Timeline of women in warfare and the military in the United States since 2000

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This article lists events involving women in warfare and the military in the United States since 2000.

MG Barbara Fast, Army, (Ret.)
PVT Lynndie England, Army in one of the photos from the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse scandal
SPC Sabrina Harman, Army posing over the body of Manadel al-Jamadi, an Iraqi prisoner who was tortured to death in United States custody during interrogation at Abu Ghraib prison in November 2003
MG Lee Price, Army (Ret.)
BG Tammy Smith, Army (right) and her wife Tracey Hepner.


  • Spring: The first woman commands a U.S. Navy warship at sea (Kathleen McGrath.) The vessel is assigned to the Persian Gulf.[1][2]
  • 1 June: Deborah Walsh became the first woman in the U.S. Coast Guard promoted to Chief Warrant officer in Aviation Engineering (AVI).[3]
  • 1 July: Regina Mills became the U.S. Navy's first female Aviation Deck LDO.[4]
  • July: Lucille "Pam" Thompson became the first African-American woman to serve as a U.S. Coast Guard Special Agent. She served in this capacity until July 2004.[3]
  • The U.S. Air Force promoted the first female pilot to brigadier general.[1]
  • U.S. Navy women are among the victims when the USS Cole is attacked by a suicide bomber in Yemen.[1]
  • The Women at Sea (WAS) Distribution and Assignment Working Group was established in the U.S. Navy.[5]
  • The Army National Guard promoted the first woman to major general.[1]
  • First woman in the U.S. Coast Guard promoted to RADM: Mary P O'Donnell.[3]
  • First woman in the U.S. Coast Guard promoted to Reserve RADM: Mary P. O'Donnell, USCGR.[3]
  • First African-American woman in the U.S. Coast Guard promoted to Master Chief Petty Officer: Angela McShan.[3]
  • Eleanor Mariano became the first Filipino-American woman to be promoted to Rear Admiral in the Navy.[6]


  • Spring: Coral Wong Pietch became the first woman Army Judge Advocates General (JAG), and the first Asian-American woman to reach the rank of General in the United States Army.[7]
  • 11 September: During the 9/11 terror attacks, U.S combat pilots Lt. Col. Marc H. Sasseville and Lt. Heather "Lucky" Penney-García are ordered to bring down the hijacked airliner United Airlines Flight 93 by ramming their F-16s into it. The plane crashes in Pennsylvania before they can do so, however.[8] Furthermore, in the attack at the Pentagon ten active duty, reserve, and retired servicewomen were among the casualties. Servicewomen were activated and deployed in support of the war on terrorism.[1]
  • An Air National Guard security force woman becomes the first woman to complete the U.S. counter-sniper course, the only U.S. military sniper program open to women at the time.[1]
  • The US Army Women's Museum opens at Ft. Lee, Virginia.[1]
  • Susan Woo becomes the first female West Point cadet to win an East/West Center Scholarship.[9]
  • Kimberly Pienkowski becomes the first female West Point cadet to win a first team all-America in air rifle.[9]
  • COL Ann Horner becomes the first female Garrison Commander at West Point.[9]
  • CDR Sharon Donald-Baynes became the first African-American woman to command an operations ashore unit in the U.S. Coast Guard when she took command of Group Lower Mississippi River based in Memphis, Tennessee.[3]
  • ENS Andrea Parker became the first black woman to graduate with an engineering degree from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.[3]
  • CAPT Norma Hackney became the first woman in the U.S. Navy to have a major combatant command afloat, USS SAIPAN (LHA 2).[5]
  • CMDCM Evelyn Banks became the first female Command Master Chief of an Airwing in the U.S. Navy, CVW-14.[5]


  • March: Vernice Armour becomes the first African-American female combat pilot in the United States military.[10] She flew the AH-1W SuperCobra attack helicopter in the 2003 invasion of Iraq and eventually served two tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.[11]
  • June: CAPT Jane M. Hartley, USCGR, was designated as the Commanding Officer of Marine Safety Office Wilmington, North Carolina and as such became the first woman in the U.S. Coast Guard to become Captain of the Port.[3]
  • October: Diane E. Beaver lawyer and former officer in the United States Army.[12] drafted a legal opinion Judge Advocate General Corps advocating for the legality of harsh interrogation techniques that were being proposed for use at Guantanamo, including[13][14][15] waterboarding; exposure to extremes of temperature; the use of non-injurious physical contact; and "scenarios designed to convince the detainee that death or severely painful consequences are imminent for him and/or his family." She also advised that Category II and III methods (the harshest) "undergo a legal review prior to their commencement".[16]
  • 29 October: Rear Admiral Annette E. Brown, USN assumed duties as Commander, Navy Region Southeast on 29 October 2002.[17] Brown was the first woman to command Navy Region Southeast.[17]
  • Lieutenant Junior Grade Angelina Hidalgo, USCG became the second Hispanic-American female to command an afloat unit.[18]
  • An enlisted female U.S. Marine (Sergeant Jeannette L. Winters) is killed in an aircraft crash in Pakistan, the first woman to die in the Global War on Terror (specifically Operation Enduring Freedom).[1][19]
  • The U.S. Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) is issued a new charter narrowing its focus to issues pertaining to military families, recruitment, readiness and retention. A retired Marine three-star general is appointed chairman of the new, downsized advisory committee.[1]
  • For the first time in its history, the U.S. Army National Guard promotes an African-American woman to the rank of brigadier general.[citation needed]
  • For the first time in US history, a woman becomes the top enlisted advisor in one of the military components. She is sworn in as the Command Sergeant Major of the US Army Reserve.[1]
  • Jeannie Huh becomes the first female West Point cadet to win a Mitchell Scholarship.[9]
  • Lauren Rowe becomes the first West Point cadet to win Patriot League "Defensive Player of the Year" award in women's soccer and only the second to win regional first-team all-America recognition.[9]
  • Then-CDR Gail Kulisch took command of the Atlantic Strike Team, becoming the first female commanding officer of a Strike Team in the U.S. Coast Guard.[3]
  • Cadet 1/c Sarah Salazar became the first Hispanic female Regimental Commander at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.[3]
  • CAPT Deborah Loewer became the first female SWO (1110) to be selected for flag officer in the U.S. Navy.[5]
  • MIDN 1/C Emelia Spencer became the first woman from the U.S. Naval Academy to be selected as a Rhodes Scholar.[5]
  • CMDCM Jacqueline DiRosa became the first female Force Master Chief in the U.S. Navy (Bureau of Medicine and Surgery – BUMED).[5]
  • Sheryl Gordon became the Alabama National Guard's first female general officer.[20]


  • January: 2003 US Air Force Academy sexual assault scandal emerges.[21]
  • January–February: Susan Livingstone became the first female Acting U.S. Secretary of the Navy.[citation needed]
  • March: PFC Jessica Lynch, USA, is embroiled in a controversy over differing accounts of her capture and rescue in Iraq.[22][23][24][25][26][27]
  • March: Shoshana Johnson becomes the first black female prisoner of war in United States history.[28]
  • 23 March:[29] SPC Lori Piestewa, USA, is killed in action. She is the first woman soldier to be killed in action in the 2003 Iraq Conflict,[30] and the first Native American woman to be killed in action while serving in the United States Military.[31]
  • 7 April: Capt Kim Campbell, USAF, gains favorable notice when she successfully pilots her aircraft back to base despite extensive damage in a combat mission.[32][33]
  • October, RDML Deborah Loewer, SWO, became the first warfare qualified woman promoted to flag rank in the U.S. Navy.[5]
  • 15 September: SPC Alyssa Peterson, United States Army, died a "non-hostile weapons discharge" at the Tal Afar airbase on the Syrian-Iraqi frontier. Subsequent investigation revealed that she had been placed under suicide watch after refusing further participation in interrogation sessions which she said constituted torture of Iraqi prisoners.[34]
  • 2 November: SPC Frances M. Vega, United States Army, was killed as a surface-to-air missile was fired by insurgents in Al Fallujah and it hit the U.S. Chinook helicopter that she was in. She was one of 16 soldiers who lost their lives in the crash that followed.[35]
  • December: U.S. Coast Guard helicopter pilot LCDR Sidonie Bosin was recognized by the First Flight Centennial Commission's 100 Heroes Committee (formed for the commemoration of the Wright Brothers first powered flight) as being one of the "top 100 aviators of all time." She was also the first female aviation officer in charge of air crews deployed to the Coast Guard cutter Polar Sea in the Antarctic, including one of an all-female flight crew.[3]
  • Kayla Williams, United States Army, was deployed to Iraq. She later wrote about her experiences in her book, Love My Rifle More Than You.[36]
  • Mary L. Walker, the General Counsel of the Air Force, gained notoriety for her role in a 2003 review by the United States Department of Defense of the so-called Torture Memos.[37][38][39][40][41][42]
  • The U.S Marine Corps Logistics Base's first female brown belt instructor was certified (Cpl. Theresa Barnes).[43]
  • First active-duty women in the U.S. Coast Guard to serve in a combat zone: when CGC Boutwell served in the Persian Gulf in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom from January 2003 to June 2003.[3]
  • LT Holly Harrison became the first U.S. Coast Guard woman to command a cutter in a combat zone. She was also the first Coast Guard woman to be awarded the Bronze Star Medal.[3]
  • Rear Admiral Carol I. Turner became the first female Chief of the U.S. Navy Dental Corps.[44][45]
  • Sarah Schechter became the first female rabbi in the U.S. Air Force.[46][47]
  • Air Force Academy removed its sign stating "Bring Me Men".[48] In 2004 they replaced it with a sign stating "Integrity First. Service Before Self. Excellence In All We Do," which is the Air Force's statement of core values.[48]
  • The U.S. Navy opens Sea Operational Detachments (SEAOPDETS) to women.[5]
  • CMDCM Beth Lambert became the first female Command Master Chief of an Aircraft Carrier in the U.S. Navy, USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN 71).[5]
  • CMDCM Evelyn Banks became the first female CNOCM of U.S. Navy Recruiting.[5]


