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SLIDESHOW: Timeline of Women in the Military

Timeline: Women in the U.S. Military
Timeline: Women in the U.S. Military

With the U.S. military outlining timelines to allow women into combat roles, we take a look back at the history of women in the U.S. military.

 

1775-1783: The Revolutionary War
1775-1783: The Revolutionary War

Women follow their husbands into war, serving as cooks and nurses in military camps. (Source: The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation / Photo Source: Archives of the Capitol)

 

1783: Deborah Sampson
1783: Deborah Sampson

Disguised as a man, Deborah Sampson fights for America’s freedom. Her identity is discovered after she is wounded, leading to an honorable discharged. (Source: Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS) / Photo Source: MHS)

 

1812: War of 1812
1812: War of 1812

During the War of 1812, two women—Mary Marshall and Mary Allen—serve as nurses aboard the USS United States. (Source: The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation/Photo Source: Historical Society of Philadelphia)

 

1865: Civil War
1865: Civil War

Dr. Mary Walker becomes the first woman to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor after her work in the field. (Source: National Library of Medicine (NLM) / Photo Source: NLM)

 

1917: World War I
1917: World War I

Toward the end of World War I, women begin to enlist in the military for the first time and serve in official roles (rather than as civilians). (Source: history.navy.mil / Photo Source: history.navy.mil)

 

1941-1945: World War II
1941-1945: World War II

More than 400,000 women serve in the U.S. military during World War II, working in a variety of roles. (Source: history.navy.mil / Photo Source: National Archives)

 

World War II
World War II

At sea and on land, women serve as doctors and nurses in various branches of the U.S. military. (Source: history.navy.mil / Photo Source: National Archives)

 

World War II
World War II

At bases around the world, women served as mechanics. (Source: history.navy.mil / Photo Source: National Archives)

 

World War II
World War II

Women Air Service Pilots, or WASPs, fly and maintain planes for the Army Air Corps. (Source: history.navy.mil / Photo Source: National Archives)

 

World War II
World War II

Women train air crews in the Army Air Corps. (Source: history.navy.mil / Photo Source: National Archives)

 

1976: Academy Acceptance
1976: Academy Acceptance

In 1976, women are accepted into the U.S. military academies for the first time. (Source: The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation/ Photo Source: U.S. Army)

 

1991: Gulf War
1991: Gulf War

In 1991, women are authorized to fly combat missions in the Persian Gulf War. More than 41,000 women are deployed; two are captured. (Source: The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation / Photo Source: U.S. Air Force)

 

2000: First Female Commander
2000: First Female Commander

In 2000, Captain Kathleen McGrath becomes the first woman to take command of a U.S. Naval vessel when she assumes control of the USS Jarrett. (Source: history.navy.mil / Photo Source: U.S. Navy)

 

2003: Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
2003: Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

Army Specialist Shoshana Johnson (above) becomes the first Black or Hispanic female POW when she is captured in Iraq.  She and her fellow captives, including Private First Class Jessica Lynch, are freed after 22 days in a daring rescue mission by the Marines. (Photo Source: U.S. Marine Corps)

 

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