Fourteen of them went on to graduate. Coast Guard women overcame many gender barriers and demonstrated their ability to perform any job in the service throughout the 1970s and 1980s. In October 1977, the high endurance cutters Morgenthau and Gallatin became the first to feature mixed-gender crews. Ten enlisted women and two female officers were initially assigned to sea duty aboard the cutters, and in 1979, one of these officers, Lt. j.g.
CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: A painting of Cmdr. Beverly Kelley, commanding officer of the medium endurance cutter Northland, working at the chart table on the cutter’s bridge during a patrol. Kelley became the first female commanding officer of a Coast Guard cutter when she took command of the Coast Guard Cutter Cape Newagen in 1979. • Chief Warrant Officer Kenny Yarbrough holds up the Master Cutterman plaque he received from his mentor, retired master chief and first female officer-in-charge of an afloat Coast Guard unit, Diane Bucci, in Galveston, Texas, Sept. 9, 2016. • Ensign Janna Lambine became the first female aviator in the Coast Guard in 1977. • Vice Adm. Vivien Crea, vice commandant of the Coast Guard, addresses the crowd gathered at Arlington National Cemetery during the Coast Guard’s wreathlaying ceremony in honor of Veteran’s Day. Crea was the first woman to achieve flag rank in the Coast Guard.
Beverly Kelley, became the first woman to command a Coast Guard cutter when she took command of the Cape Newagen, a 95-foot patrol boat homeported in Maui, Hawaii. Twenty years later, Kelley would make history again as the first woman to command a medium endurance cutter, the Northland. Another woman pioneer in sea duty, Diane Bucci, became the first enlisted woman to command afloat in 1988, when she became officer in charge of the Coast Guard tugboat Capstan, patrolling the upper Chesapeake Bay. The first female aviator in the Coast Guard was Ensign Janna Lambine, a reservist who graduated from flight school in March 1977. Her first assignment was piloting HH-3F Pelican helicopters at
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY PETTY OFFICER 3RD CLASS TARA MOLLE
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Air Station Astoria on the Oregon coast. The service’s first fixed-wing female pilot, Vivien Crea, was designated a Coast Guard aviator a month after Lambine, and began her career flying four-engine C-130 Hercules transports out of Hawaii’s Air Station Barbers Point (Crea was also qualified to fly the HH-65 Dolphin helicopter and the Gulfstream II jet). The service’s third woman aviator, Lt. Colleen Cain, was a Coast Guard reservist and the first woman to fly the HH-52 Seaguard amphibious helicopter. She became a Coast Guard aviator in 1979 and earned the Coast Guard Achievement Medal in 1980 after her participation in the rescue of a 3-year-old boy. In the early morning hours of Jan. 7, 1982, Cain co-piloted a helicopter that departed Barbers Point in response to a distress call from a sinking fishing vessel. About an hour later, the helicopter crashed into a steep mountainside on the island of Molokai. The entire crew – Cain, Lt. Cmdr. Horton Johnson and Petty Officer 2nd Class David Thompson – were killed. To honor the sacrifice of the service’s first woman killed in the line of duty, the Coast Guard Reserve Training Center in Yorktown, Virginia, named its 100-room dormitory Cain Hall. One of the service’s highest-profile and physically demanding jobs officially opened to women in 1986 when, after completing the rigorous 18-week training program, Kelly Mogk Larson became the first female Coast Guard rescue swimmer. Larson would earn the Air Medal and personal congratulations from President George H.W. Bush after her first rescue, in January 1989 – that of a downed Air National Guard F-4 pilot who was badly injured and entangled in his own parachute in rough seas off
U.S. COAST GUARD COLLECTION PHOTO
RIGHT: Capt. Anne Ewalt, chief of staff for the 13th Coast Guard District, presents a Meritorious Service Medal to Lt. Cmdr. Kelly Larson (formerly Mogk), during her retirement ceremony Dec. 21, 2009. Larson joined the Coast Guard in 1984 and became the first female to complete Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer School on May 23, 1986. BELOW RIGHT: A port security unit Raider boat during the First Gulf War with female reservist Sandy Mitten manning the aft .50-caliber machine gun.
the Oregon coast. Larson would later graduate from Officer Candidate School in Yorktown, earn her wings as a Coast Guard helicopter pilot, fly rescue and supply missions in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and retire in 2009 with the rank of lieutenant commander.
The Upper Echelons of Service While the late 20th century saw Coast Guard women assigned virtually every duty to which their ranks entitled them, the transition into the 21st century has been a new era, a time when women have achieved virtually every rank their Coast Guard service has earned. New opportunities in male-dominated Coast Guard roles continued on the heels of the service’s “Women in the Coast Guard” study, commissioned by the commandant and released in 1990. The study found a lack of equal opportunity
among the service’s upper ranks, and led to a systematic effort to support the recruitment and retention of women. In the Gulf War of 1990-1991, three port security units (PSUs) with female personnel were sent to the Persian Gulf, the first combat assignments for Coast Guard women. Reservist – and grandmother – Sandy Mitten manned the aft .50-caliber machine gun of a PSU Raider boat. At the same time, a growing number of female officers received afloat commands, and in 1998, Diane Bucci and Patricia Stolle became the first enlisted women to advance to command master chief. Stolle assumed duties as command master chief of the Eleventh (Pacific Southwest) Coast Guard District in June 2006. Beverly Kelley became the first female commander of a high endurance cutter, the Boutwell, in 2000.
U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY PETTY OFFICER 3RD CLASS CALEB CRITCHFIELD U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTOGRAPH BY PETTY OFFICER 3RD CLASS DIANA HONINGS
Coast Guard women, after decades of honorable service, have attained the service’s highest officer positions. Crea, among the first women to graduate from officer candidate school in Yorktown in 1973, became the first woman to achieve flag rank in the Coast Guard in 2000, when she was promoted to rear admiral. She became the first female district commander two years later, taking command of the First (Northeast) Coast Guard District, overseeing all Coast Guard operations from Maine to northern New Jersey. In 2004, Crea received a third star and assumed command of Coast Guard Atlantic Area, an operational area spanning five Coast Guard districts and 14 million square miles from the eastern to midwestern United States. Vice Adm. Crea became the first woman to hold the Coast Guard’s second-highest position, vice commandant, in 2006 – the highest rank achieved by a woman in any service branch. She served for three years before retiring in 2009, and in 2010 became the first Coast Guard aviator to be inducted into the Women in Aviation International Pioneer Hall of Fame. Crea’s distinguished Coast Guard career has not been an anomaly for women in the service. In 2009, Vice Adm. Jody Breckenridge assumed duties as commander, Coast Guard Pacific Area, an area of operations encompassing more than 73 million square miles throughout the Pacific Basin and Far East. Her previous assignments included assistant commandant for human resources; commander, Eleventh Coast Guard District; and director, Strategic Transformation Team. Current Deputy Commandant for Mission Support Vice Adm. Sandra Stosz graduated from the Coast Guard Academy
LEFT: U.S. Coast Guard Academy Superintendent then-Rear Adm. Sandra Stosz salutes during her arrival aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Eagle, Sept. 19, 2011, in New London, Connecticut. Stosz is now a vice admiral serving in Washington as deputy commandant for mission support. RIGHT: Vice Adm. Jody Breckenridge, Coast Guard Pacific Area commander, offers thanks and congratulations to the crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Waesche and welcomes them to their new homeport at Coast Guard Island in Alameda, California, Feb. 28, 2010.
in 1982 and became the first woman to command a Great Lakes cutter, the icebreaking tug Katmai Bay, in 1990. In 2009, Stosz became the first female academy graduate to achieve flag rank, and was chosen in 2011 by Adm. Robert Papp, commandant of the Coast Guard, to become superintendent of the Coast Guard Academy – the first woman to lead a United States military academy. Technically, the highest-ranking woman in Coast Guard history was Vice Adm. Sally Brice-O’Hara, who received her commission from officer candidate school in 1975 and over her long career commanded both the Fifth (Mid-Atlantic) and Fourteenth (Hawaii) districts, commanded Joint Interagency Task Force (JIATF) West, and served as deputy commandant for operations. In May 2010, she became the second woman to be appointed vice commandant, and just a month before her retirement in 2012, Brice-O’Hara temporarily assumed command of the entire Coast Guard while Papp recovered from surgery. The role of women in the service has come a long way since Hannah Thomas took charge of the Gurnet Point Light in 1776. Today, about 15 percent of the Coast Guard’s active-duty component are women, but the gender gap often doesn’t seem as conspicuous as in other service branches; since active recruiting and training began in the 1970s, women have served in every enlistment and achieved virtually every rank except one: commandant. And due to their pioneering work, that rank seems increasingly within a woman’s reach. Women have played a crucial role in shaping the unique culture and traditions of the modern Coast Guard, and they’ll no doubt play an even greater role in writing its 21st century history. I I
The role of women in the service has come a long way since Hannah Thomas took charge of the Gurnet Point Light in 1776.