  • 2 January: CPT Kimberly Hampton, USA, becomes the first female military pilot to be shot down and killed by an enemy in United States history.[49][50][51]
  • 9 April: SPC Michelle Witmer is killed in Baghdad. She is the first woman from the United States National Guard to be killed in action in history.[52] Her sister was subsequently removed from action by the military, citing the risk that enemy forces might target her in an effort to harm U.S. morale.[53]
  • 13 August: MGySgt. Abigail D. Olmos, support equipment asset manager, became the first female Master Gunnery Sergeant in her field.[54][55]
  • 25 August: Publication of the Fay Report on Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse .[56] Major General Barbara Fast, United States Army, the senior military intelligence officer serving in Iraq during the period of time when the abuses occurred, was exonerated of any wrongdoing. She also received praise for improving intelligence collection efforts when the Iraqi insurgency was growing in the summer of 2003, and changes she put in place "improved the intelligence process and saved the lives of coalition forces and Iraqi civilians," according to Army Maj. Gen. George Fay.[57]
  • September: Brig Gen Dana H. Born, USAF, becomes the dean of faculty at the United States Air Force Academy. She is the first woman to hold that position.[58][59]
  • 30 October: SPC Megan Ambuhl, USA, is convicted of dereliction of duty at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq in relation to detainee abuse.[60][61]
  • 12 November: MAJ Tammy Duckworth, USA, loses both legs when the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter she was co-piloting was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade fired by Iraqi insurgents.[62][63] This makes her the first female double amputee from the Iraq war.[64]
  • Katie MacFarlane graduates West Point as the Patriot League's all-time leading rebounder in both men's and women's basketball and is the Army women's basketball record-holder in scoring, rebounding and field goals.[9]
  • BG Rebecca S. Halstead (USMA '81) becomes the first female West Point graduate to attain the rank of general officer. Before the end of the year, BG Anne Macdonald (USMA '80) becomes a second.[9]
  • Michelle Weinbaum, a West Point cadet, becomes the first fencer in the 72-year history of the Intercollegiate Women's Fencing Association to win three consecutive invitational titles.[9]
  • Master Sergeant Lisa Girman, United States Army, as well as other members of the Army, received discharges for misconduct for allegedly mistreating Iraqi prisoners. Their discharges were eventually reversed and the allegations misconduct were cleared. Another soldier, Shawna Edmondson, agreed to an "other-than-honorable" discharge in exchange for dismissal of criminal charges[65]
  • The Commanding Officer billet aboard Patrol Coastal (PC) ships was opened to female officers in the U.S. Navy.[5]
  • The first woman in US Air Force history takes command of a fighter squadron.[1]
  • Then-CDR Meredith Austin of the U.S. Coast Guard took command of the National Strike Force Coordination Center, becoming the first female commanding officer of the Center.[3]
  • YNC Crystal A. Sparks of the U.S. Coast Guard became the first female Company Commander School Chief at TRACEN Petaluma.[3]
  • LCDR Rhonda Fleming-Makell was the first African-American female U.S. Coast Guard officer to earn a 20-year retirement.[3]
  • YNCM Pamela J. Carter was the first female active duty master chief petty officer in the U.S. Coast Guard to retire with 30 years of active-duty service when she retired on 1 June 2004.[3]
  • First female commanding officer of the U.S. Coast Guard Institute: Theresa Tierney, August 2004.[3]
  • Wendi Carpenter became the U.S. Navy’s first female aviator admiral.[66]
  • LCDR Louvenia A. McMillan became the U.S. Coast Guard's first African American female Intelligence Officer and the first African American female Field Intelligence Support Team Leader.[3]
  • Jill Morgenthaler, a retired U.S. Army Reserve Colonel, handles press duties for the army, including the Abu Ghraib scandal.[67][68][69]
  • First Lieutenant Melissa Stockwell, a U.S. Army officer, becomes the first American female soldier to lose a limb in the Iraq War.[70]
  • American Iraq veterans Kelly Dougherty and Diana Morrison co-found Iraq Veterans Against the War with other veterans.[71][72]
  • By year’s end, 19 U.S. servicewomen had been killed as a result of hostile action since the war in Iraq had begun in 2003, the most servicewomen to die as a result of hostile action in any war that the nation had participated in.[1]
  • Daniella Kolodny became the first female rabbi enlisted in the U.S. Naval Academy.[73][74]
  • Sergeant Lacey, a military interrogator in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba, was implicated in FBI reports to the Department of Defense, alleging that she had been observed inflicting abuse on her interrogation subjects.[75]



  • March:[104] Public debut of Maj Nicole Malachowski, USAF, the first woman pilot selected to fly as part of the Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron (Thunderbirds), and the first woman on any US military high performance jet team. She was selected in 2005.[1][105]
  • 13 March: Capt. Elizabeth A. Okoreeh-Baah, USMC, became the first female MV-22 Osprey pilot.[106]
  • August: Vice Admiral Nancy Elizabeth Brown assumed duties as the Director, Command, Control, Communications and Computer Systems (C4 Systems), The Joint Staff.[107]
  • On 2 August 2006, Angela Salinas became the first Hispanic woman to become a United States Marine Corps general officer, and the sixth woman in the Marine Corps to reach the rank of brigadier general.[citation needed]
  • September: Major Jill Metzger, USAF disappears for three days in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Although initially accused of going AWOL, she was cleared of the charges when it was confirmed that she was kidnapped.[108]
  • 8 September: SFC Meredith Howard, USA, is killed in action in Afghanistan. At age 52, she is the oldest American female soldier to be killed in combat.[109]
  • 12 September: Second lieutenant Emily Perez is killed in Iraq. She was the Command Sergeant Major in the history of the United States Military Academy at West Point. She was the first female graduate of West Point to die in Iraq.[108]
  • October: MG Gale Pollock, RN, CRNA, BSN, became acting Surgeon General of the United States Army for nine months following 20 March 2007 retirement of her predecessor, Kevin C. Kiley, due to fallout from the Walter Reed Army Medical Center neglect scandal.[110] She is the first woman and the first non-physician to hold the position.[111] During her tenure, she received criticism in a brewing scandal involving personality disorder discharges from the military.[112]
  • December: The number of American servicewomen killed in Iraq and Afghanistan reaches 70, more than the total from the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and Operation Desert Storm. The 70 women represent less than two percent of the American deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan.[113]
  • December: Margaret D. Klein, USN, becomes the first female Commandant of Midshipmen at the United States Naval Academy.[114]
  • 6 December: Maj Megan McClung, USMC, became the first female Marine officer to die in Iraq.[115] Her death also made her the first female graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy to be killed in the line of duty.[116]
  • 12 December: Major Gloria D. Davis, United States Army, was found dead from a gunshot wound, one day after allegedly confessing to financial improprieties. Her death was ruled a suicide, however, this is disputed.[117][118][119][120] The gunshot wound to her head was in her left temple, but she was right-handed.[117]
  • The U.S. Coast Guard appoints the first female Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard, making her the first woman in history to serve as a deputy service chief in any of the U.S. Armed Forces.[1]
  • Judith Keene became the first female Commandant of Cadets at the United States Coast Guard Academy. During her tenure, she had to deal with a court martial in which cadets testified that sexual assault issues at the academy were not taken seriously.[121][122]
  • The U.S. Marine Corps assigns the first female Marine in history to command a Recruit Depot.[1]
  • CWO3 Mary Ward became the first female warrant boatswain to command a U.S. Coast Guard station when she took command of Station Port Canaveral in 2006 where she served until her retirement on 16 June 2006.[3]
  • CWO2 Apple G. Pryor, assigned as the Main Propulsion Assistant on board the CGC Boutwell, was the first African-American female Naval Engineering Chief Warrant Officer of the U.S. Coast Guard.[3]
  • LT Isabel Papp was the first female medical officer to be assigned to a PSU in the U.S. Coast Guard. She was also the first Hispanic female MD to be assigned to a PSU and was also the first Hispanic female Physician's Assistant in the Coast Guard Reserve.[3]
  • LT Rachel Lewis was the first African-American female officer in the U.S. Coast Guard to serve aboard USCGB Eagle as Command Cadre (Operations Officer), 2006–2008.[3]
  • Chief of Naval Operations-directed Command Master Chief (SW/AW) FLTCM Jacqueline DiRosa assumed duties as Fleet Master Chief, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, on 17 July 2006, making her the first U.S. woman to hold the office of a fleet-level master chief.[5][123]
  • CAPT Cindy Talbert became the first female LDO to obtain the rank of Captain in the U.S. Navy.[5]
  • HTCS(SW)Tanya DelPriore became the first female selected as a Command Senior Chief in the U.S. Navy.[5]
  • CMDCM April Beldo became the first female Command Master Chief of Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes in the U.S. Navy.[5]
  • MC1 Jackey Bratt became the first female Combat Photographer to be awarded the Bronze Star in the U.S. Navy.[5]
  • CDR Lenora C.Langlais became the first African American U.S. Navy Nurse Corps Officer to receive a Purple Heart in combat, during Operation Iraqi Freedom.[citation needed]
  • Maritza Sáenz Ryan became the first woman and first Hispanic (Puerto Rican and Spanish heritage) West Point graduate to serve as an academic department head at West Point. In 2006, after accepting the presidential nomination and being confirmed by Congress, Sáenz Ryan was named head of the Department of Law at West Point. She replaced former head Finnegan, who left to become the academy’s Dean of the Academic Board.[citation needed]
  • Sue C. Payton became United States Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Acquisition).[124]


