Monthly Archives: March 2022

Women in military service uniforms

Applaud military women who have come so far and empower them to do more

To wrap up Women’s History Month, I thought I would share with you some interesting facts and statistics about women in the military.

Since the Department of Defense lifted the ban on women in combat roles in 2015, integrating women is rising slowly, but more women are serving in leadership roles.

The graph below shows the increase in women in the military across the four branches.

Percentage of women serving in the military from 1975 to 2017.
Courtesy of the Pew Research Center

The Center for a New American Security published in March 2020 breaks down how the branches of military are doing with this integration. I won’t bore you with that information, but you can click the link if you want to read it.

The CNAS article also points out the areas the military is weak in bringing in women, namely Special Operations Forces (Green Berets, Navy SEALs, Marine Raiders, and Air Force Special Tactics). While these units are now open to women, they have integrated none of them as of 2019, although several women are in the selection process.

And now for some fun facts about Women in the Military courtesy of the USO:

  • Female marines did not attend boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina until 1949.
  • President Theodore Roosevelt established the Navy Nurse Corps in 1908 with 20 women.
  • Hundreds of women took part in the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) program during WWII.
  • Commander Maureen A. Farren was the first woman to lead the combat ship USS Mount Vernon in 1998.
  • Coast Guard Seaman Ina J. Toavs was the first woman to receive the Coast Guard Medal in 1979.
  • In 1984, Kristine Holdereid graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy as valedictorian; the first woman to do so.
  • In 2016, Brig. Gen. Diana Holland was the first female West Point Commandant of Cadets.
  • Navy Nurse Joan C. Bynum became the first black female promoted to rank of Captain.
  • Maternity uniforms came about in the 1970s. Before that, a woman could not serve if she was pregnant.
  • And, finally, 54 women graduated from U.S. service academies in 1980 for the first time.

We women have come a long way from the time when we stayed home taking care of the home front. Thank a female service member today!

Until next time,

Vicki

Victoria Terrinoni is the author of “Where You Go, I Will Go: Lessons From a Military Spouse,” available here or by clicking the Shop tab above. Watch for her new book on the Good Chaplain’s Africa deployment coming out in the fall!

The ever-changing plans of military life are infuriating

Tech Sergeant was supposed to deploy very soon, but now that is on hold. I can only imagine what my daughter, Mrs. Tech Sergeant, feels.

I’m sure she is happy and relieved that he is home longer, but he is not off the hook yet, so I’m also sure she is anxious, wondering when the orders will drop.

The Good Chaplain and I experienced these feelings a few times. However, one event will always stand out to me. The Good Chaplain was going to Guam to support Iraqi/Kurdish refugees, but literally at the last minute — I remember we were walking out the door to go to the airport — the Air Force canceled the trip. Grrrr!

I was angry. You’re wondering why I would be mad? I’ll tell you why. Once the Air Force notified the Good Chaplain of the deployment, I started mentally and emotionally preparing for the separation. I started doing more things independently, detaching myself from my dependence on the Good Chaplain.

I tended to do that. I subconsciously pulled back, especially emotionally. The Good Chaplain wanted to spend quality time and” make memories,” but I felt the goodbye was more painful if we grew closer to each other right before he left. I felt that way towards friends during PCS season as well. I was an absolute joy to be around.

Anyway, as we made preparations for the Good Chaplain’s departure, we heard the mission was shutting down shortly after he arrived. So it made no sense for him to go for a few weeks. So the Good Chaplain raised the question, but the deployment people (whoever they are) claimed it would be a hardship on the present chaplain because it extended his deployment by a few weeks. So the Good Chaplain was going.

But then, on the day of departure, as we prepared to go to the airport, the Good Chaplain’s phone rang. The Air Force canceled the deployment. They said it made no sense for the Good Chaplain to go to Guam when the mission was shutting down in two weeks. Duh!

I was angry that we spent so much time preparing physically, emotionally, and mentally for naught at the last minute and canceled for reasons we brought up earlier.

Gotta love the military!

Until next time,

Vicki

My thoughts and prayers go out to the citizens of Ukraine and for our soldiers and allies amassed on the western border, prepared to fight if necessary.