WOUNDED WARRIOR TANIKI RICHARD
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aniki Richard loved being a Marine.
During her childhood, Taniki’s family moved so frequently she never had a chance to build strong friendships. During her military service, those relationships came easily. “When you’re out there, the only people you have are the ones to your left and to your right,” Taniki said. “That is your family.”
WOUNDED WARRIOR TANIKI RICHARD
Because she never stayed in one place for very long, Taniki found it easy to get used to new locations. She enjoyed all her duty stations and even remembers positive attributes of Iraq. “Everything made sense in Iraq,” Taniki said. “You had a routine, you had your friends, and you knew what you had to do every day.” But routines don’t always go according to plan. One night, while riding in a helicopter to deliver classified equipment to a base in central Iraq, her team came under enemy fire. They completed the mission, and everyone returned safely, but her life soon spiraled out of control. The stress of combat brought memories of an unreported military sexual assault Taniki endured a few years earlier. She stopped sleeping for the most part – but when she did, she woke up to nightmares. After her deployment, she returned to her base in North Carolina – and things got much worse. Despite being a suicide awareness facilitator and a sexual assault advocate on the base, Taniki began considering suicide herself. One day, Taniki purposefully crashed her car into a pole outside the base gates.
learn to live with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Taniki still felt alone and isolated – until she attended a Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) event that changed her life. Through its Combat Stress Recovery Program, WWP offers specialized programs and services that address veterans’ post-combat mental health needs – free of charge. One such program is a multi-day veterans’ mental health workshop called Project Odyssey® – the name is derived from Homer's epic poem about overcoming adversity and finding one's way home. These themes mirror a veteran's own journey to overcome the struggles associated with combat and transition to his or her new normal at home with family and friends. Taniki started her own journey at the workshop – and it cemented her recovery.
and it helped me realize I wasn’t crazy. It was empowering, and it was a real turning point for me.” Since that time, Taniki has been empowered to start her own business to help inspire people to live better lives. “I want to make sure my fellow veterans have everything they need to play out the next part of their lives and not just live, but live well,” Taniki exclaimed. “If I can be a part of an organization that helps people heal and find peace, then the end of my service is not the end. I’m just serving in a new way now. Wounded Warrior Project helped me to manage PTSD and empowered me on my road to recovery.”
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“I didn’t want to die,” Taniki admitted. “I really wanted to live. That’s why I was so sad. I wanted help, but no one seemed to want to help me. I made a decision after I crashed to get help, and I think that’s the first time I was ever a true leader.” Despite getting assistance to
to live life on their own terms. WWP is a national, nonpartisan At the workshop, Taniki explained that she missed being a sergeant in the Marine Corps, and others in the group shared similar feelings. “No one judged me,” she said. “They validated me. Their stories included similar instances of pain and anger,
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SEMPER FI Women in the U.S. Marine Corps
es, an organization that proudly considers itself the nation’s elite fighting force, with “first to fight” amphibious capabilities – was initially unenthusiastic about filling these positions with women. On Aug. 8, 1918, close to the end of the war, it became the last of the branches to enroll women by creating the enlistment of Marine Reservist (F). The first was Opha May Johnson, a 39-year-old typist already working at Marine Corps Headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, who enlisted on Aug. 13, 1918. She was assigned as a clerk in the Office of the Quartermaster General, and by war’s end was the Marine Corps’ senior enlisted woman with the rank of sergeant. Thousands of women attempted to enlist, but the selection process was stringent. Col. Albert Sydney McLemore, officer in charge of recruiting, referred to those who made the cut as the “100% Girls,” because they had to be perfect for inclusion in the Marine Corps. Of the more than 2,000 women who showed up to the New York recruiting office, only five were accepted. By the end of World War I, 305 women had enlisted in the Marine Corps, but all served less than a year. Following the
U.S. MARINE CORPS PHOTO
t Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, one of the side streets near the intersection of Holcomb and McHugh boulevards – Lucy Brewer Avenue – is named for a woman celebrated by some as the first female Marine. Lucy Brewer is known to history only through a series of autobiographical pamphlets, published in 1815 and 1816 in New England, recounting the exploits of a Marine sharpshooter – Lucy, disguised as a man and enlisted under the name of George Baker – aboard the USS Constitution during the War of 1812. There’s no evidence that Lucy was a real person, but fictional or not, she’s celebrated as an embodiment of female Marines’ independence and fighting spirit. It wasn’t until more than a century later that the first woman officially wore the uniform of the United States Marine Corps. When the United States entered World War I in April 1917, the deployment of young men overseas left thousands of stateside positions, most of them office jobs, unfilled. The Marine Corps – the most pugnacious of the service branch-
By Craig Collins
Of the more than 2,000 women who showed up to the New York recruiting office, only five were accepted. 88
COURTESY OF THE MARINE HISTORY DIVISION HISTORICAL REFERENCE BRANCH
ABOVE: These are the eight “Marinettes” admitted as privates in the United States Marine Corps who went to Washington as enlisted “stenos” in the office of the Marine Corps Adjutant, to take the place of brother Marines transferred from typewriter to machine gun. RIGHT: This Marine trio were early enlisters in the first Women’s Reserve that served during World War I. Mary Kelly (left) of New Jersey was secretary to Col. A.S. McLemore, who headed the Reserve. May O’Keefe and Ruth Spike, of New York City, the youngest of 305 enlistees, served as messengers for Maj. Gen. George Barnett, former commandant of the Marine Corps. OPPOSITE PAGE: Pvt. Opha May Johnson, 40, first enlisted female Marine, sometime after joining the Marine Corps. Johnson enlisted into the reserve in August 1918.
Armistice on Nov. 11, 1918, the armed services immediately began discharging women from active-duty service. The Marine Corps wouldn’t begin recruiting women until it was forced again, by another world war, to look for workers to replace the men called overseas. Gen. Thomas Holcomb, 17th commandant of the Marine Corps, resisted the idea of a Women’s Reserve, but in the fall of 1942, faced with the losses suffered during the Guadalcanal campaign, the service’s manpower needs became critical. Reluctantly, Holcomb recommended women be enlisted for non-combatant billets. On Feb. 13, 1943, the Marine Corps – again the last of the branches to accept women into its ranks – formed the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve.
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The Army had its WACs, the Navy its WAVES, and the Coast Guard its SPARs, but Holcomb resisted the use of a catchy acronym. “They are Marines,” he said in a 1944 interview with Life magazine. “They don’t have a nickname and they don’t need one.” In practice, the women were typically referred to as Women’s Reservists, or WRs. To direct the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve, Holcomb chose 47-year-old Ruth Cheney Streeter, mother of four servicemen and a trained pilot who had tried five times to join the Women’s Air Force Serving Pilots (WASPs), but had been denied because of her age. Commissioned a major in January 1943, Streeter would retire a full colonel in December 1945, three months after the end of the war. The slogan “Free a Marine to Fight” was a powerful lure for recruits to the new Women’s Reserve, who found the Marine Corps still maintained strict standards for eligibility and training. While the Marine Corps worked on building its women’s training grounds at Camp Lejeune, officer candidates trained at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, while enlisted women trained alongside their WAVE counterparts at Hunter College in the Bronx, New York. The Marine Corps opened its own schools for officer candidate and recruit training at Camp Lejeune in July 1943. The Marine Corps set out to select, train, classify, and assign 18,000 new WRs at a rate of more than 1,000 a month, and over the course of the war it surpassed this goal: A total of 23,145 women enlisted and 965 held commissions.
