THE UNTOLD STORIES
Women's miitary roles expand in significance BY BRI BELL

Photo courtesy of U.S. Army.

Women work hard daily to protect our country.

Female representation has come a long way in the United States. From being a housewife and full-time mom as the only option, American women now serve as some of the most highly-trained and decorated soldiers in the military. Since the very beginning, women provided service in the American Revolution as cooks, nurses and supporting characters for ensuring their husbands and other male soldiers were healthy and prepared for frontline duty. Some women even joined the service by disguising themselves as men.

 

 During the Civil War, women were placed in battlefield hospitals playing a key role in the war effort on both sides. Women would often have to cross enemy lines to assist in medical needs for wounded soldiers.  This brought them closer to the face of violence than ever before, which lead to women in World War I placed in higher, official positions. Later, World War II showed women taking on larger roles such as drivers and even pilots.

 

Women played such a vital role that it led to the passing of the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act and recognition from President Harry Truman. They were now able to make careers out of being in the military. In the 1990s, female pilots officially obtained the right to fly combat missions and warplanes. The fight for equality continued as women proved they had the guts and stamina to keep the country safe.  Female soldiers obtain active and reserve status in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force.  Today’s society is a pivotal time for female success in the military.

 

The Army is continuing to implement the Army Gender Integration plan made effective in January 2016 to provide women the opportunity to take position in military occupational specialties. Just this year, more job opportunities in the service have opened for more women than ever before. Three new combat posts for female recruits have become available by the United States Army, including the elite “Screaming Eagles” 101 Airborne. This group is notorious for parachuting into Normandy during World War II, firing first shots in Operation Desert Storm, and regaining control of areas from ISIS in Iraq. With these advancements, women are now training to be Infantry and Armor soldiers.

 

To this day, women make up 15 percent of the U.S. military, according to the Department of Defense. “Women who serve are strong reminders that I never got where I am by myself,” said Army Col. Eva K Calero, in an article from dcmilitary.com. It took strong and determined people who lived their lives the way they did to effect change and provide me with purpose.” Women are a necessary component in the military and will continue to maintain the safety and security of all American citizens.

 

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