In honor of Women’s History Month, here are some things you may not know about women in the U.S. military.
1. As of March 2019, Mary Dever of Disabled American Veterans says that according to the Department of Defense, women make up 20 percent of the Air Force, 19 percent of the Navy, 15 percent of the Army and almost 9 percent of the Marine Corps. (via military.com)
2. Women made up about 16 percent of the Coast Guard in 2016. (via datausa.io)
3. TV star Bea Arthur was a truck driver in the Marine Corps during World War II. (via military.com)
4. Abolitionist Harriet Tubman led a Union spy ring during the Civil War. (via military.com)
5. Queen Elizabeth II is the only sitting head of state to have served in World War II, as a mechanic/driver in the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service when she was still a princess. (via military.com)
6. A woman who is eligible for American Legion membership is eligible to join the American Legion Auxiliary regardless of whether or not she is a member of the Legion. (via alaforveterans.org)
7. The only woman to be awarded a Medal of Honor is Mary Edwards Walker, a medical doctor during the Civil War who had to start as a nurse but ultimately became the Army’s first female surgeon. She was also a spy, and a POW. But as a non-combatant, her medal was revoked between 1917 and 1977. (via history.com)
8. A search of “women” in The American Legion’s memorials database yields several memorials dedicated to female military service. (via legion.org/memorials)
9. The first known women to join each service branch were Genevieve and Lucille Baker, and Myrtle Hazard, Coast Guard; Deborah Sampson, Army; Opha May Johnson, Marine Corps; Esther McGowin Blake, Air Force; and Loretta Walsh, Navy. (via military.com)
10. Navy Capt. Rosemary Mariner was one of the first eight women selected to fly military aircraft in 1973, and a year later became the Navy's first female jet pilot. At her graveside service in February 2019, nine female pilots from Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia performed the "missing woman" formation for their predecessor – the first all-female crew to do so. (via We Are The Mighty)
Female Legionnaires, or those who love them, are welcome to contribute to the Legiontown site, at www.legiontown.org, under the new Women Veterans category.