Top 10 Most Notable Women Veterans

Women SoldiersThere is a compelling argument to be made that American women have been fighting battles and waging wars against gender-bias and socio-sexual mores since our country’s inception.   From the struggles for equality by “Suffragette’s” Lucretia Mott, Susan B. Anthony, and  Elizabeth Cady Stanton  in the early 20th century, to Gloria Steinem and the birth of the modern feminist movement, women have been fighting for freedom as fervently and legitimately as many enlisted soldiers.  But as an unfortunate by-product of the groundbreaking successes of American Feminism, history often overlooks those women who have served in uniform as well.  The following list describes 10 of the most salient servicewomen in military history, in no particular order.

  1. Yeoman Lorretta Walsh – In early March, 1917 Loretta became the first woman in US history to enlist in the armed forces, joining the Navy and becoming the first Yeoman in US Navy history.
  2. Dr. Mary E. Walker – Dr. Walker was the first and only woman ever to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor for her distinguished battlefield medical service during the US Civil War.  After becoming involved in the culturally unpopular suffragette movements at the turn of the 20th century, Dr. Walker was stripped of the medal,  with the official reason stated being “to increase the prestige of the grant.”  True to her character, Dr. Walker refused to relinquish the medal, wearing it constantly until her death.  Years later in 1977, President Carter reinstated the validity of the medal.
  3. Lt. Kara Hultgreen – Navy’s first fully qualified female fleet fighter pilot.  Tragically, in 1994 Hultgreen died when her F-14 Tomcat slammed into the Pacific Ocean during a training accident.  Although 31 male pilots died in the similar F-14 accidents, many cited Hultgreen’s death as evidence for the case against female fighter pilots.  Among women aviators and the more enlightened Hultgreen remains both a pioneer and a true American patriot.
  4. Elizabeth C. Newcume – Disguised in male clothing, Newcume served 10 months during the Mexican-American war fighting “rebels and Indians” at Dodge City, KS until her sex was discovered and was discharged.  Later, Newcume would gain notoriety as she fought (and won) for her contractually promised service benefits including back/hazard pay and land grants.
  5. Margaret Corbin – Though never officially enlisted in the US Armed services (much like the rest of the American “Revolutionaries”) Corbin fought valiantly beside her husband at Fort Washington, leading to permanent disability.  Later in 1779 Congress awarded her disability benefits at one-half soldiers pay and the cash equivalent for a “new set of clothes.”
  6. Master Sergeant Barbara J Dulinsky – Dulinsky volunteered for duty during the Vietnam War and, in 1967, reported to the Military Assistance Command in Saigion (then South Vietnam), making her the first woman Marine ordered to serve in an active combat zone.
  7. Clara Maass – Spanish American War veteran Clara Maass served with honor in the Army Nurse Corps.  After her distinguished service, when an outbreak of yellow fever threatened the lives of millions of soldiers, Maass bravely volunteered for an experimental treatment program which ultimately led to her death.  Maass later became the first woman to be immortalized on a US postage stamp.
  8. Sgt. Esther Blake – Blake is widely considered the first woman, if not of the first people, to enlist in the US Air Force.   On July 8th 1948, Blake put pen to paper during the first minute of the first hour after the regular Air Force was officially authorized.  However, her official enlistment was recorded as serving under WAF. (Women in the Air Force)
  9. Annie G. Fox – Pearl Harbor veteran (featured in the eponymous film by Jerry Bruckheimer) serving in the Army Nurse Corps and first woman to be awarded The Purple Heart for valor and injury.
  10. PFC Maureen Daugherty – in April 1986 Daugherty became the first American woman to make a dangerous parachute drop into Bolivia.  Just making the short list to be part of the Army Paratroopers was distinction enough, a tradition dating back to those who served in WWII at Normandy, France, featured in the critically acclaimed HBO miniseries “Band of Brothers’.

10 thoughts on “Top 10 Most Notable Women Veterans

  1. Resource solely for women veterans to support their need to connect with each other and yet remain anonymous. Women can reach out to those who have similar experiences with concerns of re-entry into the civilian world, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and other topics relating to women in service.
    For more information, call 1-877-490-5757 (toll free), or visit their website at

  2. Finally a shout out for our ladies in uniform! As a lady vet and recruiter for the USMC this is the kind of info we need to inpire young women everywhere to broaden there horizons through service. Thanks.

  3. i wouldn’t have supposed this was great just a few years back however its interesting the way time varies the way you see so many concepts, many thanks with regard to the article it is really pleasurable to browse anything clever once in a while instead of the traditional rubbish mascarading as blogs and forums on the net, i’m going to take up a few rounds of facebook poker, cheers

  4. Bravo, excellent list , lets us not forget American Born Josephine Baker (because of the times, homegirl served in her own way, spying against the Nazis in France). Also on the list should be the Angels of Bataan. Thank You,
    Anne LaBelle, Curator, The Veteran Woman Museum

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