Women in the United States Armed Forces
In history, the first woman soldier in the US armed forces was Massachusetts’ Deborah Sampson. She enlisted in the Continental Army under the name Robert Shurtliff. The woman served three years within the Revolutionary War. She found strategic ways to conceal her real gender to doctors and some colleagues. When her real identity was revealed, then President George Washington still awarded her an honorable discharge. Later on in her life, she gave lectures on her amazing experiences as the first American woman in the military. Thus, she instantly emerged as a women’s rights champion.
Another woman followed suit. In the middle of the 19ty century, another woman disguised as a man to be able to enter the armed forces. It was Sarah Rosetta Wakeman, who enlisted under the name Private Lyons Wakeman. Her complete account as a woman in the Union Army was described in the book ‘An Uncommon Soldier.’
To recap, during the initial years of women in the armed forces in the US, most female soldiers enlisted under male pseudonyms. In 1898, there was apolitical move to recognize women’s rights to serve and be enlisted in the military. Bu it was only in 1941 that the Woman’s Army Auxiliary Corps was founded in the country. Political moves and calls to give women equal rights in the military ensued. In 1943, legislation was finally passed to remove the ‘auxiliary’ word from the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps. Thus, women were finally made a significant part of the US military. Women soldiers took great responsibilities in the battle in the World War that followed. About 350,000 women served in the American military during World War II.
In 1989, the first woman soldier was assigned to finally command American soldiers in an actual military battle. It was the invasion of Panama. The woman was tasked to lead a force that consisted of 30 men and women. Then, the Gulf War in 1991 served as a pivotal period for women’s role in the US Armed Forces. This time, women soldiers were fully commanding attention of the world. There were numerous women in the military. Up to 40,000 women have been serving in almost each role offered by the military.
Many came under fire, but still a number of them were not allowed to take part in the most deliberate ground engagements. But now, American women soldiers are obviously in full swing.
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