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  • Women In Military Service For America Memorial
    Rican women as members of the Navy Women s Reserve WAVES during World War II One was Maria Rodriguez Denton who was born in Guanica PR in 1909 The Navy assigned LTJG Denton as a library assistant at the Cable and Censorship Office in New York City She forwarded the news through channels that the war had ended to President Harry Truman at the White House 12 Another Puerto Rico native S1C Idalia Salcedo Rodriguez of Naguabo was assigned to the Navy s Bureau of Ships in Washington DC where she was thrilled to march with her unit in honorary parades for ADM Chester W Nimitz and GEN Dwight D Eisenhower at the end of the war 13 The 1950s and 1960s Like their WWII sisters Puerto Rican women continued to volunteer for military service during the 1950s and 1960s a time when a military career was an unusual choice for a woman and women comprised less than 2 percent of the US Armed Forces Military nurses like 1LT Gloria Esparra Petersen of Barranquitas PR continued to be a vital asset to the Army during this period 1LT Petersen served as an Army nurse at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington DC during the Korean War Assigned to the recovery room she worked with soldiers wounded in Korea who had been evacuated to the United States for medical treatment 14 Another nurse LTC Nilda Carrulas Cedero Fuertes joined the ANC in 1953 at the age of 21 Originally from Toa Baja PR she was on active duty until 1964 and then served in the Army Reserve until 1990 LTC Fuertes most memorable experience in the military was teaching the latest modern nursing techniques to Nicaraguan Army Nurses while on temporary duty in Nicaragua for six months 15 Some Puerto Rican Army women opted for non nursing careers WO4 Ana Alicea Diaz served in the Army for 25 years 24 of them in law enforcement The San Juan native said Keeping our troops and families safe was very fulfilling rewarding and an honor 16 CWO3 Rose Franco Marine Corps 1954 58 and 1958 77 Women s Memorial Foundation Register The Marines also enlisted women from the island Rose Franco of Ensenada PR joined the Marine Corps in 1954 The 20 year old private was assigned as a supply administrative assistant at Camp Pendleton CA At the end of her four year enlistment she returned home intending to work for an airline company However Franco missed being a Marine so much that she decided to re enlist before her 90 day reenlistment window was gone She said Although I love my home and Puerto Rico I found that by the 89th day I was so homesick for the Marines that I rushed back to the states and re enlisted for another six year term During the 1960s Franco was selected as the administrative assistant to the Secretary of the Navy and she was stationed at the Pentagon In 1968 at the Secretary s recommendation Franco was appointed as a warrant officer one of only 11 women warrant officers in the Marine Corps at that time She was then assigned as an adjutant and congressional inquiry officer of a staging battalion at Camp Pendleton CWO3 Franco retired in 1977 after 23 years of service 17 SFC Ana Reyes Colon Mackino Women s Army Corps 1964 68 and Army Reserve 1979 Present Women s Memorial Foundation Register New Language and Customs When they join the armed forces Puerto Rican women must learn to adapt to both the military culture and the language and customs of the US mainland often a difficult adjustment Army Reserve SFC Ana M Mackino of Cidra PR wrote My most memorable military experience is without a doubt the day I left home for the Women s Army Corps Training Center at Fort McClellan Alabama on April 22 1964 A Spanish speaking 19 year old I left home for the first time to join a group of about 40 other young girls from all parts of the United States with different accents and customs It took me about 20 hours to travel from the Air Force base in Aguadilla Puerto Rico to Fort McClellan Alabama I will never forget that as the bus driver got to the gate he stopped the bus and said to all of us recruits This is your last chance to turn around and go back home once we go through that gate there is no turning back No one got off the bus When we went into the barracks upstairs to the open bay at the top of the stairs we heard a loud mouth platoon sergeant shout at the top of her lungs Take your shoes off you do not walk on this floor with shoes on It was difficult at first because of the language but I knew right there and then that this was the first day of the beginning of my life 18 Retired Army dietitian COL Merjoery Lott also remembers her transition from island life to Army life She said In 1962 I was a young 21 year old student in the Army Dietetic Internship Program at Brook Army Medical Center Ft Sam Houston Texas Two months into the program the armed forces were placed on alert during the Cuban Missile Crisis This situation was strained by the fact that I had recently left my country of Puerto Rico and was adjusting to a different culture and language A resident of Manati PR COL Lott said In 1966 68 during the troop build up and heavy fighting in Vietnam I was assigned as Chief of the Production and Service Branch Food Service Division at Tripler Army Medical Center Hawaii The hospital was taking in large numbers of casualties from Vietnam for stabilization and subsequent return to CONUS the continental United States The hospital patient capacity was extraordinarily strained resulting in ward overflow and having to bed the overflow in hallways Patient