  • February: Kimberly Rivera, formerly United States Army, went AWOL and fled to Canada.[125] She was the first female U.S. military deserter to flee to Canada.[126]
  • Spring: Spc Sorimar Perez and Spc Amanda Landers become the first women in the history of the United States military to become Avenger crewmembers. The positions were restricted to males until October 2006.[127]
  • April: Monica Lin Brown, Specialist in the United States Army stationed in Afghanistan, saves the lives of her fellow soldiers by running through gunfire and using her body as a shield while mortars fell nearby. She earned a Silver Star medal for her actions.[128][129]
  • 10 July: Captain María Inés Ortiz, U.S. Army, becomes the first Puerto Rican nurse to die in combat and first Army nurse to die in combat since the Vietnam War.[130]
  • 21 September: Lori J. Robinson became the first Air Battle Manager and first woman 552nd ACW commander to be frocked to brigadier general while stationed at Tinker AFB, Oklahoma.[131]
  • 25 September: AMT2 Katrina Cooley became the first African-American female HH-65 Flight Mechanic in the U.S. Coast Guard.[3]
  • 28 September: Ciara Durkin, a member of the Massachusetts National Guard, while deployed in Afghanistan. Her death is ruled a suicide but her family disputes this.[132] Her death is ruled a suicide, but her family disputes this.[133] She was a lesbian and the first known LGBT soldier to die in Iraq or Afghanistan.[134]
  • December: RADM Elizabeth Hight, USN, became Vice Director of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA).[107]
  • Sara A. Joyner became the first woman in the U.S. Navy to assume command of an operational fighter squadron.[135]
  • HTCS(SW) Tanya DelPriore became the first woman in the U.S. Navy to be awarded the Expeditionary Warfare Pin.[5]
  • CMDCM Evelyn Banks became the first female Command Master Chief of the U.S. Naval Academy.[5]
  • NCCS(SW/AW) Cynthia Patterson became the first female Command Senior Chief of a Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) in the U.S. Navy – USS INDEPENDENCE, LCS 2 BLUE.[5]
  • CMDCM Laura Martinez became the first African American female Force Master Chief of Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) in the U.S. Navy.[5]
  • Lana Hicks was the first African American woman selected to the ranks of CWO5 in the U.S. Navy.[5]
  • Mary Cunningham became the first African-American female and the first active-duty female in the U.S. Coast Guard to make Chief Damage Controlman when she was promoted from DC1 to DCC on 1 August 2007.[3]
  • Martha E. Utley became the first female master chief for the Health Services rating in the U.S. Coast Guard.[3]
  • The first woman in US Naval history took command of a fighter squadron.[1]
  • U.S. Spec. Jamiell Goforth became the first female soldier to win the Forces Command Soldier of the Year competition.[136]
  • The Service Women's Action Network was established in 2007 to provide U.S. female veterans with resources and community support to help them heal their wounds and readjust to civilian society. SWAN has since become a 501(c)3 human rights organization providing national policy advocacy and direct services to U.S. servicewomen and female veterans.[137]
  • LCDR Louvenia A. McMillan became the U.S. Coast Guard's first African-American woman to hold the Advanced Boat Force Operations Insignia.[3]



  • January: Kim Rivera, the first female soldier to flee the U.S. military for Canada, is deported back to the United States after losing her appeal in Canadian court.[153]
  • 20 February: Lt. Col. Brenda Cartier becomes the first female flying squadron commander in the United States Air Force Special Operations Command.[154]
  • 15 April: "The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women Serving in Iraq" is published. It consists of forty interviews of female veterans discussing their experiences of rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment by their male counterparts.[146]
  • 20 November: Lee Price became the first female program executive officer in the United States Army.[155]
  • September: The United States Army makes Command Sgt. Maj. Teresa King the first woman to oversee drill sergeant training in its 235-year history.[156]
  • October: Eleanor Valentin became the first female flag officer to serve as director of the United States Navy Medical Service Corps.[157][158]
  • 24 November: Jene Newsome is outed as a lesbian by Rapid City Police Department after they saw an Iowa marriage license on her kitchen table. She was honorably discharged under Don't Ask, Don't Tell. This raised controversy about the policy.[159]
  • CMDCM(AW/SW) JoAnn Ortloff became the first female Operational (numbered) Fleet Command Master Chief in the U.S. Navy, when assigned to COMTHIRDFLT.[5]
  • LT Felicia Thomas took command of the CGC Pea Island on 19 June 2009. She is the first African-American female commanding officer of a U.S. Coast Guard cutter.[3]
  • LT Carrie Wolfe and LT Olivia Grant became the first African-American female Engineering Officers on a "major" cutter in the U.S. Coast Guard when they reported aboard the CGC Spencer and CGC Venturous respectively in the summer of 2009.[3]
  • CAPT Sandra L. Stosz was promoted to RADM, becoming the first female graduate of the Coast Guard Academy to reach flag rank.[3]
  • First Lt. Roslyn L. Schulte became the first female U.S. Air Force Academy graduate to be killed by enemy forces in Afghanistan or Iraq. She died near Kabul, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered in a roadside bomb attack.[160]
  • Colonel Maria T. Zumwalt became the first female Army officer to Command an Infantry Brigade during combat operations. As the senior Battalion Commander in the Brigade, she was place on orders by the First Cavalry Division Commander Major General Daniel P. Bolger, in Command of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division (Iraq) during a long absence of the Brigade Commander.[citation needed]
  • Statistics from the U.S. Defense Department state that one in 10 U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan are female, and more women have fought and died in the Iraq war than any since World War II.[146]


