Friday, November 7, 2014

Veterans Day: Highlights in the History of Military Women

Veterans Day Honoring Veterans
of the U.S. Military Servces
On Veterans Day, November 11, we honor veterans who served in the U.S. Military. This date also marks the end of World War I when the armistice with Germany was signed at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.

Women have been a part of the U.S. Military since the American Revolutionary War when we fought for independence from England. Winning that war established the United States of America. 

Take a look at this amazing history of women in the military.The full history is on the Women in MilitaryService for America Memorial site.

Highlights in the History of Military Women

American Revolution (1775-1783): Women serve on the battlefield as nurses, water bearers, cooks, laundresses and saboteurs.
War of 1812: Mary Marshall and Mary Allen nurse aboard Commodore Stephen Decatur's ship United States.
Mexican War (1846-1848): Elizabeth Newcom enlists in Company D of the Missouri Volunteer Infantry as Bill Newcom. She marches 600 miles from Missouri to winter camp at Pueblo, Colorado, before she is discovered to be a woman and discharged.
Civil War (1861-1865): Women provide casualty care and nursing to Union and Confederate troops at field hospitals and on the Union Hospital Ship Red Rover. Women soldiers on both sides disguise themselves as men in order to serve. In 1865, Dr. Mary Walker receives the Medal of Honor. She is the only woman to receive the nation's highest military honor.

More Recent History
1987: The Navy assigns its first woman Force Master Chief and Independent Duty Corpsman to serve at sea.
The first enlisted woman is assigned as Officer-In-Charge aboard a Coast Guard vessel.
1988: NASA selects its first Navy woman as an astronaut.
The Coast Guard's "Chief Warrant Officer to Lieutenant" program promotes its first woman.
Marine women are again assigned as embassy guards.
1989: 770 women deploy to Panama in Operation Just Cause. Two women command Army companies in the operation and three women Army pilots are nominated for Air Medals. Two receive the Air Medal with "V" device for participation in a combat mission.
For the first time in history, the US Military Academy (West Point) names a woman as its Brigade Commander and First Captain.
NASA selects its first Army woman as an astronaut.
The Navy assigns its first woman as Command Master Chief at sea.
A woman is the first person trained for a new specialty, Coast Guard Flight Officer. These officers are responsible for tactical coordination of the drug interdiction efforts aboard Coast Guard aircraft.

War in the Persian Gulf (1990-1991): Some 40,000 American military women are deployed during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Two Army women are taken prisoner by the Iraqis.
1991: The Navy assigns the first women to command a Naval Station and an aviation squadron.
The first Navy woman assumes command of a ship.
The Air Force Reserve selects its first woman senior enlisted advisor.
Congress repeals laws banning women from flying in combat.
For the first time in history, a woman is named Brigade Commander at the Naval Academy.
1992: The first active duty woman Coast Guard officer is promoted to captain (O-6).
1993: Congress repeals the law banning women from duty on combat ships. Women deploy with the USS Fox.
The first woman Naval aviator serves with a combat squadron.
The first woman assumes command of a Naval base.
The Marine Corps opens pilot positions to women.
The Army names a woman "Drill Sergeant of the Year" for the first time in the 24-year history of this competition.
The Army assigned its first woman combat pilot.
The Air Force assigns the first woman to command an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) unit.
The first woman service secretary in the history of the armed forces is appointed.
The first woman in any reserve component is promoted to major general.
The Air Force assigns the first woman to command an air refueling unit.
The Coast Guard promotes the first active duty woman to master chief.
The Coast Guard assigns the first woman as Chief Judge.