    Original URL path: http://www.womensmemorial.org/H&C/History/historypr.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Women In Military Service For America Memorial
    academies first admitted women in 1976 more than 300 enrolled at the US Military Academy US Naval Academy US Air Force Academy and the US Coast Guard Academy Male prejudice against women at the academies proved to be their biggest obstacle The schools reconfigured barracks facilities and locker space and adapted some physical education requirements Even though women were still excluded from combat and from serving aboard vessels or aircraft

    Original URL path: http://www.womensmemorial.org/H&C/History/milacad.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Women In Military Service For America Memorial
    thigh during the Battle of Tarrytown in New York To keep her secret safe she treated herself but later she developed a fever and was sent to a hospital where a doctor discovered her gender He told no one but requested a medical discharge for her She married in 1785 and had one son and three daughters In 1792 Sampson Gannett made request to the Massachusetts Legislature for back pay

    Original URL path: http://www.womensmemorial.org/H&C/History/gannett.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Women In Military Service For America Memorial
    diet of hardtack and salt pork She also collected bandages salves medicine bed sheets and even tobacco and whisky to help boost the soldiers morale Because it wasn t proper for a single lady to visit Army camps and hospitals unescorted Clara took her 50 year old married sister Sally Vassall with her on her visits to local military hospitals But Clara wanted to do more she wanted to nurse soldiers who fell on the battlefields For months however her fear that she would shame her family prevented her from trying to get to the front Finally Clara s 80 year old father a veteran of the War of 1812 freed his daughter of her worries On his deathbed he instructed her to go and do what she could to help the wounded The soldiers will know you are a decent woman as soon as they lay eyes on you he said Next Clara had to find an Army sponsor an officer willing to sign the military passes she would need to travel to the battlefield Persistently she visited numerous officers until she finally spoke with COL Daniel H Rucker head of the Quartermaster Depot in Washington DC When Clara told him that she had collected three warehouses of supplies Rucker wrote her a pass allowing her to take the supplies she had collected to the front at Fredericksburg VA She reached Fredericksburg after the battle but was able to assuage much suffering by passing out food medicine and bedding supplies After that Barton never again had trouble getting a military pass During the Battle of Antietam Barton worked in a surgery ward set up in a farmhouse close to the front lines The farmhouse was under fire much of the time Confederate shells burst overhead crashed into the surrounding

    Original URL path: http://www.womensmemorial.org/H&C/History/barton.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Women In Military Service For America Memorial
    them unnecessary This attitude irritated her colleagues and did little to help her in her quest for a commission Dr Mary Walker wearing the Congressional Medal of Honor advocated dress reform for women and frequently adapted men s clothing for professional and personal comfort and utility Finally in early 1864 Walker was appointed a civilian contract surgeon to the 52nd Ohio Volunteers This regiment at winter quarters near Chattanooga TN was desperate for an assistant surgeon the previous one having just died Part of her responsibilities entailed caring for the surrounding civilian population Courageously Walker traveled to wherever she was needed paying little attention to the line between Union and Confederate territory On April 10 she took a wrong road encountered an enemy sentry and immediately surrendered She was imprisoned in Richmond VA at a military prison named Castle Thunder The prison was overcrowded and dirty Many of the inmates were sick but the authorities would not allow Walker to doctor them Most of the food was spoiled and Walker became ill She was released in a POW exchange on Aug 12 1864 As a result of her incarceration she suffered vision problems that later in life prevented her from practicing medicine On her release from prison Walker accepted another position under contract as an Acting Assistant Surgeon with the Army She was assigned to the Louisville TN Female Prison to care for the inmates there The prison housed Confederate women held on suspicion of spying and other anti Union activities Here she quickly annoyed prison officials by trying to help the inmates as much as possible Her attitude did not make her popular with the patients however who disliked Walker simply because she was a woman Women themselves believed that they should not be doctors Fiercely trying to protect