  • 14 January - BG Colleen L. McGuire assumed command as the Commanding General of the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command and the 13th Provost Marshal General, the first woman to hold either position.[161]
  • 23 January - Captain Holly Graf, USN, was relieved of command of USS Cowpens by Rear Admiral Kevin Donegan, commander of Carrier Strike Group Five, as non-judicial punishment stemming from an admiral's mast. The punishment followed an investigation which verified allegations of cruelty and maltreatment of her crew, and conduct unbecoming an officer.[162][163][164]
  • February - The Secretary of Defense signed a letter notifying Congress that the U.S. Submarine Forces were being opened to women.[5]
  • March - The DoD announced that RADM Carol M. Pottenger was nominated for appointment to the rank of VADM and an assignment as Deputy Chief of Staff for Capability Development, Supreme Allied Command Transformation, in Norfolk, VA. She will be the first female SWO 3-star Admiral in the U.S. Navy.[5]
  • 5 March - Jackalyne Pfannenstiel became Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Installations and Environment).[165]
  • 9 April - LTJG La'Shanda Holmes became the first African-American female helicopter pilot in the U.S. Coast Guard.[3]
  • 29 April - The Department of the Navy announced authorization of a policy change allowing women to begin serving onboard U.S. Navy submarines.[166][167] The new policy and plan is set to begin with the integration of female Officers. A group of up to 24 female Officers (three Officers on each of eight different crews)[167] are scheduled to enter the standard nuclear submarine training pipeline in July 2010[168] – and expected to report to submarine duty by late 2011 or early 2012.[167] Integration of Enlisted females into submarine crews is expected to begin soon thereafter.[168][169]
  • June - Engineman 1st Class (SW) Isa Grace became the first enlisted woman in the U.S. Navy to qualify as Engineering Officer of the Watch (EOOW) aboard the USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19).[5]
  • 1 June - Martha E. Utley became the first woman to serve as Command Master Chief for the U.S. Coast Guard HSWL service center.[170]
  • July - The United States Department of Veterans Affairs increases its gender-specific services by 21 percent.[171]
  • 29 July - Nora W. Tyson began serving as the commander of Carrier Strike Group Two (CCSG2). Tyson was the first female commander of a U.S. Navy Carrier Strike Group.[172]
  • 14 October - Command Sgt. Maj. Donna A. Brock, United States Army, retired. At the time of her retirement, she held the distinction of being the Army’s longest serving enlisted female Soldier still on active duty.[173]
  • Ifong Lee became the first Samoan CWO2 in the U.S. Coast Guard.[170]
  • CWO2 Rosie McNeill became the first female ISS warrant officer in the U.S. Coast Guard.[3]
  • Rear Adm. Margaret Kibben became the first female chaplain of the U.S. Marine Corps.[174]
  • Ali Thompson becomes the first female U.S. Marine pilot to command a squadron. Lt. Col. Ali Thompson, a CH-53E pilot, took command of HMH-464 on board MCAS New River, NC, relieving Lt Col Richard Rush.[175]
  • U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Nora Tyson became the first woman to command a carrier strike group.[176]
  • For the first time, all four of the U.S. Navy's sailors of the year are women. They are: Pacific Fleet Sailor of the Year – Operations Specialist 1st Class (SW) Samira McBride, assigned to the destroyer Lassen; Fleet Forces Sailor of the Year – Hospital Corpsman 1st Class (SW/AW) Ingrid J. Cortez, amphibious assault ship Bataan; Reserve Sailor of the Year – HM1 Shalanda Brewer, Navy Expeditionary Medical Unit 10; CNO Shore Sailor of the Year – Cryptologic Technician (Technical) 1st Class (SW) Cassandra Foote, Center for Information Dominance Learning Site, Pensacola, Fla.[177]
  • In 2010 Sgt. Sherri Gallagher became the first woman to win the title of Soldier of the Year at the Best Warrior Competition.[178]
  • Native American Women Warriors (NAWW), America's first all-female, all-Native American color guard, was founded in 2010.[179]


  • 1 March: Kristin Werner became the first female Chief Gunner's Mate in the U.S. Coast Guard.[3]
  • June: RDML Gretchen S. Herbert, USN, assumed command of Navy Cyber Forces at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, Virginia Beach, Virginia.[180]
  • 3 June: RADM Sandra Stosz assumed command of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, becoming the first woman superintendent of that institution, and the first woman to command any U.S. service academy.[3][181]
  • 4 June: Heidi Shyu became United States Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology.[182][183]
  • On 16 December 2011, 24-year-old Justine Sacco became the first woman to assume command of Delta FSC, 26th Brigade Support Battalion, forward support company of 1st Squadron, 33rd Cavalry 3rd Brigade Combat Team at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.[184]
  • President Barack Obama named Brenda Sue Fulton to the Board of Visitors of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, making her the first openly gay or lesbian person to serve there.She is the executive director and co-founder of Knights Out, an organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered West Point graduates and their supporters, and a founding member of OutServe.[185]
  • Air Force Major General Margaret Woodward, 51, becomes the first American woman to lead a combat air campaign. She directs the airstrikes over Libya for 11 days, until NATO takes over.[186]
  • The first all-female U.S. Air Force combat mission is flown by Maj. Christine Mau, Maj. Tracy Schmidt, Capt. Leigh Larkin, and Capt. Jennifer Morton, called the "Strike Eagles of 'Dudette 07'." They fly two F-15E jets in a sortie over Afghanistan.[187][188]
  • Capt. Donna Cottrell becomes the first female commanding officer of the U.S. Coast Guard’s one-of-a-kind tactical drug interdiction helicopter squadron.[189]
  • Brigadier General Loretta Reynolds becomes the first female commander at Parris Island.[190] Furthermore, while serving a yearlong tour of duty with the group at Camp Leatherneck Afghanistan, Reynolds became the "first female Marine to command battle space," according to the website for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.[191] She was the first woman in the Marine Corps to command units in a war zone.[192]
  • For the first time, four sisters from the same family (the Robillards) graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy.[193]
  • Julie Bentz became the first female brigadier general in the American National Guard.[194]
  • Marcia M. Anderson became the first African-American woman to achieve the rank of major general in the United States Army Reserve.[195]
  • Jessica Ray became the first female Avenger master gunner in the U.S. army.[196]
  • Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho became the first female U.S. Army surgeon general.[197]
  • The U.S National Guard began using female engagement teams in 2011.[149]
  • A group of women from Port Hueneme became the first all-female team in Seabees history to take on and complete a construction project.[198]
  • The USS Constitution announces the selection of Senior Chief Aviation Maintenance Administrationman (AW/SW) Roxanne Rhoades, making her the first woman to serve as the Command Senior Chief onboard Old Ironsides.[5]
  • Margaret W. Burcham became the first woman to command a U.S. Corps of Engineers division when she took command of the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division located in Cincinnati, OH. The division consists of seven engineer districts that include over 4800 personnel operating in a 17 state region with the responsibility for the federal water resource development throughout the Great Lakes and Ohio River basins.[199]
  • The first group of U.S. female submariners completed nuclear power school and officially reported on board two ballistic and two guided missile submarines in November 2011.[200]
  • Pratima Dharm, born in India, became the U.S. Army's first Hindu chaplain, as well as the first female chaplain of Indian descent in the U.S. Army.[201]
  • Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta of California and Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic Snell of Los Angeles became the first same-sex couple chosen to share the first kiss upon a U.S. Navy ship's return.[202][203]
  • Brenda Sue Fulton was named to the West Point Board of Visitors, making her the first openly gay member of the board that advises the Academy.[204]