LEFT: Women mechanics march to their work area at Naval Air Station Norfolk, Virginia, circa 1944-45. This group appears to include both Navy WAVES and Women Marines. RIGHT: Cpl. Essie Lucas, left, and Pfc. Betty Jean Ayers get a reconditioned engine back in place in a Marine Corps bus. Both women were graduates of Motor Transport School and attached to the post garage at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
More than half of all WRs were engaged in clerical work, but at Streeter’s insistence, female Marines were increasingly offered opportunities to become more than uniformed stenographers. Her philosophy was that WRs should be able to perform “anything except heavy lifting and combat.” The work of women reservists expanded during World War II to include more than 225 different specialties, including automotive mechanics, welders, parachute riggers, chemists, drivers, and control tower operators. Women filled 85 percent of enlisted jobs at Marine Corps Headquarters and comprised one-half to two-thirds of the personnel at the Corps’ stateside posts. World War II changed forever, both within the Marine Corps and throughout American society, traditional ideas about the appropriate scope of women’s work. By war’s end, nearly 40 percent of WRs held jobs in aviation, the Corps’ fastest-growing unit. While performing all these tasks, women reservists were encouraged to look good: The Marine Corps’ grooming standards required WRs to wear lipstick and fingernail polish, but only in shades of red that matched the trim on their forest green uniforms. To help with this, cosmetics magnate Elizabeth Arden visited Camp Lejeune in 1943 and came up with the “Montezuma Red” shade that coordinated with the women’s scarlet cap cords and chevrons. After the war was over, the Marine Corps enacted an aggressive demobilization policy, and by August 1946 there were about 300 women remaining in
World War II changed forever, both within the Marine Corps and throughout American society, traditional ideas about the appropriate scope of women’s work.
U.S. marine corps
ABOVE: Marine Sergeants Mary G. Rine and Milton R. Wuerth signal to pilots – on the runway and in the air – at the El Toro Marine Air Base in California. RIGHT: Though Women Marine Regulars would perform duties in the administration field, special weapons demonstrations were given in order to acquaint them with the finer points of the basic and specialized weapons used by Marines in warfare.
The Women Marines, 1946-1977 A vocal contingent continued to doubt the usefulness of female Marines – including Brig. Gen. Gerald C. Thomas, director of the Marine Corps’ Division of Plans and Policies. In an October 1945 memo, Thomas wrote: “The opinion generally held by the Marine Corps is that women have no proper place or function in the regular service in peace-time … The American tradition is that a woman’s place is in the home.”
While she didn’t agree with the latter part of Thomas’s assertion, Col. Streeter supported Thomas’s idea of forming an inactive reserve of women who could be called to duty if the need arose. During 1946 and 1947, the Marines continued to work with reserve women in small numbers, under the leadership of Col. Katherine Towle, while the Corps planned the future of the Women’s Reserve. These plans were dramatically altered by the Armed Forces Integration Act of 1948, which authorized women as permanent regular and reserve members of all armed service branches. Under the law, which provided for a director of the Women Marines – a job that fell to Towle – female members of the Marine Corps became known as Women Marines, or WMs.
By June 1950, the Women Marines were authorized to comprise 100 officers, 10 warrant officers, and 1,000 enlistees. Officers were trained at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, while enlisted women were trained at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina. In August of that year, the Women Marines and reserve units were mobilized to support the war effort on the Korean Peninsula. At the peak of this mobilization, 2,787 Women Marines stepped into leadership and administrative roles to free male Marines for combat duty. In the 1950s and 1960s, enlisted Women Marines could serve in most of the Marine Corps’ occupational fields, but the vast majority served in administrative or clerical fields, such as personnel administration, supply, payroll,
In August of that year, the Women Marines and reserve units were mobilized to support the war effort on the Korean Peninsula.
U.S MARINE CORPS PHOTOS
the Marine Corps, though the WR had officially disbanded. For the next two years, these women – asked specifically to stay on – served the Marine Corps in an undetermined status. They had proven to be not merely useful but indispensible to their superiors, many of whom, like Holcomb, had been opposed to female Marines. “Like most Marines, when the matter first came up I didn’t believe women could serve any useful purpose in the Marine Corps,” Holcomb said. “Since then I’ve changed my mind.”
data processing, post exchange, and public information. Opportunities for WM officers were even more limited, existing primarily in personnel, accounting, and administration. WM numbers remained small throughout these two decades, but opportunities slowly began to emerge in the 1960s, partly as a result of a report from the Woman Marine Program Study Group, led by retired Lt. Gen. Robert H. Pepper and commonly known as the Pepper Board. The board’s recommendations led to better housing, changes in basic training, and expanded duty stations and military occupational status (MOS) codes for Women Marines. Women Marines were largely assigned stateside. A handful served in Europe, and the only overseas
ABOVE LEFT: In the control tower, Women Marines give landing and take-off instructions, check plane locations, and coordinate local traffic control. Pictured are Col. Donna Hatfield, Sgt. Lyndell Weldy, and Sgt. Joy L. Derry. ABOVE RIGHT: Warrant Officer Annie Grimes reports her platoon of Women Marines ready for inspection at the Marine Corps Supply Center, Barstow, California, in January 1968. LEFT: Women Officer Candidates during a drill period at Quantico, Virginia, 1967.
station in the Pacific available to them was Hawaii, but in March 1967, Master Sgt. Barbara Dulinsky, after requesting duty in Vietnam, arrived in Saigon and became the first Woman Marine to serve in a combat zone. Her introductory briefing was different from anything she’d encountered in the States, with its focus on day-to-day security: how to recognize booby traps, for example, or making sure, upon entering a taxi cab, that the doors had handles on the inside. Twenty-eight enlisted Women Marines and eight officers volunteered to serve in Vietnam between 1967 and 1973, most of them filling desk billets with the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV), in Saigon. Just months after Dulinsky reported to Saigon, President Lyndon Johnson signed Public Law 90-130, which lifted restrictions on the rank of female military officers and on the percentage of women in the armed forces – 2 – that had been established in 1948. The law kept in place restrictions on combat roles. The 1970s introduced at least two developments that compelled the military to consider ways it might both recruit and retain more women: In March 1972, Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the Constitution, a proposal designed to guarantee equal rights for all citizens regardless of gender. While never ratified by the states, its approval in Congress signaled the
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strength of a movement determined to open more opportunities for women. After the Nixon administration abolished the military draft and introduced the all-volunteer force in 1973, it was clear the service branches would have to work harder to attract quality recruits. In 1975, under the leadership of Gen. Louis Wilson, 26th commandant, the Marine Corps began to prepare its equal opportunity plans for Women Marines. The Corps authorized women to be assigned to all occupations except those in combat-related fields: infantry, artillery, armor, and flight crews. In small numbers, Women Marines began to move into formerly male-dominated positions, such as military police, and the number of the Women Marines grew by nearly a third during the mid-1970s. Public Law 90-130 allowed for the promotion of women to flag rank, and in 1978, Margaret Brewer, the seventh director of the Women Marines, became the first woman Marine to attain this rank when she was promoted to brigadier general. The increasing integration of Women Marines into the enlisted and officer ranks had led the Marine Corps to do away with it as a separate organization, with its own distinct lines of command. In 1977, 243 men and 22 women, newly commissioned and appointed officers, went through The Basic School at Camp Barrett, Quantico, a 21-week course in the basics of being an officer in the Marines. A Washington Post article from February of that year described the scene: “For the first time, newly commissioned female marine officers are being trained in the field alongside male officers in patrolling, amphibious operations, the use of terrain, offensive and defensive weapons, and under-fire tactics.”
LEFT: Female members of the 2nd Platoon, “C” Company, The Basic School (TBS), off-load an amtrac during the Basic School Exercise, April 20, 1977. RIGHT: Second Lt. Gayle W. Hanley prepares to reload a magazine with ammunition during a lull in action while participating in the Basic School Exercise, April 20, 1977.
The Women Marines was disestablished as a formal organization on June 30, 1977. From that point on – officially, at least – there would be no distinction between male and female Marines.
