Elizabeth P. Hoisington

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Elizabeth Paschel Hoisington
Elizabeth P. Hoisington.jpg
Hoisington as a Colonel and Director of the Women's Army Corps, circa 1967.
Born (1918-11-03)November 3, 1918
Newton, Kansas
Died August 21, 2007(2007-08-21) (aged 88)
Springfield, Virginia
Buried at Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch United States Department of the Army Seal.svg United States Army
Years of service 1942-1971
Rank US-O7 insignia.svg Brigadier General
Commands held WomensArmyCorpBC.gif Women's Army Corps
Battles/wars World War II
Korean War
Vietnam War
Awards Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit (2)
Bronze Star
Relations Colonel Perry M. Hoisington (grandfather)
Colonel Gregory Hoisington (father)
Major General Perry M. Hoisington II (brother)

Elizabeth Paschel Hoisington (November 3, 1918 – August 21, 2007) was a United States Army officer who was one of the first two women to attain the rank of brigadier general.

Biography[edit]

Born in Newton, Kansas, on November 3, 1918, Elizabeth Hoisington was a 1940 graduate of the College of Notre Dame of Maryland.[1]

During World War II the United States Army expanded opportunities for women beyond nursing by creating the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC).[2]

Elizabeth Hoisington enlisted in the WAACs in November 1942 and completed her basic training at Fort Des Moines, Iowa. At the time, women were required to serve in units before they could apply to Officer Candidate School (OCS), so Private Hoisington went to a WAAC aircraft early warning unit in Bangor, Maine.[3]

The company commander recognized her talents and made her the first sergeant soon after her arrival.

"From Private to First Sergeant, that was my greatest promotion in the Army." ~General Hoisington

She later said that she then sought out the most grizzled male first sergeant she could find and asked him to teach her what she needed to know. She claimed that he did such a good job that when she reached OCS she never had to open a book.[4]

Hoisington was commissioned in May, 1943, as a WAAC third officer. When the auxiliary became the Women's Army Corps (WAC) a month later, its officers changed to standard Army ranks, and Hoisington became a second lieutenant. She deployed to Europe, serving in France after D-Day. Hoisington continued her career after World War II and advanced through the ranks to colonel as she commanded WAC units in Japan, Germany, and France and served in staff assignments in San Francisco and at the Pentagon.[5][6]

She was appointed the seventh director of the Women's Army Corps on August 1, 1965, [7] and served from 1966 to 1971. As director during the Vietnam War she visited WACs serving in Saigon and Long Binh in September, 1967. According to some sources, Hoisington discouraged sending Army women to Vietnam because she believed the controversy would deter progress in expanding the overall role of women in the Army.[8]

Promotion to Brigadier General[edit]

On May 15, 1970, President Nixon announced the first women selected for promotion to brigadier general: Anna Mae Hays, Chief of the Army Nurse Corps, and Hoisington.[9]

On June 11, 1970, the two women were promoted. [10] According to the Army Nurse Corps Association, Hays was the first woman in the United States Armed Forces to wear the insignia of a brigadier general." Hays and Hoisington were promoted on the same day within minutes of each other.[11]

The Hoisington and Hays promotions resulted in positive public relations for the Army, including appearances on the Dick Cavett, David Frost and "Today" shows. Hoisington, who was noted for her quick smile and ebullient personality, also appeared as a mystery guest on the popular game show "What's My Line?"[12][13]

Hoisington retired on August 1, 1971.[14]

Family[edit]

Her grandfather, Colonel Perry Milo Hoisington I, helped to organize the Kansas National Guard. Her father, Gregory Hoisington, was a graduate of West Point and a colonel in the Army. He was a direct descendant of Ebenezer Hoisington, a founder of the state of Vermont and one of the soldiers who served during the American Revolution.[15]

Her brother, Perry Hoisington II, was a United States Air Force general. Elizabeth Hoisington’s 1970 promotion made them the first brother and sister generals in the United States military.[16]

She was survived by a younger brother, Robert, and a sister, Nancy. She never married.[17]

Death and burial[edit]

General Hoisington died in Springfield, Virginia, on August 21, 2007, at the age of 88. She is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Section 6, Site 9239-B.[18]

Decorations[edit]

Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze star
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Gold star
1st Row Army Distinguished Service Medal Legion of Merit w/ Oak Leaf Cluster
2nd Row Bronze Star Medal Army Commendation Medal Women's Army Corps Service Medal
3rd Row American Campaign Medal European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal w/ one service star World War II Victory Medal
4th Row Army of Occupation Medal National Defense Service Medal w/ Oak Leaf Cluster Croix de guerre 1939–1945 (France) w/ Star

References[edit]

  1. ^ Evelyn Monahan, Rosemary Neidel-Greenlee, A Few Good Women, 2010, page 29
  2. ^ M. Michaela Hampf, Release a Man for Combat: The Women's Army Corps During World War II, 2010, page 31
  3. ^ Association of the United States Army, Army magazine, Volume 24, 1974, page 22
  4. ^ Association of the United States Army, Brig. Gen. Elizabeth P. Hoisington Dies, August 23, 2007
  5. ^ Debbie Elliott, Pioneer Soldier: Brig. Gen. Elizabeth Hoisington, August 26, 2007
  6. ^ Bettie J. Morden, Center of Military History, The Women's Army Corps, 1945-1978, 1990, page 217
  7. ^ Associated Press, New WAC Head Acts Like Recruit, The Tuscaloosa News, June 26, 1966
  8. ^ Kay Bailey Hutchison, Leading Ladies: American Trailblazers, 2008, page 34
  9. ^ Associated Press, Nixon Nominates Women to Wear Stars, May 16, 1970
  10. ^ Robert A. Dobkin, Associated Press, 2 Women Generals Win Stars, Schenectady Gazette, June 12, 1970
  11. ^ Associated Press, 2 Women Become Generals, The Spokane Spokesman-Review, June 12, 1970
  12. ^ Matt Schudel, Pioneering Brig. Gen. Elizabeth P. Hoisington, August 24, 2007
  13. ^ "What's My Line", featuring Elizabeth P. Hoisington, at You Tube
  14. ^ New York Times, 1st Woman General Hailed On Retirement From Army, August 1, 1971
  15. ^ Frances Spatz Leighton, 'Work' is Motto of Army's Newest Stars, Pittsburgh Press-Gazette, July 8, 1970
  16. ^ Washington Post, Obituary, Air Force Gen. Perry M. Hoisington II, May 3, 2006
  17. ^ Los Angeles Times, Obituaries; Elizabeth P. Hoisington, 88; Pioneering Brigadier General Led the Women's Army Corps, September 3, 2007
  18. ^ Elizabeth P. Hoisington at Find A Grave

Primary sources[edit]

An obituary in the Washington Post dated November 4, 2007, lists four siblings: Major General Perry M. Hoisington, USAF (Ret.), Lt Col Robert H. Hoisington, USA (Ret.), Mary Jo Maertens and Nancy H. Smith; 18 nieces and nephews, numerous great- and great-great nieces and nephews.

Additional Sources[edit]

External links[edit]