  • On 29 May, the very first U.S. Air Force Medical Service Senior Non-Commissioned Officer Leadership Award ever given was presented to Senior Master Sgt. Lorraine A. Hieskill, superintendent of the 59th Surgical Inpatient Squadron, at the San Antonio Military Medical Center, Ft. Sam Houston, Texas.[205]
  • 22 June: A sailor assigned to USS Ohio (SSGN 726) became the first female supply officer to qualify in U.S. submarines.[206]
  • July: Major General Sharon K.G. Dunbar, USAF, is promoted to dual positions of Commander of the Air Force District of Washington and Commander of the 320th Air Expeditionary Wing, Joint Base Andrews, Md.[207]
  • 20 July: VADM Nanette M. DeRenzi became the Judge Advocate General of the Navy.[208]
  • 13 August: VADM Robin Braun, USN began serving as Chief of Navy Reserve and Commander, Navy Reserve Force.[209] She is the first female commander of the U.S. Navy Reserve, and the first woman to lead any Reserve component of the U.S. military.[210]
  • Air Force Col. Ginger Wallace became the first known out member of the U.S. military to have their same-sex partner participate in the pinning ceremony tradition that had been reserved for spouses and family members. Her partner of 10 years, Kathy Knopf, pinned colonel wings on Wallace days after the two attended President Obama's State of The Union address as a guest of the First Lady.[211]
  • Navy Chief Elny McKinney and Anacelly McKinney became the first known same-sex couple to marry on a U.S. military base. They were wed at Naval Base Point Loma in San Diego.[212]
  • The 50,000th graduate of the U.S. Navy's Naval Nuclear Power Training Unit in New York was a woman, MM3 Jenna Swindt, who completed her training in March.[213]
  • The U.S. Coast Guard hosted its first women's athletics leadership conference.[214]
  • The Pentagon announced that it would allow women in the U.S. military to serve in noninfantry battalion jobs, such as radio operators, intelligence analysts, medics, radar operators, and tank mechanics, beginning in summer 2012.[215] It began on 14 May.[216][217] Cicely Verstein became the first woman in America to qualify for an Army combat-arms support job.[217]
  • Col. Dawne Deskins became the first female commander of the U.S. military's Eastern Air Defense Sector in Rome, New York.[218]
  • Margaret W. Burcham became the first woman to be promoted to general officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.[199]
  • Five "Tigertails" of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron One Two Five (VAW-125), embarked aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) as part of Carrier Air Wing Seventeen (CVW-17), flew an historic flight on 25 January when they participated in the U.S. Navy's first all-female E-2C Hawkeye combat mission.[219]
  • Commander Monika Washington Stoker, United States Navy, became the first African American woman to take command of a U.S. Navy missile destroyer.[citation needed]
  • Brig. Gen. Laura Richardson became the U.S. Army's first female to serve as a division deputy commander.[220]
  • Janet Wolfenbarger became the U.S. Air Force's first female four-star general.[221][222]
  • The U.S. Marine Corps opened its Infantry Officers Course in Quantico, Va. to women for the first time in its history. Two women joined; one dropped out on 28 September after not completing the introductory endurance test. The other passed that test but was dropped later because of unspecified medical reasons.[223][224]
  • Col. Jeannie Leavitt became the first woman to take command of a U.S. Air Force combat fighter wing.[225][226]
  • Gwendolyn Bingham was named the first female White Sands Missile Range commander in the U.S. military.[227]
  • The U.S. Air Force has now identified at least 31 women as victims in a growing rape scandal, a four-star general announced.[228]
  • U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta changed the policy that the unit commander would decide whether to move ahead with the investigation and prosecution of reported sexual assaults, a policy accused of placing the decision in the hands of commanders who work with, and are often close friends of, the accused. Under the new policy announced by Panetta, the decision rests higher up the chain of command, at the level of colonel (or, in the Navy, captain).[229]
  • Lt. Britta Christianson became the first female supply officer to qualify in submarines in the United States.[230]
  • Michelle Howard of the U.S. Navy became the first black woman to earn a three-star-rank in the U.S. armed forces.[231]
  • Capt. Delana Small became the first female chaplain in a U.S. combat arms unit.[232] She joined the 101st Airborne Division, also known as the "Screaming Eagles." [232]
  • Col. Giselle Wilz became the first woman in the North Dakota National Guard to achieve the rank of "full bird" colonel.[233][234]
  • Karla Marie MacArthur became the first female judge advocate in the South Dakota Army National Guard.[235]
  • Kathryn Neff became the first female Marine to graduate from the [American] Sapper School and the first interservice graduate to win the Sapper Spirit Award.[236]
  • Jennifer Walter became the first female brigadier general in the Iowa Air National Guard.[237]
  • The first Riverine Combat Skills Course (RCS) class in the United States to include women graduated in 2012. The women were: Chief Engineman Patricia Cooper, Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Brittney Hellwig, Master-at-Arms Seaman Brianna Tran, and Master-at-Arms Seaman Angela Evans.[238]
  • The first same-sex marriage at the U.S. Military Academy was held for a lieutenant and her partner (Ellen Schick and Shannon Simpson) at the Old Cadet Chapel in West Point’s cemetery.[239][240]
  • The first same-sex marriage at the U.S. Military Academy's Cadet Chapel at West Point (not to be confused with the Old Cadet Chapel) was held for Brenda Sue Fulton and Penelope Dara Gnesin.[240][241] Fulton was a veteran and the communications director of an organization called Outserve, which represents actively serving gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender military personnel.[241]
  • The U.S. Air Force launched an initiative to rid its ranks of material seen to objectify women. Pictures and calendars featuring half-naked women were removed from Air Force work spaces and public areas in an attempt to combat sexism and rape culture.[242]
  • Three Sailors assigned to USS Maine (SSBN 741) and USS Wyoming (SSBN 742) became the first female unrestricted line officers to qualify in U.S. submarines 5 Dec.[243] Lt. j.g. Marquette Leveque, a native of Fort Collins, Colo., assigned to the Gold Crew of Wyoming, and Lt. j.g. Amber Cowan and Lt. j.g. Jennifer Noonan of Maine's Blue Crew received their submarine "dolphins" during separate ceremonies at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Ga., and Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, Wash.[243]
  • CWO2 Kilohana Akim became the first female Pacific Islander of Hawaiian descent to make INV3 in the U.S. Coast Guard when she was promoted on 1 June 2012.[244]
  • Sonja Dyer became the first female maneuver Brigade S-3 in the U.S. Army.[245]
  • Ens. Kimberlee D. Hazle was commissioned as the U.S. Navy's first female Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment (ALRE) Boatswain (Bos'n).[246]
  • Chief Warrant Officer Laura E. Freeman became the first female Material Maintenance Specialty (MAT) warrant officer in the U.S. Coast Guard when she was commissioned MAT2 on 1 June 2012.[247]
  • Trans woman Allyson Robinson (who served on active duty as a man) became the first executive director of OutServe-SLDN, following the merger of OutServe and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network in October 2012.[248][249][250] This makes her the first transgender person to ever lead a national LGBT rights organization that does not have an explicit transgender focus.[251] OutServe-SLDN is a network of LGBT actively serving military personnel, which launched publicly on 26 July 2010 as OutServe, and is one of the largest LGBT employee resource groups in the world.[252]
  • Cameron Fitzsimmons became the first woman to assume duties as the 2nd Low Altitude Air Defense's Headquarters and Service Battery commander in the U.S. Marines.[253]
  • Katherine L. Gregory took command of all of NAVAC Naval Facilities Engineering Command as the highest ranked civil engineer in the Navy.[254][255]
  • Jeremy Hilton, whose wife was in the Air Force, became the first man to win the Military Spouse of the Year award from Military Spouse magazine; the award has existed since 2008.[256]
  • In 2012, the Marine Corps created a battery of six combat proxy tests in an attempt to answer the question "Are Females Ready for the Fight?" according to results presented at the 3rd International Congress on Soldiers’ Physical Performance, which was hosted in Boston in August 2014 by the United States Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine. For these tests, about 400 male Marines and almost the same number of female Marines were tested on pull-ups, two weight-lifting exercises, a 120-mm tank loading drill, a 155-mm artillery round carry and a 7-foot wall-climb while wearing a fighting load of about 30 pounds. Of the 35 Marines deemed best performers, 92 percent were males and 8 percent were females, proving that some women "are physically capable of meeting the demands of closed combat occupations," according to results of the study presented by Karen Kelly, a San Diego-based research physiologist. However, the Marine Corps decided the proxy tests were not an adequate predictor of success in ground combat jobs.[257]