Becoming Warriors When the Marine Corps’ Officer Candidates School (OCS) at Quantico was gender-integrated in 1977, its first female platoon commander was 1st Lt. Nancy Anderson, who led the first three gender-integrated OCS companies. Anderson would later command the Headquarters and Service Battalion at Headquarters Marine Corps, Arlington, Virginia, before retiring from the Marine Corps as a colonel in 2002. Her career neatly encompassed the time between one historical event – the dissolution of the separate Women Marines – to another, the 2001 terrorist attacks that launched wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It was arguably the most transformational period in the history of female Marines, as Anderson has documented in her book The Very Few, The Proud: Women in the Marine Corps, 1977-2001. Despite all the progress made in the post-World War II era, female Marines were still overwhelmingly uniformed clerical workers as the 1970s drew to a close. Given the service’s renown as the nation’s elite forward-deployed fighting force, it seemed fair to ask: What kind of Marine could you be if you weren’t allowed to serve in an MOS for which you were qualified? Two events, Anderson said, compelled the Marine Corps to reconsider how it viewed and trained women. On Nov. 21, 1979, mobs of angry protestors attacked several American posts in Pakistan, including the American Consulate in Karachi. The six Marine
U.S. marine corps
U.S. MARINE CORPS PHOTO BY SGT. F.W. MCCORKLE
Security Guards (MSGs) at the consulate that day, already armed with standard-issue .38-caliber pistols, changed into their combat utility uniforms, armed themselves with emergency gear – body armor, helmets, gas masks, gas grenades, and shotguns – and, with the help of a Pakistani army platoon, repelled a large crowd of protestors. Two of the Marines dressed for combat that day were women: Lance Cpl. Betty Rankin and Cpl. Vicki Gaglia. They were part of a pilot program, launched just months earlier, integrating women into the Marine units charged with protecting American lives and property at overseas State Department facilities. The Marine Corps’ immediate reaction was to pull women MSGs out of the Middle East and transfer them to less risky locales; Rankin and Gaglia were sent to Brussels. The MSG women’s pilot was promptly terminated by Gen. Robert Barrow, 27th commandant – who also, due to concerns about exposing women to the risk of combat, re-closed 33 specialties that had been opened to women by Wilson. Even as he reduced opportunities for female Marines, Barrow appeared to understand the dilemma facing an all-volunteer service with a growing number of women in its ranks: Simply calling a Marine’s job “non-combat” wouldn’t protect her from attack – and if she were attacked, she should know how to fight. In 1980, Barrow announced his own pilot program of defensive combat training for female recruits, and the Marine Corps revised its recruit training program for women to include field exercises, defensive combat training, and “weapons familiarization” – women were shown how weapons worked, but didn’t use the weapons themselves.
RIGHT: The Marine Corps’ first all-female drill platoon stands at attention in formation with M16A1 rifles. The platoon was commanded by 1st Lt. Marie G. Juliano. BELOW: Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Carol A. Mutter, May 1994. In September 1996, she became the first woman in the armed forces to attain the three-star rank of lieutenant general.
Media coverage of the war revealed how completely U.S. servicewomen had been integrated into military units – and the increasingly dubious notion of distinguishing between “support” and “combat” service.
A second milestone, Anderson said, was the appointment of Gen. Alfred M. Gray as 39th commandant. Gray was a strong proponent of the Marine Corps mantra “Every Marine a Rifleman,” and he implemented a program of Marine Battle Skills Training designed to produce a combat-ready Marine regardless of gender. There were still some differences in the training of men and women, said Anderson, “But the women were still provided training the Marine Corps considered sufficient and rewarding for female recruits.” By the end of the 1980s, training for female recruits had evolved into a 12-week program that included a three-day field exercise and marksmanship training in which female recruits, for the first time, fired the M16A2 service rifle for score. As the Marine Corps moved to develop combat proficiency among female recruits, the Department of Defense (DOD) moved to protect women from having to put these skills into practice. In 1988, the Pentagon adopted what became known as the “Risk Rule,” which essentially barred women from serving in non-combat units if they were likely to be fired upon or captured. In 1990 and 1991, Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm featured the largest deployments of military women up to that point. More than 40,000 women were deployed; 15 were killed; and two were taken prisoner by Iraqi forces. Media coverage of the war revealed how completely U.S. servicewomen had been integrated into military units – and the increasingly dubious notion of distinguishing between “support” and “combat” service. Under pressure to allow women to serve in more challenging, if more dangerous, roles in the military, Congress lifted the restriction on women in combat aircraft in 1991, and a White House follow-on effort, the Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces, made recommendations for expanding women’s opportunities. The commission, however, recommended the continued prohibition on women in close ground combat. One of Defense Secretary Les Aspin’s last acts, before stepping down in 1994, was to rescind the Risk Rule. The Pentagon, while allowing women to serve on combat ships and aircraft, adopted a new “Direct Combat Exclusion Rule” that opened up more positions for women but directed that “women shall
be excluded from assignment to units below the brigade level whose primary mission is to engage in direct combat on the ground.” It seemed a small opening, but female Marines took advantage of it. Second Lt. Sarah Deal, already a licensed pilot, requested a lateral transfer from her training as an air traffic controller and became the first female Marine selected for naval aviation training in 1993. Two years later she became the Marine Corps’ first female aviator, flying a CH-53E Super Stallion transport helicopter for Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 466, then based at Marine Corps Air Station Tustin, California. “At this point,” said Anderson, “recruit training became almost identical. The female Marine recruits were not restricted just to defensive instruction.” After changes directed by Gen. Charles Krulak, 31st commandant, female recruit training transitioned into a full combat training program; for the first time, female recruit training platoons went through The Crucible – the culminating 54-hour rite of passage involving sleep deprivation, more than 45 miles of marching, and day and night team competitions that simulated combat conditions. One of the most conspicuous differences between Marine Corps recruit training and that of the other branches is that the Corps’ program was – and remains – segregated by gender, with men and women using separate barracks and mess halls on Parris Island. The decision to keep male and female recruits separate was the result of intensive study by Marine Corps leadership, and in line with the recommendations of the Federal Advisory Committee on Gender-Integrated Training and Related Issues, appointed in 1997 by Defense Secretary William Cohen and chaired by Sen. Nancy Kassebaum Baker, R-Kan.
The 21st Century: Female Marines on the Offensive The wars fought in Afghanistan and Iraq beginning in 2001 all but erased the distinction between combat and non-combat roles, and between forward and rear operations. Women in “support” roles, many of them Marines, found themselves in active engagements: Lance Cpl. Juana Navarro Arellano, for example, a bulk fuel specialist with the 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 3rd Marine
Logistics Group, was killed by small arms fire as she guarded her fuel convoy in April 2006 in Iraq’s Anbar province. In December 2008, then-2nd Lt. Rebecca Turpin, a combat logistics specialist with Combat Logistics Battalion 3, became one of a handful of women to earn the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with a “V,” or valor device, after she led her 18-vehicle convoy through a 56-hour ordeal in Afghanistan’s Helmand province: pulling her scattered convoy into a defensive formation, directing return fire, and calling in air support while insurgents, in successive attacks, hit the convoy with improvised explosive devices (IEDs), a rocket-propelled grenade, small-arms fire, and multiple grenades. As the conflicts strained manpower resources, the Army and Marine Corps sidestepped the Direct Combat Exclusion Rule by “attaching,” rather than assigning, women to infantry and special operations units. In what began as the Lioness Program in Iraq, female soldiers and Marines accompanied units to engage local women and protect their privacy as they were searched for contraband and explosives; in Afghanistan, Female Engagement Teams performed similar roles. It was dangerous duty, and several female Marines were killed by suicide or roadside bombings. Former Capt. Kate Hendricks Thomas, who served with the Marine Corps’ Second Military Police Battalion, was deployed to Iraq in 2005 as a convoy security specialist, training female Marines in the handling of bomb-sniffing dogs. Stationed in Fallujah, Thomas’s highly specialized unit traveled to security checkpoints all over Anbar province. “We trained women who thought they were joining the Marine Corps to be an adjutant,” said Thomas. “We had to train them to go out and search for bombs at entry control points. A lot of the women who were doing the Female Engagement Team work were logisticians. They didn’t expect for their specialty to involve direct ground combat. But it did.” According to the Service Women’s Action Network, a nonprofit advocacy group, more than 300,000 women deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, with 166 women killed in combat operations and more than 1,000 wounded. The military’s inability to adhere to its own
Lt. Col. Sarah M. Deal became the first female Marine Corps aviator in 1995, flying the CH-53E Super Stallion.
rule regarding women in combat led to much debate within the Department of Defense, and gradually the last obstacles fell: In 2013, DOD repealed the ground combat exclusion policy, and after two years of study and input from each of the branches, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced, effective Jan. 1, 2016, his decision “to proceed with opening all these remaining occupations and positions to women. There will be no exceptions … as long as they qualify and meet the standards, women will now be able to contribute to our mission in ways they could not before.” The Marine Corps had argued against this move, citing its study of an experimental mixed-gender infantry unit that scored lower than all-male units on several combat-related tasks – but critics of the study claimed it unfairly compared inexperienced young women with seasoned male Marines. When Carter’s announcement made the study’s findings essentially moot, Gen. Robert Neller, 37th commandant, responded that the Marine Corps was “stepping smartly” in implementing its new Force Integration Implementation Plan, and that “possible reductions in combat effectiveness can be addressed by effective leadership and gender-neutral standards.”
