“Courage, sacrifice, determination, commitment, toughness, heart, talent, guts. That’s what little girls are made of; the heck with sugar and spice.”
– Bethany Hamilton (professional surfer)
Continued from: Women in the Military Part I (1775-1920) & Women in the Military Part II (1941-1991)
- Lane McClelland becomes the Coast Guard’s active-duty first woman (since SPARs: the Coast Guard Women’s Reserve) to be promoted to Captain.
- Pilot positions are opened to women in the Marine Corps.
- Patricia Fornes becomes the Air Force’s first woman assigned to command an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICMB) unit.
- Sheila Widnall becomes the first woman Secretary of the Air Force, as well as being the first woman to lead a branch of the military.
- Lane McClelland becomes the first military woman (Coast Guard) to be assigned as Chief Judge.
- Jill Henderson becomes the Army’s first woman “Drill Sergeant of the Year.”
- (January 13) Susan J. Helms becomes the first military woman (Air Force) in space (Endeavour).
- (July 7 ) Louise C. Wilmot becomes the Navy’s first commander of a naval base (Naval Base Philadelphia).
- (November) Naval combat ship exclusions were repealed by Congress, allowing women to serve aboard combat ships.
- The USS Eisenhower is the first ship to assign permanent female (63) crew.
- Eileen Collins becomes the first woman (Air Force) to copilot a space shuttle.
- Eileen Collins becomes the first woman (Air Force) to pilot a space shuttle.
- (April 21) Sarah Deal becomes the Marine’s first female pilot to receive her Naval flight wings.
- Patricia Ann Tracey becomes the Navy’s first woman to be promoted to Vice Admiral (O-9).
- Carol A. Mutter becomes the Marine’s first woman to be promoted to Lieutenant General (O-9).
- Erica Niedermeier becomes the first woman (Navy) to fire offensive missiles (Tomahawk Cruise Missiles) in combat from a warship.
- Heather Lynn Johnsen becomes the Army’s first woman to receive the silver tomb guard badge (Army’s Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps).
- (June 17) Claudia J. Kennedy becomes the Army’s first woman to be promoted to Lieutenant General (O-9).
- Martha T. Rainville was the first woman (National Guard) to be appointed as a state Adjutant General (Vermont).
- Bonnie Burnham Potter becomes the first woman (Navy) to command the National Naval Medical Command Bethesda.
- (Operation Desert Fox, Iraq) Kendra Williams becomes the Navy’s first woman fighter pilot to deliver a payload of laser-guided bombs and missiles in combat.
- (March 5) Eileen Marie Collins the first woman (Air Force) named to command a space shuttle.
- The first women graduate from The Citadel and the Virginia Military Institute.
- Betty Mullis becomes the Air Force’s first female pilot to be promoted to Brigadier General.
- An active-duty officer and a reservist (Coast Guard) are promoted to flag officer rank.
- Kathleen McGrath (Navy) becomes the first female to command a warship in the Persian Gulf.
- Jennifer Donaldson becomes the first female (Illinois Air National Guard) to complete a counter-sniper course (National Guard Sniper School).
- The United States Army Women’s Museum (formerly the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) Museum located) at Fort McClellan, Alabama, which opened on May 14, 1955) reopens in Fort Lee, Virginia.
- Coral Wong Pietsch becomes the first female (Army) to be promoted to Brigadier General in the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps.
- Jane M. Hartley becomes the first female (Coast Guard) Captain of the Port (Commanding Officer of Marine Safety Office Wilmington, North Carolina).
- Gail Kulisch becomes the first female (Coast Guard) to become a commanding officer of a strike team (Atlantic Strike Team).
- Michele S. Jones becomes the first female enlisted (U.S. Army Reserve) to attain the rank of Command Sergeant Major, to serve as such in any component of the Army and, at that time, the highest enlisted person in any branch of the military.
Sidonie Bosin, a Coast Guard helicopter pilot, was as being one of the “top 100 aviators of all time” by the First Flight Centennial Commission’s 100 Heroes Committee (formed to commemoration the Wright Brothers first powered flight).