  • 3 January[citation needed] - MAJ Tammy Duckworth, United States Army, and Captain Tulsi Gabbard, Army National Guard became the first female combat veterans to be sworn into Congress.[258]
  • 31 March - BGen Tammy Smith, United States Army marries her wife Tracey Hepner. She is the first openly-gay U.S. flag officer to come out while serving since the repeal of the Don't ask, don't tell policy. She is the highest ranking openly gay service member of the military.[259][260]
  • November - The first three women graduate from the United States Marine Corps Infantry Training Battalion program. Fifteen had begun the course.[261]
  • December - 1st. Lt. Amanda Mathew, USMC, became the first woman to lead a deployed combat arms platoon.[262]
  • Since 2013 American women troops and family members covered under Tricare can receive medical coverage to abort pregnancies resulting from sexual assault. The Defense Authorization Act for 2013 amended a Pentagon regulation to include rape and incest on the list of permissible uses of Defense Department facilities or funds for abortions for military beneficiaries. Only cases when the health of the mother was in danger were acceptable from 1981 until 2013. However, abortions were covered for female service members until 1981, when Congress passed a law barring the use of Defense Department funds in cases other than those when the mother’s life was endangered.[263]
  • Sara Joyner became the first woman to command a carrier air wing in the U.S. Navy.[264] She took command of Carrier Air Wing 3, nicknamed "Battle Axe." [264]
  • Naval Support Activity Washington promoted the first female to ascend through the ranks from patrol woman to captain at the United States Naval Observatory Naval District Washington Police Station, 10 Jan.[265]
  • Cadet Jenna Vercollone became the first female to represent the U.S. Military Academy in any capacity in the sport of hockey. She was a member of the West Point Inline Hockey Club, a hobby club within the Directorate of Cadet Activities.[266]
  • Pentagon chief Leon Panetta removed the U.S. military's ban on women serving in combat, overturning a 1994 rule prohibiting women from being assigned to smaller ground combat units. Panetta's decision gave the U.S. military services until January 2016 to seek special exceptions if they believed any positions must remain closed to women. The services had until May 2013 to draw up a plan for opening all units to women and until the end of 2015 to actually implement it.[267][268]
  • In 2013, U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said that the first women to join Virginia-class attack subs had been chosen: They were newly commissioned female officers scheduled to report to their subs in fiscal year 2015.[269]
  • Amanda Mathew became the first woman to lead a deployed combat arms platoon in the U.S. Marines.[270]
  • The South Dakota Army National Guard appointed Susan Shoe to the highest ranking senior-enlisted position in the state during a change of responsibility ceremony Saturday, 2 Feb., at the Joint Force Headquarters building on Camp Rapid.[271] She is the first woman to serve in this position in South Dakota.[271]
  • Maj. Gen. Megan P. Tatu became commander of the 79th Sustainment Support Command, the largest U.S. Army Reserve Command on the west coast.[272] She is the first female general to do so.[272]
  • For the first time the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs decided to allow the same-sex spouse of a military veteran to be buried in a U.S. national cemetery. VA Secretary Eric Shinseki gave permission for retired Air Force officer Linda Campbell, 66, to bury the ashes of her same-sex spouse Nancy Lynchild at Williamette National Cemetery in Oregon.[273]
  • Tech. Sgt. Leslie Cummings, the first female military training instructor in the U.S. Air National Guard, became the first U.S. Air National Guard member to be named the Air University Noncommissioned Officer of the Year. This also makes her the first female military training instructor named the Air University Noncommissioned Officer of the Year.[274]
  • Valley Forge Military Academy and College named its first female president, Stacey R. Sauchuk.[275] Sauchuk thus became the first female president at a private military academy and college in the United States.[275]
  • The U.S. Veterans Affairs Department launched a new hotline—1-855-VA-WOMEN—for questions from veterans, their families and caregivers about VA services and resources available to women veterans.[276]
  • Marlene Rodriguez became the first woman to join Chapter 49 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart.[277] Chapter 49 is the largest chapter in California with about 325 members.[277]
  • Nadja West became the first African-American female two-star general in the U.S. Army Medical Department.[278]
  • Autumn Sandeen, a U.S. veteran and transgender woman, received a letter from a Navy official stating, "Per your request the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) has been updated to show your gender as female effective 12 April 2013." Allyson Robinson of Outserve-SLDN declared, "To our knowledge, this is the first time that the Department of Defense has recognized and affirmed a change of gender for anyone affiliated, in a uniformed capacity — in this case a military retiree." [279]
  • The first class of U.S. women soldiers joined A Battery, 1st Battalion, 78th Field Artillery, to learn the 13M, Multiple Launch Rocket System Crewmember military occupational specialty—an MOS that was previously closed to women.[280]
  • Tania Calderon-Griek became the first woman to earn her way into the final round of the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division's All American Week combatives tournament.[281]
  • The first female combat soldier statue in America was unveiled at the Coleman Veterans Memorial in Michigan on Memorial Day.[282]
  • Lisa M. Franchetti was appointed as the first female commander for U.S. Naval Forces Korea.[283]
  • Karen Voorhees became the first woman to advance to chief petty officer in the rate of aviation survival technician in the U.S. Coast Guard since women were integrated into U.S. Coast Guard active duty service in 1973.[284]
  • The first five women graduated from the 14-week U.S. course which prepares soldiers to work on the Bradley Fighting Vehicle during training or while under fire in a war zone.[285]
  • Syrian state media said Nicole Mansfield, a single mother from the Midwestern city of Flint, Michigan, was killed with two others in an ambush by Syrian government forces on an opposition mission in northwestern Syria.[286] They said she was with a rebel group, but it was not clear which one.[286]
  • Retired Navy Seal Kristin Beck came out as transgender, the first retired Navy Seal to do so.[287][288]
  • Julie A. Bentz became the first woman promoted to major general in the Oregon National Guard.[289]
  • Major General Patricia "Trish" Rose became the first openly lesbian two-star general in the U.S. Air Force, and the highest ranking openly gay officer in the entire U.S. military at the time.[290]
  • The U.S. Air Force appointed Dr. Mica Endsley as its first female chief scientist.[291]
  • Bette Bolivar became the first woman to take command of the U.S. Navy Region Northwest.[292]
  • The Texas Veterans of Foreign Wars elected Sylvia Sanchez as their first female commander.[293]
  • The U.S. Labor Department began a website focused on women military veterans.[294]
  • Sgt. Maj. Angela M. Maness took the reins of the "Oldest Post of the [U.S. Marine] Corps" as the new sergeant major of Marine Barracks Washington. She is the first woman in history to hold this billet at the Barracks.[295]
  • Kristin K. French was appointed as the first female commanding general at the Rock Island Arsenal in Illinois.[296]
  • On 1 March 2013, Major General Michelle D. Johnson was chosen to be the next (and first female) superintendent of the United States Air Force Academy.[297] She began that job on 12 August 2013.[298]
  • Pfc. Jessica Jones and Pfc. Angelika Jansen became the first two women to have graduated as U.S. Army artillery mechanics.[299] Jones and Jansen graduated 16 July as 91P artillery mechanics after 15 weeks of training at Fort Lee.[299]
  • Four women became the first women to graduate from the M1 Abrams Tank Systems Maintainer Course at Fort Benning, Georgia, United States.[300]
  • The U.S. military announced Spc. Jennie Dushane was the first female soldier in the North Dakota National Guard to earn the Squad Designated Marksman distinction.[301]
  • Capt. Amy Burin was installed as the first female commanding officer of SPAWAR Systems Center Atlantic.[302]
  • In March a new U.S. Army combat uniform that takes into consideration fit requirements of female soldiers (the Army Combat Uniform-Alternate, known as ACU-A) was approved for use by both men and women.[303] The new uniform is wider in the hips and backside and has elastic around the waistband instead of a draw string, as well as adjusted pockets and elbow-pad and knee-pad inserts and shortened crotch length.[303] The rank and name plate were also repositioned on the uniform jacket.[303] The new uniform also has slimmer shoulders, a longer coat, and buttons that replace the Velcro pockets.[303]
  • U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said his department would extend a pilot program giving victims of sexual assault their own legal representation and would consider allowing them more influence in the sentencing phase of trials.[304]
  • The US Naval Academy announced that it would integrate sexual assault prevention into the academic program in an effort to combat high rates of sexual assault in the military.[305]
  • The US soldier born as Bradley Manning, who was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents, announced plans to undergo hormone therapy and asked to be recognized as a woman named Chelsea Manning.[306]
  • The U.S. Colonel born as James Pritzker, who has endowed a study on transgender people in the military, announced she identifies as a woman and will now be known as Jennifer Natalya Pritzker.[307]
  • Debbie Kash was chosen as the first female commander of the Military Order of World Wars, a national patriotic organization of American military officers of all services and their descendants.[308][309]
  • Flora D. Darpino was sworn in as the first female Judge Advocate General of the United States Army.[310]
  • Cpl. Heather Redenius became the first woman to graduate from the U.S. Marines' Assault Climber’s Course.[311]
  • Master Sgt. Angela Shunk and her wife, Tech. Sgt. Stacey Shunk, became the first same-sex couple to receive an assignment together under the U.S. Air Force’s Join Spouse program.[312]
  • Cathy Jorgensen became the first female Alaska Army National Guard general.[313]
  • Shannon Stout, the medical officer for 2nd Tank Battalion at Camp Lejeune, N.C., became the first female field grade officer within the unit, and possibly within any combat arms battalion in the U.S. Marine Corps.[314]
  • Linda Singh became the first woman and the first African-American to hold the position of commander for the Maryland Army National Guard.[315]
  • U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced that the Virginia and the Minnesota, members of the Virginia class of nuclear submarines, would each have three female officers beginning no later than January 2015, making them the first U.S. attack submarines to have women in their crews.[316][316]
  • Brooke Bailey became the first female recruiter to be named Recruiter of the Year in the Indiana Army National Guard.[317]
  • Robin Baker became the first female combat engineer to earn the rank of gunnery sergeant in the U.S. Marines.[318][319]
  • Jana L. Harrison became the first woman inducted into the Kansas National Guard Hall of Fame.[320]
  • The first full-size statue on a U.S. Army post recognizing the service of Army women was unveiled at Fort Lee in Virginia.[321]
  • Rachel L. Fails became the first female senior enlisted leader for the Iowa National Guard.[322]
  • Sgt. Ashley Rios, an intelligence analyst assigned to Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, was recognized as distinguished honor graduate during the Warrior Leader Course graduation ceremony at Fort Benning, Ga., 7 Nov.. Rios is the first woman at Fort Benning to graduate at the top of her class.[323]
  • Col. Anna Friederich-Maggard became the first female in the Pittsburg State University ROTC Alumni Hall of Fame.[324]
  • Three women (Pfc. Julia Carroll, Pfc. Christina Fuentes Montenegro, and Pfc. Katie Gorz) became the first women to graduate from the U.S. Marines' enlisted infantry course, although they were not allowed to join the infantry because it was still closed to women.[325][326]
  • Col. Lynette Arnhart, who suggested fewer photos of attractive (as opposed to average) women be used in promotional material to recruit women for combat duty, agreed to step down as the American military branch’s director of gender-integration studies.[327] Col. Christian Kubik, who was the Training and Doctrine Command public affairs officer, was suspended; Kubik forwarded Arnhart's email with her suggestion to other spokespeople at TRADOC.[328] According to Politico, the forwarded message included a comment from Kubik asking the public affairs officials to avoid using photos that "glamorize" women and instead "use ‘real’ photos that are typical, not exceptional." [328]
  • Anika Degraff, Melissa Czarnogursky, and Larissa Schwerin became the first women to serve as fire direction specialists in the field artillery branch of the American army.[329]
  • Michelle Howard was confirmed by the Senate as the first female four-star admiral and the first female vice chief of naval operations in the U.S. Navy's history.[330]
  • The American President Barack Obama signed into law signed into law H.R. 3304, the "National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014," which among other things declares that military commanders no longer will be permitted to overturn jury convictions for sexual assault.[331]
  • Miyako N. Schanely became the first female Japanese-American general in the U.S. Army; this also made her the first female engineer in the U.S. Army Reserve and second in the entire U.S. Army to become a general. As well, she is only the second Japanese-American woman to reach a flag rank in the entire U.S. military, following Air Force Maj. Gen. Susan Mashiko.[332]
  • Susan Soto became the first Native American woman to be named the commander of a Veterans of Foreign War post in November 2013 when she took the helm of Southampton Post 7009.[333]