The wars fought in Afghanistan and Iraq beginning in 2001 all but erased the distinction between combat and non -combat roles, and between forward and rear operations. 98
U.S. MARINE CORPS PHOTO BY LANCE CPL. GLEN E. SANTY
U.S. marine corps
DOD PHOTO BY CPL. KATHERINE KELEHER
With the last barriers to combat occupations removed, several female Marines – many of whom had received infantry training as part of the Corps’ experimental program – requested lateral transfers to infantry units. In 2016, the Corps welcomed its first female rifleman and first female machine gunner. In the spring of 2017, Pfc. Maria Daume became the first woman Marine to join the infantry through traditional entry-level training. A few months later, in September, the Marine Corps celebrated the first woman to graduate from its grueling 13-week Infantry Officer Course (the new officer asked for her identity to be withheld from public release). Just days after this announcement, on Oct. 3, 2017, 2nd Lt. Mariah Klenke became the first woman to graduate from Camp Pendleton’s assault amphibian school. Klenke will command a platoon composed of 12-14 amphibious assault vehicles, and the Marines who operate and maintain them, for the 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion. To earn a spot in one of these previously all-male combat jobs, female Marines must complete a course of training that includes gender-neutral physical tests. The Marine Corps reported in August 2017 that women comprised fewer than 1 percent of the recruits showing up to boot camp with contracts to train for
Sergeants Jessica Lugo (left) and Autumn Sekely of Female Engagement Team 6, 2nd Marine Division (Forward), walk into a village leader’s compound, Dec. 7, 2007, in Sangin district, Helmand province. Sekely, of Pittsburg, and Lugo, of San Pedro, California, were assigned to support 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, throughout their deployment in Afghanistan. The Marines with FET engage with the local women and children, building trust and rapport between Afghan National Security Forces and coalition forces and the locals.
combat arms career fields. In 2016, six out of 24 female recruits – 25 percent – passed the MOS Classification Standard for ground combat jobs, compared with 4,577 of 4,754, or 96 percent, of male recruits. These numbers get to the heart of an issue the Marine Corps continues to wrestle with: the standards necessary to accommodate modern warfare’s requirements. It may be, given the physical differences between male and female bodies, that the percentage of female Marines qualifying for combat jobs will remain significantly lower than that of men who perform the same gender-neutral physical tests. But there remains a vocal contingent within the Marine Corps arguing that the scarcity of female Marines in these male-dominated roles isn’t due strictly to their failure to meet the same standards as men; it’s at least partly because women continue to be treated differently, particularly as recruits. At almost every level within the Marine Corps, men and women alike come down on both sides of the issue. Nancy Anderson, who raised three children through adolescence, believes it’s too much of a distraction to bring raw teenagers together for initial training – and, as she points out, the immediate follow-on enlisted training is co-ed for graduates of
U.S. MARINE CORPS PHOTO BY CPL. JUAN MADRIGAL
There is one thing about the future of women in combat, however, on which every Marine agrees : The military isn’t a democracy, and the issue isn’t one of equal rights.
MCRD Parris Island. Male Marines trained at MCRD San Diego, however, do not serve with female Marines until their first operational unit, which has led to acceptance problems for female Marines. Kate Hendricks Thomas, who has been to war with men and women, believes Marines are at a disadvantage when they’re thrown together as strangers in operational units. In a piece written for the Vox website last year (www.vox.com/ first-person/2017/3/9/14861796/marines-sexualharassment-sexism), Thomas detailed the sexual harassment she endured in Iraq. She believes there’s a connection between these behaviors in the Marine Corps – which, according to a 2014 Pentagon study, has the highest rate of sexual assault and other “unwanted sexual contact” among the U.S. armed forces – and the sense of “otherness” instilled in gender-segregated recruits. Thomas, now a professor and director of the Public Health Program at Charleston Southern University, has researched and written extensively about the mental health of returning veterans. Male Marines who worked closely with women in Iraq and Afghanistan, she said, watched women add value and watched them sacrifice. “When you segregate, the way we currently do at Parris Island,” Thomas said, “you set up this disparity that breeds the ‘othering’ of women: ‘Did they really jump over the same wall I jumped over? Maybe they’re not the same type of Marine that I am.’ I think that does contribute to the harm continuum – misogyny and disrespect can turn into harassment and sexual assault.” There is one thing about the future of women in combat, however, on which every Marine agrees: The military isn’t a democracy, and the issue isn’t one of equal rights. In one of the last interviews he gave before retiring from the Marine Corps and joining the Trump administration as a civilian, Gen. John Kelly, former commander of U.S. Southern Command, said the test for any change affecting women
Pfc. Yolanda Vigil after graduating from the Infantry Training Battalion aboard Camp Geiger on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Dec. 7, 2017. Vigil is a native of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the recruiting station’s first female to become an infantryman.
in the armed services should be whether it makes a unit more lethal. Thomas agrees. “My take isn’t about the ethics of inclusion,” she said. “It’s about what the Marine Corps must do if it’s going to use women operationally. You need to prepare them, challenge them, and make sure they’re walking into an institution where there’s unit cohesion and respect for what they bring to the fight. In my limited experience in the Middle East, I saw that women were operationally necessary, and I firmly believe you don’t want a mail clerk out there to search women at control points – you want a combat-trained, ready female Marine at that ECP, running that convoy, manning that .50-cal.” I I
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NURSES ON THE BATTLEFIELD USF College of Nursing professors recall caring for those who served BY ELIZABETH L. BROWN AMPA — As we celebrate the 100-year milestone of the first woman to enlist in the U.S. Navy — thus becoming the first woman to serve in the U.S. armed forces — we are reminded of the critical contributions veteran women continue to make. At the University of South Florida’s College of Nursing, two trailblazing veteran nurses know firsthand how being a nurse on the battlefield, coupled with the military’s leadership training, has brought them to where they are now. It is their pride in serving as military nurses that fuels their passion in furthering the college’s mission to serve veterans. Susan Perry, PhD, CRNA, FAAN, the vice dean of clinical integration and scholarship at the USF College of Nursing, spent 25 years in the Air Force as a nurse anesthetist. When she retired from the military with the rank of colonel, that specialized training and commitment to veterans led her to USF. “The training I had in the military prepared me to think outside the box and be a better leader. It’s completely responsible for where I am. The person
the troops and doing nursing care,” she said. Assistant Professor Alicia Rossiter, DNP, FNP, PCPNP-BC, FAANP, is the program director for the Veteran to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (VBSN) — a program geared to providing military service members and veterans an accelerated pathway to a bachelor’s degree. Dr. Rossiter said her experience serving on active duty in the Army and then in the Air Force Reserves gives her a unique perspective and helps her guide nursing students through the VBSN program. She said serving as an Army nurse during Operation Desert Storm was an honor she will never forget. She remembers having to wear a gas mask while assisting with surgeries with Scud missiles going off. “Just being able to take care of soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines — there is no greater honor than caring for people who served in harm’s way. It’s very humbling,” Dr. Rossiter said. “We are there because those people put their lives on the line for us.” Dr. Perry said even though she’s been in situations where she feared for her safety, being a military nurse has been her life’s most rewarding and fulfilling experience. “I’ve always said it combines two of the highest callings you could have — to serve your country and to serve others. I don’t think there’s any better thing to do.”
