Women have served in defense of our nation since the Revolutionary War. During World War I women served as nurses, bilingual
telephone operators, stenographers, and clerks. During World War II hundreds of thousands of women served the war effort at home
and abroad performing a variety of jobs in intelligence, supply, medicine, communications, and administration. Women also flew
American military planes as carriers, test pilots, and anti-aircraft artillery trainers. The contributions of these women convinced military
and congressional leaders to pass the 1948 Women’s Armed Services Act granting women permanent status in the US military.
"I have never considered myself anything but a Soldier. I recognize that with this selection, some will view me as a
trailblazer, but it's important that we remember the generations of women, whose dedication, commitment and quality
of service helped open the doors of opportunity for us today."
- General Ann Dunwoody became the first female 4-star in the U.S. Army November 14, 2008
By the 1990s women commanded ships, directed bases, and flew jets for the US military. In 1993 Sheila Widnall became the first female
Secretary of the Air Force and the first woman to lead an entire branch of the US military in the Department of Defense. Today women
constitute 15 percent of the total active duty force and make vital contributions in Iraq and Afghanistan and other overseas contingency
operations. In 2010, the Navy announced submarine positions were opening to women for the first time. Female soldiers, sailors, and
pilots also assist with humanitarian relief efforts in countries affected by earthquakes, flooding, or famine. As of late 2010 there were 47
female Generals and 23 female Admirals in the US military. The opportunities for women to serve and achieve leadership positions have
never been greater.
When Was the Last Time You Were the First to Do Something?
The FIRST all-female aircrew brief before their flight to
commemorate Women’s History Month in 2010
Members of the FIRST combat mission to be planned,
maintained, and flown entirely by women – Bagram
Airfield, Afghanistan, March 2011
For More Information
The FIRST-ever all-female helicopter crew who took to the skies in
June 2011 for a training mission in the Little Belt Mountains.
"What we need to concentrate on is what we have in common,
which is that warrior spirit that's in all of our hearts, that has
created us the way we are -- to choose to be a part of something
so much bigger than ourselves." – Maj. Nicole Malachowski,
FIRST female member of the Air Force Thunderbirds