1994: The USS Eisenhower is the first carrier to have permanent women crew members. Sixty-three women are initially assigned.
The first woman assumes command of a Naval Air Station.
The first woman, an Air Force major, copilots the space shuttle.
The Air Force Reserve gets its first woman fighter pilot.
1995: An Air Force lieutenant colonel becomes the first woman space shuttle pilot.
The first African-American woman, an Air Force officer, is promoted to major general.
The first female Marine pilot pins on Naval flight wings.
1996: The first women in the history of the armed forces are promoted to three-star rank.
For the first time a woman fires Tomahawk cruise missiles from a warship in a combat zone.
The first woman commands the Army's Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps.
The first woman commands an operational flying wing.
1997: The Army promotes its first woman to lieutenant general.
The Army assigns the first woman and the first non-doctor to command an Army hospital.
The first woman in history is appointed as a state adjutant general.

1998: For the first time, a woman fighter pilot delivers a payload of missiles and laser-guided bombs in combat. She is in the first wave of US strikes against Iraq in Operation Desert Fox.
The Air National Guard promotes the first woman to major general.
1999: The Air Force promotes its first woman to lieutenant general.
For the first time, a woman, an Air Force lieutenant colonel, commands the space shuttle.
The first women graduate from the Virginia Military Institute and the Citadel.
The first woman and first African-American commands the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Corps (NOAA).
The first African-American woman is selected to command a Navy ship.
2000: The Air Force promotes the first woman pilot to brigadier general.
The first Coast Guard women, an active duty officer and a reservist, are promoted to flag officer rank.
Navy women are among the victims and heroes when the USS Cole is attacked by a suicide bomber in Yemen.
The first woman commands a Navy warship at sea. The vessel is assigned to the sensitive Persian Gulf.
The Army National Guard promotes the first woman to major general.

2001: The Army promotes the first woman to brigadier general in the Judge Advocate General's Corps. She is also the first Asian-Pacific-American woman promoted to brigadier general.
An Air National Guard security force woman becomes the first woman to complete the counter-sniper course, the only military sniper program open to women.
The US Army Women's Museum opens at Ft. Lee, Virginia.
Terrorists highjack four commercial aircraft, crash two into the World Trade Center, one into a field in Pennsylvania and one into the Pentagon. In the attack at the Pentagon 125 people were killed on the ground and 59 passengers lose their lives; ten active duty, reserve and retired servicewomen are among the casualties. Servicewomen are activated and deployed in support of the war on terrorism.
2002: An enlisted woman Marine is killed in an aircraft crash in Pakistan, the first woman to die in Operation Enduring Freedom, part of the Global War on Terror.
The Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) is issued a new charter narrowing its focus to issues pertaining to military families, recruitment, readiness and retention. A retired Marine three-star general is appointed chairman of the new, downsized advisory committee.
For the first time in its history, the Army National Guard promotes an African-American woman to the rank of brigadier general.
For the first time in US history, a woman becomes the top enlisted advisor
in any of the military components. She is sworn in as the Command Sergeant
Major of the US Army Reserve.
2003: The first Native American servicewoman is killed in battle.  She was one of three women who became prisoners of war during the first days of the war in Iraq.
The first woman in US Air Force history takes command of a fighter squadron.
2005: The first woman in history is awarded the Silver Star for combat action. She is one of 14 women in US history to receive the medal.
An Air Force woman becomes the Air Force Academy’s Commandant of Cadets, the No. 2 position at the nation’s service academies. She is the first woman in the history of any of the academies to be appointed to this position.
The first woman in US Air Force history joins the prestigious USAF Air  Demonstration Squadron “Thunderbirds.” She was also the first woman on any US military high performance jet team. 
2006: The Coast Guard appoints the first woman Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard, making her the first woman in history to serve as a deputy service chief in any of the US Armed Forces.
The Marine Corps assigns the first woman Marine in history to command a Recruit
2007: The first woman in US Naval history takes command of a fighter squadron.
The last woman veteran of World War I dies, a former yeoman (F).
2008: For the first time in US military history, a woman is promoted to the
rank of four-star general. She is promoted by the US Army.

More blog posts on women in the military:


  1. J Q, thanks for sharing this information. Thank you to all those who have served/are serving.

    1. XHi Susanne, thanks for stopping in! I love history as you can tell from this post.