Frieda Hardin

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Frieda Mae Green Hardin
Born(1896-09-22)September 22, 1896
Eden Valley, Minnesota
DiedAugust 9, 2000(2000-08-09) (aged 103)
Livermore, California
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service1918–1920
RankYeoman (F)
Battles/warsWorld War I

Frieda Mae Green Hardin (September 22, 1896 in Eden Valley, Minnesota – August 9, 2000 in Livermore, California) joined the U.S. Navy at the end of World War I in 1918, enlisting, against her parents' wishes, at the age of 22 in Portsmouth, Ohio.

In March 1917, with America's entry into World War I imminent, Navy Secretary Josephus Daniels called on women to enlist in the Naval Reserve to free sailors for combat duty. Hardin joined the Navy at a time when women were still denied the right to vote.

She was among almost 12,000 women who served in the Navy during World War I as clerks, draftsmen, translators, camouflage designers and recruiters, in the rating Yeoman (F), commonly known as "Yeomanettes". She was on active duty from September 1918 to March 1919 at the Norfolk Navy Yard in Virginia. She performed clerical duties, receiving outstanding grades in reading proficiency and perfect marks in obedience and sobriety, the three areas in which the Navy graded women. She remained a teetotaler. By 1920, all the Yeomanettes were released from duty, and women would not be permitted to serve in the Navy again until World War II.

She then moved back to Portsmouth, Ohio and married the first of four husbands, all of whom she outlived. She had three sons and a daughter from this marriage. All three sons served in World War II.

In 1997, wearing a World War I "Yeomanette" uniform and a wide-brimmed hat reading "U.S. Naval Reserve", Hardin attended the October 18, 1997 ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, dedicating the Women in Military Service for America Memorial, honoring the almost 2 million women who had served in the armed forces. She was a featured speaker, along with then-Vice President Al Gore. She donned a neatly pressed Navy uniform and told women in the crowd of 30,000 people to "Carry on! You are doing a wonderful job!"


In 2000 Frieda Hardin died at the Veterans Affairs nursing home in Livermore, California, five weeks shy of her 104th birthday, survived by her huge extended family of children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren. For her services she was interred at Arlington National Cemetery.

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