I became, which led me to be the vice dean, is completely the result of this other experience,” Dr. Perry said. That “other” experience included commanding a humanitarian mission at a clinic in the mountainous regions in Peru where a terrorist group, the Shining Path, was active. She has also deployed twice in support of combat missions and set up military hospitals in remote regions, some of which were targeted by missiles. She has been on three military assignments where she was the only nurse anesthetist and, as a result, was on call every hour of every day for five months. Dr. Perry said that while women have been serving as military nurses since the Civil War, they did so without rank, and recognizing the centennial anniversary of women being able to enlist is important and necessary. “I think it’s wonderful that 100 years ago they decided to formalize us, because it was a way of really acknowledging the fact that for hundreds of years SUSAN PERRY before that, you had Ret. Colonel, Senior U.S. Air Force Faculty Uniformed women going behind Services University
ALICIA ROSSITER Ret. Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Air Force Reserves Nurse Corps
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U.S. AIR FORCE “Winged Angels” Since its earliest days, nurses have served alongside and in the American military. The profession was the first in which women were formally recognized by the armed forces. That recognition was partially extended by Congress in 1901 with the establishment of the Army Nurse Corps. Despite the nomenclature, Army Nurse Corps personnel were not considered part of the Army, though in 1920 they did receive officer-equivalent ranks
Aiming High Women’s Service in the U.S. Air Force By Eric Tegler
and wore Army rank insignia on their uniforms. America’s entry into World War I drove the rank and uniform adoption. Some 20,000 female registered nurses were recruited for Army and Navy duty in 58 military hospitals. More than 5,400 received training in the Army’s newly
Oliver made her name in aviation as a stunt pilot and record -breaker, the first woman to loop the loop and to make a night flight. 106
hen Ruth Law Oliver embarked on a campaign to allow women to fly military aircraft in 1917, she could not have known that it would take another 25 years and the advent of another world war for women to realize her ambition. The first female pilot to fly and fight wouldn’t come along for another 78 years. But when she did, Lt. Col. Martha McSally wore an Air Force flight suit. Oliver was born in Massachusetts in 1887. She got her pilot’s license in 1912, flying an airplane she bought from Orville Wright. Oliver made her name in aviation as a stunt pilot and record-breaker, the first woman to loop the loop and to make a night flight. In November 1916, she broke the existing cross-country speed/distance record of 452 miles (set by Victor Carlstrom) with a nonstop 590-mile flight from Chicago to New York state. Oliver flew on to New York City the next day, running out of fuel over Manhattan. She made a dead-stick landing on Governors Island, where she was met by Army Capt. Henry “Hap” Arnold, who reportedly changed the spark plugs on her Curtiss Pusher. The future commanding general of the U.S. Army Air Forces may have inspired the young aviatrix; her effort to get women into the cockpits of military aircraft followed five months later, after America entered World War I. Despite her crusade, it was not to be. Oliver wrote an article in the magazine Air Travel titled, “Let Women Fly!” wherein she argued that success at the controls of an airplane demonstrated that women could work in aviation, fly, and serve. Ultimately they would, but first they would become “angels.”
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Ruth Law Oliver. Oliver made her name in aviation as a stunt pilot and recordbreaker, the first woman to loop the loop and to make a night flight. She was among the first to push for allowing women to fly in the armed forces.
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established School of Nursing, including those who helped staff 47 ambulance companies operating on the Western Front. Their work in forward-deployed Army field hospitals was a precursor to the nursing women would undertake as flight nurses in World War II. The Nurse Corps shrank dramatically during the interwar period. Fewer than 1,000 nurses were available by the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, but expansion was swift once America declared war. So was reorganization. A significant portion of those inducted became part of the Army Air Forces (AAF) Nurse Corps and a subset became flight nurses. Flight nurses were integral to the newly formed concept of aeromedical evacuation. Advances in aircraft size, power, and reliability in the late 1930s meant they could be adapted as medical evacuation tools, saving significant time in getting serious casualties from the battlefront and saving lives as a result. Wounded patients traveling by air needed medical oversight, hence the creation of flight nurses. The first class of AAF flight nurses graduated from Bowman Field, Kentucky, in February 1943. In June of that year, the Army formally established the Army Air Forces School of Air Evacuation there to offer specialized training for its flight nurses. But with casualties beckoning from the invasion of North Africa in November 1942, a cadre of women who had yet to finish their training were called up and sent to the theater on Christmas Day. They were volunteers – as were all flight nurses – who were also required to be single and generally between the ages of 20 and 30. They worked
LEFT: Second Lt. Suella Bernard smiles and shakes hands with Lt. Foster, head nurse, while 2nd Lt. Mary Jane Brown of Columbus, Ohio, looks on. Brown brought poppies together with wounded from a beachhead in Normandy. They were two of the nurses first to go on this Ninth Air Force evacuation mission and first to return with wounded to England. TOP RIGHT: The CG-4A glider with Bernard in the right-hand seat of the cockpit just as the glider is being snatched by a C-47. BOTTOM RIGHT: Bernard tends to patients in one of the two CG-4A gliders before the C-47s arrived.
aboard C-46 and C-47 aircraft used for cargo/troop carrying (later C-54s) as well as aeromedical evacuation (AE). As a result, the airplanes carried no Red Cross, and, indistinguishable from their stablemates, were sometimes subject to enemy fire. First Lt. Mary Louise Hawkins was evacuating 24 patients from the fighting at Palau to Guadalcanal in September 1944 when the C-47 in which she was flying ran low on fuel. The pilot made a forced landing in a small clearing on Bellona Island. During the landing, a propeller tore through the fuselage and severed the trachea of one patient. Hawkins fashioned a suction tube from various items including the inflation tube from a “Mae West.” Using the improvised tube, she kept the man’s throat clear of blood until aid arrived 19 hours later. All of her patients survived. For her skill and courage, Hawkins received the Distinguished Flying Cross. So did 1st Lt. Aleda E. Lutz. Lutz flew 196 missions and evacuated more than 3,500 men during the war. In November 1944, during an evacuation flight to Italy from the front lines near Lyon, France, her airplane crashed with no survivors. Awarded the Air Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, she posthumously received the Distinguished Flying Cross. Hers was not the only sacrifice: 17 flight nurses lost their lives during the war. First Lt. Suella V. Bernard was one of the first two nurses to fly into Normandy after the D-Day invasion. In March 1945, she volunteered for a glider mission into combat, the only flight nurse known to have done so during the war. Two CG-4A gliders undertook the mission, landing in a clearing
Flight nurses were integral to the newly formed concept of aeromedical evacuation.
U.S. AIR FORCE
ABOVE: Nancy Harkness Love, director of the U.S. Women’s Auxiliary Ferry Squadron, adjusts her helmet in the cockpit of an Army plane before taking off from an eastern United States base. The women under her command ferried planes from factories to coastal airports, from where they would be flown to overseas battle fronts. RIGHT: These four female pilots leaving their ship at the four engine school at Lockbourne were members of a group of WASPs who were trained to ferry B-17 Flying Fortresses. BELOW RIGHT: Betty Gillies was the first woman pilot to be “flight checked” and accepted by the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron.
serve in AE teams aboard C-17, C-130, and other aircraft in all theaters.
Among the many changes forged in World War II was the elevation of women to flying military aircraft. The idea of employing women to fly aircraft in noncombatant roles had been advanced during the 1930s, but it wouldn’t be realized until 1942. Female pilots never formally became part of the Army Air Forces, but they served it with distinction. In the immediate aftermath of Pearl Harbor, renowned aviatrix and air racer Jacqueline Cochran sought to put female pilots in the cockpits of military airplanes flying within the United States. At the request of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, she prepared a report, “Organization of a Woman Pilots’ Division of the Air Corps Ferry-
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WAFS and WASPs
ing Command,” in July 1941. Utilizing women pilots for stateside ferrying, check flights, and other tasks would free male pilots for training, combat, and deployment. Her proposal met with skepticism and no action. Disappointed but armed with the knowledge that British women were
More than 25,000 women applied to join the WASP during its 16-month lifespan.
U.S. AIR FORCE PHOTO
near the bridgehead at Remagen, Germany, to evacuate 25 severely injured American and German casualties. Once the gliders were loaded, C-47 transports successfully snatched them from their landing site near enemy fire and towed them aloft to a military hospital in France. Bernard received the Air Medal for her action. Many more flight nurses attended patients on intercontinental evacuation flights from the European and Pacific theaters back to the United States. Such flights required vigilant care of seriously wounded patients over several days. By ship and ground transportation, the same trip back to the safety of America would have taken months. Approximately 500 Army Air Forces flight nurses served with 31 medical air evacuation transport squadrons during World War II. They evacuated 1,176,048 patients throughout the war, just 46 of whom died en route. The regard in which they were held led flight nurses to become popularly known as “Winged Angels.” Their legacy lives on in the Air Force today as female and male nurses
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U.S. AIR FORCE PHOTO U.S. ARMY PHOTO
TOP LEFT: Deanie Parish as a WASP on the flight line at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, in the early 1940s. ABOVE: Recruiting poster for the WAAC. LEFT: Newly arrived Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps recruits at Fort Des Moines, Iowa, 1942.
already ferrying military aircraft from factories to operating bases in the U.K. for the British Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA), Cochran recruited a group of American civilian women pilots to serve in the ATA. She accompanied them to England, then returned to the United States to recruit a second group. As Cochran shepherded her flock abroad, Nancy Harkness Love, a noted aviation entrepreneur, test pilot, and air racer, advanced her own proposal for female ferry pilots. Leveraging her own connections and those of her husband (Robert Love, deputy chief of staff of the Ferrying Command), Love convinced Army Air Corps leadership that women ferry pilots could be valuable.