  • March: The U.S. Marine Corps announced that they had opened 11 more specialties to female Marines.[334]
  • June: Lt Gen Wendy M. Masiello became Director of the Defense Contract Management Agency, based in Fort Lee, Virginia.[335]
  • 1 July: Michelle Howard began her assignment as the U.S. Navy's first female and first African-American admiral.[336][337]
  • 16 July: Following a petition to the Secretary of the Navy, the U.S. Marine Corps received approval to open the first 11 previously closed combat-related MOSs to women, namely, 0803 Target acquisition officer, 0842 Field artillery radar operator, 0847 Field artillery meteorologist, 2110 Ordnance vehicle maintenance officer, 2131 Towed artillery repairer/technician, 2141 Assault amphibious vehicle repairer/technician, 2146 Main battle tank repairer/technician, 2147 Light armored vehicle repairer/technician, 2149 Ordnance vehicle maintenance chief, 7204 Low altitude air defense officer, and 7212 Low altitude air defense gunner.[338] These MOSs were then opened to women.[338]
  • 1 July: MAJ Crissy Cook, United States Army, became the first woman to qualify to command a Bradley fighting tank. This job had recently been opened up to women.[339]
  • 1 August: Chaplain (Rear Admiral) Margaret G. Kibben, USN was sworn in as Chief of Navy Chaplains as the first female to serve as such.[340]
  • 25 August: Fort Lee enters lockdown during reports of an active shooter. The individual in question was an enraged female soldier who shot herself in the head after barricading herself inside a major command's headquarters. Nobody else was injured.[341] She was identified as 33-year-old Sgt. 1st Class Paula M. Walker, of Yonkers, N.Y.[342]
  • September : The U.S. Navy announced that women could begin to be assigned to the Coastal Riverine Force Joint Terminal Attack Controller (CRF JTAC) training and positions.[343]
  • 1 October: GMC Laurie A. Kennedy became the first female Senior Chief Gunner's Mate (GMCS) in the U.S. Coast Guard when she was promoted.[344] At the time she was attached to CGC Waesche (WMSL-751).[344]
  • December: Data released by the Defense Department and the Rand Corp. showed that the USMC had the highest level of sexual assaults of against women of any military branch at 8.44%, decreasing from 10.1% from the fiscal year of 2012.[345]
  • The U.S. Army began its first study to see how fit soldiers have to be to serve in combat. The study involved 60 women and 100 men.[346]
  • U.S. veterans groups sued the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs due to veterans suffering from PTSD linked to sexual assault being allegedly denied disability claims.[347]
  • Kimberly R. Tschepen became the first woman to lead an Idaho National Guard battalion (specifically, the 145th Brigade Support Battalion.) [348]
  • Sarah Deckert was the 2014 winner of the U.S. Armed Forces Chef of the Year competition, thus making her the first female U.S. Armed Forces Chef of the Year.[349] She was a member of the U.S. Army.[349]
  • Caroline Jensen became the first mother and the first female reserve officer to fly in the United States Air Force Thunderbirds.[350]
  • Gwen Bingham became the first female commanding general of the U.S. Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command.[351]
  • Kristin Goodwin became the first female bomb wing commander in the U.S. Air Force.[352]
  • After an essay written by U.S. Marine Corps 2nd Lt. Sage Santangelo was published in the Washington Post arguing for the change, women were allowed to take the U.S. Marines' Infantry Officer Course twice like their male counterparts, instead of once.[353]
  • Twists, dreadlocks, and large cornrows were banned by the U.S. Army, in a move opposed by the women of the Congressional Black Caucus.[354] However, later in 2014 the U.S. Army authorized temporary two-strand twists, increased the size of authorized braids, cornrows, and twists and removed spacing requirements.[355] The U.S. Army also authorized women to wear ponytails during physical training.[355] That same year the U.S. Air Force authorized two-strand twists, French twists and Dutch braids, and the U.S. Navy authorized two-strand twists and braids that hang freely – if they hang above the collar and encompass the whole head.[355]
  • The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs agreed to give survivor benefits to the first-known same-sex war widow, Tracy Dice Johnson, whose wife Donna Johnson died in a suicide bombing attack in 2012.[356]
  • Emily Shertzer became the first female Guardsman to win the Lincoln National Guard Marathon's women's category.[357]
  • Pfc. Erika Cotton, 19, and Pvt. Stephanie Kasten, 18, of the South Dakota Army National Guard enlisted to serve as Multiple Launch Rocket System crewmembers, becoming the first women to do so in South Dakota. They were both members of Battery A, 1-147th Field Artillery Battalion in Aberdeen.[358]
  • Cynthia B. Howard became the first female Transportation Corps senior NCO in the U.S. Army.[359]
  • Peggy C. Combs became the first woman to take command over Fort Knox and U.S. Army Cadet Command.[360]
  • Almost all Regular Army, National Guard and Army Reserve positions in the U.S. Army coded for field artillery officers were opened to women under a directive issued by Army Secretary John McHugh on 4 March.[361] Specifically, the directive opened to women approximately 1,900 area-of-concentration 13A Field Artillery officer positions in the active component, and 1,700 in the Guard and Reserve.[361] This change applied to cannon battalions down to platoon level, but did not include field artillery positions in special operations units, or positions with "male only" skill identifiers.[361]
  • The U.S. Navy declared that women could be assigned to the 267 combat positions in the Coastal Riverine Force that were previously closed to them.[362]
  • Sherrie McCandless became the first woman to command the 124th Fighter Wing and, therefore, the first female wing commander in Idaho Air National Guard history.[363]
  • Lanette Wright became the first female senior enlisted leader of a Marine Expeditionary Unit in the U.S. Marine Corps.[364]
  • The first female U.S. Army National Guard soldiers graduated from Field Artillery School.[365]
  • Dina Elosiebo became the D.C. Army National Guard's first female African-American pilot.[366]
  • California governor Jerry Brown proclaimed the third week of March as "Women's Military History Week".[367][368]
  • U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair, who carried on a three-year affair with a female captain under his command and had two other inappropriate relationships with female subordinates, was reprimanded and docked $20,000 in pay, but did not go to jail.[369]
  • Vice Adm. Jan Tighe was appointed as the first female commander of a numbered fleet in the U.S. Navy.[370]
  • An all-female U.S. Air Force crew set a world record for the longest military flight without aerial refueling; specifically, they kept the unmanned reconnaissance aloft for 34.3 hours.[371] They had decided to see if they could break the record as part of Women's History Month.[372]
  • Spc. Kaitlyne Kisner became the first female certified mine detection dog handler in the U.S. Army.[373]
  • Maryanne Walts became the first female command chief master sergeant in the Barnes Air National Guard 104th Fighter Wing, which is in the U.S. Air Force.[374]
  • The U.S. Army’s Jungle Operations Training Course in Hawaii graduated its first female soldier, Spc. Tinita Taylor.[375]
  • Gen. Kerry Muehlenbeck became the first female general in the Arizona National Guard.[376]
  • Col. Kimberly Daub became the first female brigade commander at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.[377] She is the commander of the 101st Sustainment Brigade, known as The Lifeliners.[377] This also makes her the first female brigade commander in the history of the 101st Airborne.[377]
  • Capt. Elizabeth Rascon became the first female commander of the 1st Cavalry Division Horse Cavalry Detachment in the U.S. Army.[378]
  • Kristen Waagbo was named the first women's lacrosse coach at West Point.[379]
  • A directive signed by U.S. Army Secretary John McHugh stated that the U.S. Army was opening about 33,000 more jobs to women, with the bulk of the jobs coming from maneuver battalions from about 40 brigade combat teams.[380]
  • Col. Cynthia Tinkham of Oklahoma City became the new commander of the 189th Regiment (known as the Oklahoma Regional Training Institute).[381] This was the first time a woman received a major command in the Oklahoma Army National Guard.[381]
  • The U.S. Marines began their Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force. The GCEITF was a co-ed group designed to evaluate and compare the physical performance of male and female Marines in ground combat jobs in order to determine appropriate physical and performance standards for the various specialties.[382]
  • Picatinny Arsenal obtained its first all-female command pairing, with Lt. Col. Ingrid Parker and Sgt. Maj. Rosalba Dumont-Carrion.[383]
  • Seven new military occupational specialty schools opened to female U.S. Marines; specifically, the schools for the following MOSs: 0331 Machine Gunner, 0341 Mortarman, 0351 Infantry Assaultman, 0352 Anti-Tank Missileman, 1812 M1A1 Tank Crewman, 1833 Assault Amphibious Vehicle Crewmember, and 0811 M60A1 Tank Crewman. However, these schools cannot as of 2014 offer female graduates an MOS designation, so they must pursue a non-infantry specialty following completion of training.[382]
  • Cynthia Haines became the first female Chief Master Sgt. of the 116th Air Control Wing's Medical Group in the Georgia Air National Guard in the United States.[384]
  • It was announced that starting in October company-grade officers — lieutenants and captains — who had already served in another primary occupation would be allowed to take the U.S. Marines’ Infantry Officer Course.[385]
  • Maj. Chrissy Cook became the first woman in the 1st Cavalry Division of the U.S. Army to qualify to command a M2A2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle.[386]
  • A group of South Korean former comfort women, who were forced to work in state-controlled brothels for the U.S. military after the 1950-53 Korean War, filed a lawsuit demanding compensation from the authorities for forced prostitution.[387] This marks the first time that such legal action was taken regarding the brothels, or "special areas," that were sanctioned by the South Korean government.[387]
  • Lori J. Robinson was chosen to be the new commanding general of the Pacific Air Forces in Hawaii, making her the first U.S. female four-star commander of combat forces.[388][389]
  • Katie Higgins, 27, became the first female pilot to join the Blue Angels, the United States Navy's flight demonstration squadron.[390]
  • Rear Adm. Babette "Bette" Bolivar took over command of Joint Region Marianas, thus becoming the first woman to occupy the top military post on Guam.[391]
  • Samantha Brumley was the first woman to officially become a tank mechanic in the Oregon Army National Guard.[392]
  • Tara Robertson took command of the Minnesota National Guard's 849th Mobility Augmentation Company, thus becoming the first woman to command the previously all-male unit.[393]
  • Heidi Flemming became the first female commanding officer of Patuxent River Naval Air Station.[394]
  • Two female soldiers in the South Korean army, Staff Sgt. Kim Min Kyoung and Staff Sgt. Kwon Min Zy, earned the American Expert Infantryman Badge, making them the first women, Korean or American, to do so.[395]
  • Verna L. Jones was appointed as the first female executive director of the American Legion.[396]
  • Marine officials announced in a 12 Nov. administrative message that female Marines in the ranks of corporal and above were now eligible to fill some 2,600 previously closed jobs in active and Reserve units.[397]
  • Diane Dunn became the first woman to command a Maine Army National Guard brigade (specifically, the 120th).[398]
  • Elizabeth Bohannon became the first female chief warrant officer 5 in the North Carolina National Guard.[399]