    Original URL path: http://www.womensmemorial.org/H&C/History/walker.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Women In Military Service For America Memorial
    the Surgeon General of the Navy that menopause was not a physical disability Legislation the Women s Armed Service s Integration Act passed Congress in 1948 and was approved and signed by President Truman in July of that year In her autobiography Hancock stated simply The victory was sweet Then LT Joy Bright Hancock christens the destroyer USS Lewis Hancock in New Jersey in 1943 The Hancock was named for her second husband an aviator killed in a dirigible crash within a year of their 1924 marriage Named Joy to offset my father s disappointment that his third child was not a boy when she was born May 4 1898 she witnessed four wars tremendous technological and social advances and later marveled that this could indeed be the same little red headed blue eyed girl who grew up in Wildwood NJ Hancock enlisted in the Navy during World War I at Camden NJ and was one of relatively few women to escape a clerical assignment She served instead as a courier at the Camden shipyard until the navy transferred her to the Naval Air Station at Cape May NJ Always pointing out that Navy women did more than clerical work she wrote in her autobiography As I look back to World War I I need to stress that the more than 10 000 Yeomen F served ably as translators draftsmen fingerprint experts camouflage designers and recruiters Following World War I Hancock briefly worked as a civilian employee of the Navy Bureau of Aeronautics where she edited what became the magazine Naval Aviation News before marrying Her first husband LT Charles Gray Little was killed in the air crash of his zeppelin ZR 2 in 1921 She subsequently married another airship pilot LCDR Lewis Hancock and was widowed again when his

    Original URL path: http://www.womensmemorial.org/H&C/History/hancock.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Women In Military Service For America Memorial
    of the Houston Post Hobby was the mother of two children the wife of former Texas Governor William Hobby and active in national and local political scenes She was also feminine dignified and charismatic a woman who could inspire other women to join the Army and whose demeanor would counteract skepticism fear and negative stereotypes concerning women in the military Oveta Culp Hobby center and her husband with Massachusetts Congresswoman Edith Nourse Rogers in 1942 Rogers introduced the bill creating the WAAC in Congress in 1941 but it received little attention until after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor Rogers had to compromise with her vision that women should be part of the Army and receive equal pay and benefits in order to get the bill passed Hobby granted the rank of colonel addressed the first women s officer candidate class at Ft Des Moines IA with words that would ring through the history of women s military service You are the first women to serve Never forget it You have a debt and a date she told them A debt to democracy a date with destiny In 1943 the Army asked Congress for the authority to convert the WAAC into the Women s Army Corps WAC which would be part of the Army itself rather than merely serving with it The WAC bill was signed into law on July 3 1943 COL Hobby shepherded the WAAC and the WAC through three years of overwhelming exponential growth By 1945 WACs had served around the world filling 239 kinds of jobs The first woman to receive the Distinguished Service Medal on her retirement in 1945 her citation read in part without guidance or precedents in the United States military history to assist her Colonel Hobby established sound policies and planned and

    Original URL path: http://www.womensmemorial.org/H&C/History/hobby.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Women In Military Service For America Memorial
    on appropriate conduct on a coeducational vessel and families informed about shipboard modifications to accommodate women and men working and living together Just as had been the case when the Coast Guard set up its first racially integrated ships companies during World War II the mixed crews quietly settled into a working routine and went about their business with little commotion CAPT Alan Breed commanding officer of the Gallatin acknowledged a year later that some of his male crew members had experienced apprehensions reservations concerns and in some cases frustrations when they were told that women would be joining the ship but he asserted that there have been no major problems to date Today I doubt that there are over two or three who retain such hardcore opposition BMCS Diane Bucci became the first enlisted woman to command afloat when she became officer in charge of the tug CGC Capstan in 1988 When Kelley who now holds the rank of captain took command of the Newhagen the 14 man crew adjusted gracefully Twenty years later she made history again as the first female to command a Coast Guard medium endurance cutter the USCGC Northland She told the press I ve

    Original URL path: http://www.womensmemorial.org/H&C/History/kelley_bucci.html (2016-02-09)
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