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Posted 8/26/2013

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By Courtesy of the Women in Military Service to America Memorial Foundation, Inc.

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.

1865: Dr. Mary Walker receives the Medal of Honor. She is the only woman to receive the nation's highest military honor.

Spanish-American War (1898): 1,500 civilian nurses under contract to the U.S. Army are assigned to Army hospitals in the US, Hawaii, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines, as well as to the Hospital Ship Relief.

1901: Army Nurse Corps is established.

1908: Navy Nurse Corps is established.

World War I (1917-1918): More than 35,000 women serve as nurses, telephone operators, stenographers and yeomen stateside and overseas.

Army Reorganization Act (1920): A provision of the Army Reorganization Act grants military nurses the status of officers with "relative rank" from second lieutenant to major, but do not grant full rights and privileges.

World War II (1941-1945): More than 60,000 Army nurses and more than 14,000 Navy nurses serve stateside, overseas and aboard ships.

1942: Women's Army Auxiliary Corps, later the Women's Army Corps, established.

Women Airforce Service Pilots, the WASPs, are organized and fly as civil service pilots.

Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, the WAVES, established by the Navy

Coast Guard’s women’s reserve, known as the SPARs, established


1943: Marine Corps Women's Reserve established

1947: Army-Navy Nurse Act makes the Army Nurse Corps and Women's Medical Specialist Corps part of the Regular Army; gives permanent commissioned officer status to Army and Navy nurses.

1948: The Women's Armed Services Integration Act grants women permanent status in the Regular and Reserve forces of the Army, Navy and Marine Corps as well as in the newly created Air Force.

Executive Order 9981 ends racial segregation in the armed services

1949: Air Force Nurse Corps established

Korean War (1950-1953): Reserve servicewomen are involuntarily recalled to active duty.

1953: The first woman physician is commissioned as a medical officer in the Regular Army.

Navy Hospital Corps women are assigned positions aboard Military Sea Transportation Service ships for the first time.

1958: Military nurses are assigned to the hospitals which deploy during the Lebanon crisis.

1965: First woman Marine assigned to attaché duty. Later, she is the first woman Marine to serve under hostile fire.

Vietnam War (1965-1975): Some 7,000 American military women serve in Southeast Asia, the majority of them nurses.

1967: Legal provisions placing a two percent cap on the number of women serving and a ceiling on the highest grade a woman can achieve are repealed.

1969: Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps opens to women.

1970: The first women in the history of the armed forces, the Chief of the Army Nurse Corps and the Women's Army Corps Director, are promoted to brigadier general.

1971: An Air Force woman becomes the first woman aircraft maintenance officer.

The first woman is assigned as a flight surgeon in the Air Force and the Air Force Reserve.

A staff sergeant becomes the first female technician in the Air Force Reserve.

1972: The Reserve Officer Training Corps is opened to Army and Navy women.

1973: The first Navy women earn military pilot wings and the Navy accepts its first woman chaplain.

1974: An Army woman becomes the first woman military helicopter pilot.

1976: Women are admitted to the service academies.

The Air Force selects the first woman reservist for the undergraduate pilot training program.

1977: The first Coast Guard women are assigned to sea duty as crew members aboard the Morganthau and Gallatin.

Military veteran status is granted to WASPs who flew during WWII.

1978: The law banning Navy women from ships is ruled unconstitutional. Congress amends the law by opening non combat ships to women.

The Women's Army Corps is disestablished and its members integrated into the Regular Army.

1979: An Army Nurse Corps officer becomes the first African-American woman brigadier general in the history of the armed forces.

The Marine Corps assigns women as embassy guards.

1980: The first women graduate from the service academies.

1982: The Air Force selects the first woman aviator for Test Pilot School.

1983: The first Navy woman completes Test Pilot School.

Approximately 200 Army and Air Force women deploy to Grenada on Operation Urgent Fury

1986: Six Air Force women serve as pilots, copilots and boom operators on the KC-135 and KC-10 tankers that refuel FB-111s during the raid on Libya.

A Navy woman becomes the first female jet test pilot in any service.

1988: NASA selects its first Navy woman as an astronaut.

1989: 770 women deploy to Panama in Operation Just Cause.

NASA selects its first Army woman as an astronaut.

War in the Persian Gulf (1990-1991): Some 40,000 American military women are deployed during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

1991: Congress repeals laws banning women from flying in combat.

1993: Congress repeals the law banning women from duty on combat ships.

The first woman service secretary in the history of the armed forces is appointed.

1994: The USS Eisenhower is the first carrier to have permanent women crew members

The first woman, an Air Force major, copilots the space shuttle.

1995: The first female Marine pilot pins on naval flight wings.

1996: The first woman commands the Army's Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps.

1997: 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.

1999: The first women graduate from the Virginia Military Institute and the Citadel.

2000: 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: 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.

Servicewomen are activated and deployed following the attacks on 9/11 in support of the war on terrorism.

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.

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.

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.

2007: The last woman veteran of World War I dies.

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.