Love was appointed as executive of women pilots to the staff of the newly minted Air Transport Command (ATC) in early 1942. Within months, she recruited 29 experienced female pilots to join the newly created Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS). Love became their commander. In September 1942, the WAFS began flying from New Castle Army Air Field, Wilmington, Delaware, under the aegis of the 2nd Ferrying Group. Strict qualifications for joining meant that only 40 women wore the WAFS uniform – which they had to pay for. Meanwhile, Cochran had learned of the formation of the WAFS while in England. Upon returning, she convinced Gen. Arnold that the WAFS wouldn’t be able to supply the number of women pilots needed for domestic ferrying operations. Cochran and Love were both racers and it is not difficult to imagine an unspoken competition between the two women to lead America’s first female ferry pilots. Arnold and Cochran agreed that enlisting female pilots in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) was too cumbersome to proceed quickly. Instead, Cochran established the Women’s Flying Training Detachment (WFTD) at Howard Hughes Airport in Houston, Texas, Nov. 16, 1942. The 25 women who made up the initial class were required to have 200 hours flying time and a commercial license. Like the WAFS, WFTD pilots ferried aircraft to operating bases. But they also instructed male pilot cadets, delivered planes for repair, performed subsequent check flights, slow-timed new engines, flew searchlight tracking missions, and towed targets for anti-aircraft gunnery practice. Overlap between the two organizations was inevitable, and, logically, they were merged into a single organization – the Women Airforce Service Pilots, or WASP – on Aug. 5, 1943. Cochran would serve as director of the WASP and its training division. Love would head its ferrying division. More than 25,000 women applied to join the WASP during its 16-month lifespan. Just 1,879 applicants were accepted, and of these, 1,074 completed thorough flight training at Avenger Field in Texas. Their washout rate bettered the average for male pilots. While Cochran pressed for full militarization of the WASP, she continued to advocate that it be
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ABOVE: WASPs on the flight line at Laredo AAF Base, Texas, Jan. 22 1944, with some “hot ships” – B-26 Marauders – behind them. RIGHT: Elizabeth L. Remba Gardner of Rockford, Illinois, WASP (Women’s Airforce Service Pilots) Class 43W-6, takes a look around before sending her plane streaking down the runway at the Harlingen Army Airfield, Texas.
separate from the WAC. Part of her reasoning was that some of the most experienced WASPs were mothers of young children. WAC recruits had to be at least 21 years old and could not have children younger than 14. The WASP also accepted women as young as 18 if they had a pilot’s license and flight experience. Though Arnold requested that WASP pilots be commissioned directly into the AAF, his request was denied. A subsequent attempt by Cochran and Arnold to get Congress to pass a bill making WASP a women’s service within the U.S. Army Air Forces failed as well. The women pilots of the WASP flew nearly every type of aircraft in U.S. service during their short existence, freeing males for other tasking. By 1944,
The Women’s Air Force The immediate postwar period created uncertainty for the U.S. military that is simply forgotten today. A dramatic
LEFT: Esther Blake, the newly formed U.S. Air Forces’s first female recruit. RIGHT: Jackie Cochran stands on the wing of her F-86 while talking to Maj. Chuck Yeager and Canadair’s chief test pilot Bill Longhurst.
reduction in manpower, resources, and attention left the Army, Navy, and AAF in low-morale limbo for five years as the “peace dividend” was paid fully into American society. While presiding over the decline in the strength of the military, many in the U.S. government remembered the perils faced by America’s withered armed forces just a decade prior. Such concern – along with Russia’s intent to alter the geopolitical landscape – led to the major restructuring of the government’s military and intelligence agencies known as the National Security Act of 1947. The act created the U.S. Air Force (USAF) as a fully independent service, coequal with the Army and Navy.
Though there were plans to expand the new service from 55 to 70 air groups, President Harry S. Truman decided in December 1948 that the country could afford no more than 48 groups. What had been expansion became contraction. Even still, the newly minted Air Force struggled to recruit and retain qualified men as the peacetime economy boomed. A manpower problem of growing intensity surfaced. As it did, Congress remembered the wartime resource that women had offered. On June 12, 1948, it passed the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act, establishing women as permanent, regular members of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force. The act set end-strength limits on the number of women inducted and its Section 502 excluded women from aircraft and vessels of the Air Force and Navy that might engage in combat. The limits didn’t deter Esther Blake, who joined the newly structured
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America had trained tens of thousands of pilots and the urgent demand of 19421943 had been more than satisfied. Surplus manpower spelled an end for the WASPs, who were disbanded Dec. 20, 1944, after Congress voted down the WASP bill. While the WASPs never gained military status, they highlighted the capabilities of and possibilities for women. Many more women served the AAF as civilians in other roles. By the time the WASPs were disbanded, nearly 6,000 women had been trained as Link Trainer operators and were teaching male pilots how to read instruments. Approximately 40 percent of the air traffic controllers serving the AAF and Navy were women. NASA’s forerunner – the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) – hired women to work as scientists, engineers, and analysts, reviewing data from wind tunnels on airplane prototypes that the AAF would place into service.
PHOTO COURTESY AIR FORCE FLIGHT TEST CENTER HISTORY OFFICE
U.S. AIR FORCE
DOD PHOTO BY STARR HANCOCK U.S. AIR FORCE PHOTO
Women in the Air Force (WAF) on the first day it was possible to do so: July 8, 1948. Though she was the Air Force’s first female recruit, military service was not new for her. Blake was a widow who served with the WAC during the war, joining her sons who served with the AAF. She transferred in from Fort McPherson, Georgia, and remained on active duty with the Air Force until 1954, rising to the rank of staff sergeant. Blake represented a select group of women in the new Air Force whose numbers were limited by law to 300 officers and 4,000 enlisted personnel. The first of those to receive basic training were sent to Lackland Air Force Base (AFB), Texas, in 1948. The Air Force desegregated basic training in 1949 and many African-American women subsequently joined as well. The new female officers and enlisted alike filled a variety of clerical and medical ground duty roles. None were trained as pilots. They were commanded by Col. Geraldine Pratt May, the first director of the WAFs. May, too, had served in
LEFT: Maj. Gen. Jeanne M. Holm, the Air Force’s first female general officer, was the chief of the Women in the Air Force program. RIGHT: The first 10 female officers to graduate from the Air Force Undergraduate Pilot Training Program pose for a group photo in front of a T-38 training aircraft, Williams Air Force Base, Arizona.
the war as WAC staff director of ATC. Her appointment as director of the WAF and commission as a colonel made her the first women to achieve that rank in the Air Force. The uniforms first donned by the WAFs were adaptations of men’s uniforms with standard neckties. But May soon ordered new, distinct uniforms modeled on those of commercial flight attendants. Though using the same material as the men’s winter uniforms, tabs on the collar replaced the necktie. A new summer uniform – a two-piece, cotton-cord seersucker dress – fitted poorly and was generally disliked. Women would wear both uniforms as America ramped up for the Korean War. Additional manpower in the form of new recruits and recalled reservists expanded the Air Force from 411,277 personnel to 788,381 officers and enlisted. The expansion came with greater administrative demands, and WAFs replaced many men in staff positions in the United States, Europe, and Asia. By 1951, May had left active duty to serve in other government posts. The effort to further integrate women was carried on and while there were recruitment and organizational missteps, the involvement of women during and after Korea solidified their presence in the USAF. One of their most visible roles, surprisingly, was a musical one. In January 1951, an all-female dance band was formed at Lackland AFB, subsequently known as the 543rd Air Force Band or the “WAF Band.” Some 235 women
Blake represented a select group of women in the new Air Force whose numbers were limited by law to 300 officers and 4,000 enlisted personnel.
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By 1959, four universities were running ROTC WAF sections. By 1970, they could be found across the country.
The first Air Force all-female flight crew to fly an overseas mission included, from left to right, Capt. Guiliana Sangiorgio, aircraft commander; Capt. Barbara Akin, first pilot; 1st Lt. Terri Ollinger, copilot; Tech. Sgt. Donna Wertz, flight engineer; Staff Sgt. Denise Meunier, flight engineer; Sgt. Mary Eiche, load master; and Airman 1st Class Bernadette Botti.