Victoria Terrinoni is the author of “Where You Go, I Will Go: Lessons From a Military Spouse,” available here or by clicking the Shop tab above. Watch for her new book on the Good Chaplain’s Africa deployment coming out in the fall!

Women’s long history of commitment to the U.S. military

Editor’s Note: Information for this article was gathered from this source.

Military spouses know the importance of what they do to support their significant other, but did you know that women have been supporting the United States military since the Revolutionary War?

March is Women’s History Month, so I thought it would be fun to explore women’s role in the military. I hope you find it interesting. And if you know a woman who has made significant strides in the military cause, living or deceased, let me know to include her.

Liberty Bell, a symbol of the Revolutionary War

Women have served in the military since the Revolutionary War. Back then, women followed their soldiers into battle and served vital roles in helping boost morale, mend clothes, helping the wounded, cook, doing laundry, and cleaning cannons. Some women disguised themselves as men to get into the battle. Others took on the dangerous task of spying for the Continental Army. Whatever their role, these women were integral parts of the war effort.

Civil War flags

In the Civil War, almost 20,000 women helped by growing crops, cooking in Army camps, sewing, laundry, and organizing fundraising campaigns. During this time, women’s role as a nurse increased significantly, with 3,000 women serving as nurses for the Union Army. Again, many women disguised themselves as men to fight in the battles on both sides.

The United States established the official Army Nurse Corps in 1901. When World War I broke out, the ANC had 403 nurses, but more than 3,000 American nurses were working in British hospitals in France one year into the war.

However, WWI is also notable because it was the first time women – who did not yet have the right to vote – were allowed to openly serve in the U.S. military.

USO

Women also enlisted in the Navy to replace men sent overseas to fight and served as clerks, telephone and radio operators, and translators. The U.S. Army Signal Corps also enlisted women to work as telephone and switchboard operators. Many of these women worked very close to the front lines in France.

All branches of the U.S. military opened up the ranks to women during World War II with the Women’s Army Corps (WACS), the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPS), the Navy’s Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES), the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve, and the Coast Guard Women’s Reserve (SPARS).

Women Airforce Service Pilots in World War II

Most of the jobs these women did were non-combat such as clerical work, driving vehicles, repairing airplanes, cryptology, radio and telephone operators, rigged parachutes, and test-flying airplanes. And, of course, nurses on the front lines.

Women were officially allowed to serve as permanent members of all branches of the U.S. in 1948 when President Harry S. Truman signed the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act. The act was an important step forward, but it had its limitations. Only 2 percent of each branch could be women, they were not allowed to command men or serve in combat, and if a woman became pregnant, it was an automatic discharge. Black women and men could serve equally in all branches after President Truman issued the Integration of the Armed Forces executive order a month after signing the act allowing women to serve. In 1950, 120,000 women served on active duty when the Korean War broke out.

President Truman signed the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act in 1948.

In 1967 during the Vietnam War, President Lyndon B. Johnson promoted women to general, and in 1972, women were allowed to command units of men. In 1975, pregnancy was no longer an automatic discharge from the military.

Ann Dunwoody, first four-star general in the Army.

Since then, we’ve seen a lot of firsts for women. The first female Navy fighter pilot (Capt. Rosemary Mariner), the first female four-star general in the Army (Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody), the first female rescue swimmer in the Coast Guard (Chief Petty Officer Karen Voorhees), and the first female Silver Star medal recipient (Army Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester) since World War II during the Iraq War.

In 1994, President Bill Clinton allowed women to serve in all positions in the military except direct ground combat. But in 2013, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta lifted the ban on combat roles allowing women to serve in all aspects of the military. As a result, women now make up 16 percent of the enlisted force across the branches and 18 percent of the officer corps.

Throughout the ages, women of the United States have proven to be a substantial force when it comes to protecting the Stars and Stripes.

Until next time,

Vicki

Send me the names and branches of women you know serving/served in the military and at the end of the month I will post a roll call of those names.

Victoria Terrinoni is the author of “Where You Go, I Will Go: Lessons From a Military Spouse,” available here or by clicking the Shop tab above. Watch for her new book on the Good Chaplain’s Africa deployment coming out in the fall!