  • Col. Bobbi Doorenbos became the first female commander of the Arkansas Air National Guard’s 188th Wing.[400]
  • The first woman reported to the USS Minnesota, thus becoming the first woman to serve aboard a U.S. Navy fast-attack submarine.[401]
  • Ret. U.S. Army Col. Laurel Hummel was appointed as the first woman to lead Alaska's National Guard.[402]
  • On 9, 1 January Sgt. Raquel Steckman reported as the new first sergeant of the 374th Engineer Company (Sapper) in Concord, California, becoming the first female combat engineer senior sergeant who was 12Z qualified to hold this leadership position in a Sapper unit.[403]
  • Army Secretary John McHugh issued a 27 Feb. directive authorizing more than 4,100 officer and enlisted "men only" positions in special operations units of the Regular Army, National Guard and Army Reserve to be opened to women. The organizations being opened to women as a result of 27 Feb. directive from Army Secretary John McHugh are: Army Special Operations Command (Airborne), Army National Guard Special Forces Group (Airborne) Battalions, Military Information Support Operations Command Tactical Psychological Teams, Special Forces Military Free Fall Operations, and associated additional skill identifiers 4X for officers and W8 for enlisted soldiers.[404]
  • The Army announced in February that five women had passed the first-ever gender-integrated Ranger Training Assessment Course, which was a two-week pre-qualification for the special operations training.[257]
  • Col. Alicia A. Tate-Nadeau was promoted to brigadier general, making her the first female in the Illinois National Guard to earn the rank, and the first female in Illinois National Guard history to be promoted as a general officer.[405]
  • Alishia Bauman was promoted to captain, becoming the first female primary staff officer in the history of the 1st Battalion, 168th Infantry of the Iowa Army National Guard.[406] Also, according to her, as battalion logistics officer, she is the first woman in a management position (technically an infantry officer) for the unit based in Council Bluffs.[406]
  • America's oldest female veteran, Lucy Coffey, died at the age of 108.[407] She had joined the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps in 1943 and was honorably discharged in 1945, but continued to serve as an accountant and statistician.[407] Thirteen years later, she transferred to Kelly Air Force Base and retired.[407]
  • California governor Jerry Brown proclaimed the third week of March as "Women's Military History Week".[408]
  • Brenda Sue Fulton was named the first female chairperson of the Board of Visitors at West Point.[409][410]
  • Lt. Col. Christine Mau of the U.S. Air Force became the first U.S. female pilot to fly the F-35 Lightning II jet.[411]
  • Col. Diana M. Holland became the first woman to serve as a deputy commander for the 10th Mountain Division in the U.S. Army.[412]
  • Col. Giselle “Gigi” Wilz was promoted to brigadier general, thus becoming the first female general in the North Dakota Army National Guard.[413] Later that year, she took office as the 21st (and first female) Commander of NATO Headquarters Sarajevo.[414]
  • The Oklahoma Army National Guard named Jamie Ellis as its first female Army combat arms officer.[415]
  • Marjana Mair Bidwell became the first woman to assume command of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment Headquarters Company.[416]
  • Army Secretary John McHugh issued a directive on June 16 which made available 20,563 additional positions for women and opened the last of the 16 engineer MOSs (MOS 12B, Combat Engineer), which were closed to women.[417]
  • Mackenzie Clarke became the first female combat engineer to enlist in the Army National Guard.[418]
  • Clydellia Prichard-Allen became Columbus, Ohio's first female army recruiting commander.[419]
  • Erika Lopez became the first woman in Tennessee to enlist in the Army as a combat engineer.[420]
  • 110-year-old Emma Didlake, America's oldest known veteran at the time, met President Obama at the White House.[421] She was an African-American World War II veteran who joined the Army in 1943, and her decorations include the Women's Army Corps Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, and World War II Victory Medal.[421]
  • Tracci Dorgan became the first female field artillery officer in the South Carolina National Guard.[422]
  • Vice Adm. Nora Tyson was installed as the new commander of the Navy’s Third Fleet, making her the first woman to lead a U.S. Navy ship fleet.[423][424]
  • Jeanne Pace, at the time the longest-tenured female warrant officer and the last former member of the Women’s Army Corps on active duty, retired.[425][426][427] She had joined the WAC in 1972.[426]

See also[edit]


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