- Linda McTague becomes the first woman to command an Air National Guard wing and the Air Force’s first female commander of a flight squadron.
- Leigh Ann Hester becomes the first woman (Army), since World War II, to earn the Silver Star for combat action.
- Susan Y. Desjardins becomes the first female Commandant of Cadets at the Air Force Academy, as well as the first female of any military service to be appointed to this position.
- Nicole Malachowski becomes the first female chosen to join the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron ”Thunderbirds,” announced in 2005 for the year 2006 team, as well as the first female of any military service to become part of any high performance jet team.
- Vivien S. Crea becomes the Coast Guard’s first female Vice Commandant, as well as the first female of any military service to serve as deputy service chief.
- Angela Salinas becomes the Marine’s first female to command a Recruit Depot (Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego).
- Sara Joyner becomes the Navy’s first woman to command a fighter squadron (Strike Fighter Squadron 105 “the Gunslingers”).
- Charlotte Winters (Navy), the last living World War I vet, dies on March 27 at the age of 109.
- Ann E. Dunwoody becomes the first woman (Army) in the military to be promoted to a four-star General (O-10).
- Brenda Cartier becomes the Air Force’s first female flying squadron commander of a Special Operations Command (4th Special Operations Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Fla).
- Colleen L. McGuire becomes the first female to become the Provost Marshal General of the Army and also assume command of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command.
- Sherri Gallagher becomes the first female to earn the title of Best Warrior Competition’s Soldier of the Year.
- Christine Mau, Tracy Schmidt, Leigh Larkin and Jennifer Morton, knows as the “Strike Eagles of ‘Dudette 07,’” flew the first ever (Air Force), all-female combat mission.
- Patricia D. Horoho becomes the Army’s first female Surgeon General of the Army.
- After the landmark policy change (April 2010) allowing women to serve on submarines, the first group of women (Navy) complete nuclear power school and officially report for duty.
- Janet Wolfenbarger became the Air Force’s first female to be promoted to a four-star General (O-10), making her the second four-star General in the history of the military.
- Tania Calderon-Griek becomes the first female (Army, 82nd Airborne Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion) to make it to the final round in the combatives tournament, All American Week.
- Coleman Veterans Memorial (Coleman Michigan) unveils their “Global War on Terror Female Soldier,” the first statue of a female combat soldier.
- Angela M. Maness became the Marine’s first female to become Sergeant Major of Marine Barracks Washington (DC), the “oldest post of the Corps.”
- The Marines open 11 previously closed MOS specialties to women.
- Sarah Deckert becomes the first female (Army) to win the U.S. Armed Forces Chef of the Year competition.
- Women are given a second chance at completing the Marine Corps’ Infantry Officer Course, the same as their male peers, after Sage Santangelo (2nd Lieutenant) called attention to this inequality in an essay published in The Washington Post.
- A directive authorizes 4,100 special operations positions, which were previously “men only,” be opened to women serving in the Regular Army, National Guard and Army Reserve.
- The third week of March was proclaimed Women’s Military History Week by Governor of California, Edmund G. Brown Jr.
- Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh opens 16 engineering MOSs, along with an additional 20,563 additional positions for women.
- The Army reveals its Gender Integration Implementation Plan. For more information, visit https://www.fortgordon.com/gender-integration-implementation/.
- Abby Sapp is the first female to enlist as an Army combat engineer after Secretary of Defense Ash Carter’s announcement opening additional combat roles to women.
- Abril Ramirez becomes the first female (Navy) to wrestle for the All-Navy Sports (ANS) wrestling team.
- Megan A. Brogden becomes the first woman to take command of Special Forces Group Battalion (3rd Special Forces Group)
- The first female (name withheld in accordance with current security policy) is the first to join a military special operations unit (U.S. Army 75th Ranger Regiment).
This timeline is by no means a complete list. Numerous books, including Women in Combat: A Reference Handbook and An Encyclopedia of American Women at War: From the Home Front to the Battlefields enumerate the accomplishments of women throughout the services. They have served proudly and with distinction, from our countries founding, and will continue to do so on into our future.Pinterest