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Women Veterans Day: Today We Honor Female Veterans

Today on Women Veterans Day we honor all the female veterans for their sacrifice and commitment to our country. 

Women Veterans Day celebrates the groundbreaking Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAC) legislation, proposed by Massachusetts Representative Edith Nourse Rogers, was signed into law by President Harry S. Truman on June 12, 19481. The WAC allowed women to officially serve as regular and permanent members of the military, however women have found workarounds to serve since the Revolutionary War1.

During the Revolutionary War, Major General Horatio Gates requested female nurses to tend to injured soldiers2. This soon evolved to include women in other traditionally feminine roles such as seamstresses, while some women disguised themselves to illegally participate in combat2.

In the Civil War, women assisted by as nurses, seamstresses, and “Daughters of the Regiment” who rallied troops prior to battles2. It is estimated that “over 400 women secretly enlisted and served as male soldiers.2

During the Spanish-American War, women who served as nurses had to battle the rampant typhoid fever2. Their success and importance was noticed by the Army which then created the Nurses Corps division2.

In World War One, women were tasked with keeping the country running back home while “16% of the male workforce went to war,” assisted in creating the necessary materials to continue fighting, and roughly 25,000 American women between 21 and 69 served overseas.2

The contributions of women during this war lead to the proposal and success of the 19th amendment and was a precursor to the WAC2.

When World War II was on the horizon, the WAC was formed. Thanks to the WAC women were able to “work in military intelligence, cryptography, and parachute rigging” at home while “over 60,000 Army Nurses served around the world…over 1,000 women flew aircraft for the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots; 140,000 women served in the U.S. Army and the Women’s Army Corps.2

According to the PEW Research Center, “from 1973 to 2010 the number of active-duty enlisted women in the military has grown from about 42,000 to 167,000”3.

The significance of this holiday is not lost on U.S. Army Lt. Col. Patricia Richter, Acting Director of the Division of Veterans Services for the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

“Since 1948, women have been part of the armed forces, and unofficially long before that,” said Richter. “The pathway to where we stand today is filled with sacrifices, tenacity and determination of women who didn’t let anything get in their way. As a woman who has navigated the challenges of being in a male-dominated field, I proudly honor all women who came before me.2

Capitol Tech has a long history of military personnel and veterans in its academic and staff ranks. In fact, Capitol Tech is a 2020-2021 Military Friendly® School and in honor of the veterans in our community the university is offering a new tuition discount program to support retired military personnel in addition to our longstanding active duty tuition discounts. The program provides a tuition discount of $100 per credit hour off undergraduate and masters programs and a $50 per credit hour discount off doctoral programs. 

References

  1. Hecht, M. (2020, June 11). NJNG women talk about the meaning of Women Veterans Day. Retrieved from https://www.army.mil/article/236419/njng_women_talk_about_the_meaning_of_women_veterans_day.
  2. Military Benefits. (2020). Women Veterans Day. Retrieved from https://militarybenefits.info/women-veterans-day/#:~:text=This%20is%20the%20largest%20number,women%20veterans%20throughout%20the%20state
  3. Patten, E. & Parker, K. Women in the U.S. Military: Growing Share, Distinctive Profile Retrieved from https://www.pewresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2011/12/women-in-the-military.pdf.