The Transylvania Times -

Women In The Military


November 11, 2019

In March of 1776, Abigail Adams wrote to her husband, John Adams, “I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors.” While Ms. Adams was writing about her husband’s and other men’s efforts to declare independence, the same sentiment could be applied today to all female veterans.

For most of our history, women were not allowed to participate in combat. That did not stop them from trying.

According to several websites, the first woman to fight for the U.S. was Deborah Sampson, who disguised herself as a male and joined the Continental Army in 1781. She was wounded several times, including a saber cut to her head and gunshot wound to her thigh.

During the ensuing wars, other women disguised themselves as men and more than a few served as spies. Thousands served as nurses, and while they were not on the actual front lines, they were close and their lives were often in jeopardy.

Toward the end of World War I, women were allowed to enlist in the military, where they served as nurses and support personnel. More than 400 nurses died in the line of duty. In World War II, the roles of women expanded as they became pilots, mechanics, ambulance drivers, linguists, weather forecasters, etc. in non-combat roles. During the Vietnam War, more than 7,000 women served, mostly as nurses.

It was not until the early 1990s that Congress authorized women to fly combat missions or serve on combat ships. Since that time their roles have expanded so that women now serve in every capacity as men. Some of those women, including a few high-ranking retired officers, live here in Transylvania.

This month the Veterans Museum of the Carolinas is honoring women in the military with displays and programs. The next two programs will be held on Nov. 14 and 21 at 2 p.m.

Today we honor all who have served in our military and thank them for their efforts. While the vast majority of those who have served have been men, we also should “remember the ladies.”


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