The actual WAF force numbered around 6,000. Fewer women were enlisting than expected and those on active duty often left, citing limited career opportunities as partial justification. In 1957, when a new cap on the WAF program set its number at 8,000, there were approximately 7,200 women on active duty, representing less than 1 percent of the total enlisted force of 734,000 in the Air Force. Ironically, as female representation diminished, a WAF section was introduced into the college-level Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program in 1956. By 1959, four universities were running ROTC WAF sections. By 1970, they could be found across the country.
U.S. AIR FORCE PHOTO BY SSGT. MARVIN D. LYNCHARD
musicians played with the 543rd, which carried about 50 members at any time. Led by director Capt. MaryBelle Johns Nissly, the WAF Band represented the Air Force as ambassadors along with the all-male Air Force Band, marching in both of President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s inaugural parades, playing for President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration, and numerous concert engagements nationwide. Despite the band’s popularity, Nissly struggled with the limited resources as well as frequent personnel losses, as women who married were not allowed to continue as members. Lukewarm support from Air Force hierarchy combined with an overall manpower reduction in the late 1950s led to the WAF Band’s demise in 1961. By the mid-1950s, the presence of women in the Air Force waned, failing to realize an expected end strength of 12,000.
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LEFT: Lt. Col. Martha McSally stands with her A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft. The lieutenant colonel was the first female pilot in the Air Force to fly in combat and to serve as a squadron commander of a combat aviation squadron. ABOVE: Brig. Gen. Jeannie Leavitt was the U.S. Air Force’s first female fighter pilot, piloting the F-15E Strike Eagle, and the first female to command an Air Force combat fighter wing. She is presently the commander of the 57th Wing at Nellis AFB.
Women serving in the armed forces took another step forward in 1967. Congressional passage of Public Law 90-130 brought with it legal requirements that women have equal promotion and retirement rights.
America’s involvement in the Vietnam War was unpopular with large segments of men and women, dampening recruiting prospects, especially for the latter, whose role limitations did not add to the allure of a stint in the Air Force. But not all women felt similarly. In 1965, Mary H. Rebkovich and Becky Sisson became the first female members of the Virginia Air National Guard (VA ANG). The pair were nurses at Richmond Memorial Hospital and Sisson had been dating a pilot in the VA ANG’s 149th Tactical Fighter Squadron. Informed that nurses would be welcomed in the unit, they interviewed and were commissioned 2nd lieutenants in August of that year. “We enjoyed the status of being the only females for a long time, too,” remembered Rebkovitch, who became a lieutenant colonel with the ANG. Sisson went on to serve with the Tennessee, Georgia, and Texas Air Guard units as well. Women serving in the armed forces took another step forward in 1967. Congressional passage of Public
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Maj. Nicole Malachowski, the first female pilot selected to fly as part of the USAF Air Demonstration Squadron “The Thunderbirds.”
In 1976, the separate status of WAF was abolished. Women would enter the service academies and the first class of women would enter pilot training as fullfledged military personnel.
Cleared for Takeoff: The Spirit of ’76
More than 90 percent of career fields were open to women, including that of fighter pilot, after restrictions were lifted in 1991.
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Law 90-130 brought with it legal requirements that women have equal promotion and retirement rights. It also removed the 2 percent cap on the number of women who could serve in the armed forces. The final chapter of the Vietnam War brought with it the end of the draft and the rise of the all-volunteer force. Concurrent social changes in American society suggested that women should no longer serve within an Air Force subdivision (the WAF), but rather as members of the total force. The lack of popularity of the 1970s military likewise meant that all hands would be needed to staff a volunteer force.
On Aug. 26, 1976, 10 women – five captains and five lieutenants – went to Hondo Municipal Airport in San Antonio, Texas, to begin the T-41 flight screening program. They were the first females in Air Force undergraduate pilot training (UPT), part of UPT Class 77-08. They proceeded to Williams AFB, embarking on a 48-week pilot training course with their male classmates. Each candidate accumulated 210 hours in the Cessna T-37 and the Northrop T-38, and 790 hours in academic, flying, and officer training. Capt. Connie Engel was the first woman to solo in the T-41 and T-37, and she was the first woman to lead a two-ship formation. Capt. Christine Schott became the first woman to solo in the T-38. All 10 women earned their wings. They would be trailblazers in the Air Force, going on to fly in support of combat missions including Grenada, Panama, Desert Storm, Desert Shield, and several African conflicts. The “firsts” they accomplished range from Capt. Kathy La Sauce becoming the first female pilot to command a C-141 and Schott commanding the first all-female aircrew in a C-9 to Capt. Sandra Scott’s debut as the first female tanker (KC-135) commander to perform alert duty for Strategic Air Command. As the 1980s rolled into the 1990s, women entered a wide variety of mission specialties in the Air Force, from military police to missileers. More than 90 percent of career fields were open to women, in-
OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE PHOTO BY PETE SOUZA
cluding that of fighter pilot, after restrictions were lifted in 1991. Brig. Gen. Jeannie Leavitt holds the distinction of becoming the first female USAF fighter pilot, graduating from the F-15E Strike Eagle training course with the 555th Fighter Squadron at Luke AFB in 1994. Leavitt would go on to command the 333rd Fighter Squadron at Seymour Johnson AFB, then to command the 4th Fighter Wing. In 2016, Leavitt became the first woman to take control of the 57th Wing at Nellis AFB. She accumulated more than 300 combat hours flying the Strike Eagle over Afghanistan and Iraq. The first female to fly combat missions in an Air Force fighter would be Capt. Martha McSally. Today, McSally is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Arizona’s 2nd District. In 1995, she deployed to Kuwait and flew combat patrols enforcing the no-fly zone over southern Iraq at the controls of an A-10 Warthog. Many more would follow in McSally’s footsteps, including Col. Kim Campbell.
President Barack Obama signs S.614 in the Oval Office July 1, 2010, at the White House. The bill awards a Congressional Gold Medal to Women Airforce Service Pilots. The WASP program was established during World War II, and from 1942 to 1943, more than 1,000 women joined, flying 60 million miles of noncombat military missions. Of the women who received their wings as Women Airforce Service Pilots, approximately 300 are living today.
In 2003 during the second Iraq War, then-Capt. Campbell was flying close air support near Baghdad. Coming off her last pass, Campbell’s 75th Fighter Squadron A-10 was hit by ground fire. “As we were on our way out is when I felt the jet get hit. It was pretty obvious – it was loud. ... I lost all hydraulics instantaneously, and the jet rolled left and pointed toward the ground.” Her Warthog had taken extensive damage to the starboard vertical stabilizer, horizontal stabilizer, aft fuselage, and engine. After trying several ways to regain control, Campbell engaged the backup mechanical flight control system. The jet responded, and with some help from her wingman, she landed back at her forward base. The combat experience gained by Campbell and other women further opened opportunities for women to serve in all areas, culminating with the Defense Department’s 2016 decision to open all combat positions to all qualified candidates regardless of gender. Though none has yet qualified,
women began to apply for training for Air Force special operations positions including Tactical Air Control Party (TACP). With women like Maj. Nicole Malachowski, who debuted as the first Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration team pilot in 2005, females have taken their place in nearly all Air Force job descriptions. As of 2017, women made up approximately 19 percent of Air Force personnel. With more than 63,000 women in uniform, the Air Force counted more females in its ranks than any other service.
With more than 63,000 women in uniform, the Air Force counted more females in its ranks than any other service. 120
Vice President Michael Pence receives a mission briefing from U.S. Air Force Gen. Lori J. Robinson, the commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command inside the Alternate Command Center at Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, June 23, 2017. Robinson is the first female service member to lead a unified combatant command.
None has aimed higher than four-star Gen. Lori Robinson. On May 13, 2016, Robinson was appointed as leader of U.S. Northern Command – the first female service member to lead a unified combatant command and thus the highest-ranking woman in U.S. military history. Robinson’s role as a major combatant command leader gives her a good chance of rising to the top role in America’s military: the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). Her ascension to the JCS would no doubt please her WASP predecessors. Though heralded during World War II, women who served in the armed forces were not considered military veterans. That changed in 1977, when President Jimmy Carter awarded the WASPs full status as veterans, complete with benefits. In 2010, about 200 WASPs came full circle when they visited Washington, D.C., to accept the Congressional Gold Medal. II
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Women in the Armed Forces: A Century of Service publication captures the history of 100 years of women in the military, both formally and in...
Published on Mar 7, 2018
Women in the Armed Forces: A Century of Service publication captures the history of 100 years of women in the military, both formally and in...