Commander-in-Chief George Washington asks Congress for one contract nurse for every 10 patients and a supervising matron for every 100 patients.


Women civilians serve primarily as laundresses, nurses, cooks and spies. Some serve as water bearers and soldiers, fighting beside their husbands or, like Deborah Samson, disguising themselves as men.


  • Women civilians continue to serve primarily as nurses, laundresses and cooks, but some also as color bearers, and a few as warriors.
  • Dorothea Lynde Dix is appointed Superintendent of Women Nurses for the Union Army.
  • Roughly 6,000 women provide nursing to federal troops during the war.


Harriet Tubman, under direction of Union Gen. Rufus Saxton, organizes and leads a group of scouts in South Carolina to gather information on confederate forces.


Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, a civilian surgeon serving the Union forces, is captured and held as a Prisoner of War from April to August.


Dr. Walker is awarded the Medal of Honor for her work serving the Union Army during the Civil War.


Cathay Williams enlists in U.S. Army using the name William Cathay, is assigned to the 38th US Infantry and serves less than two years before she is discharged.


At the start of the Spanish-American War, Congress grants authority for Army to hire women nurses under contract. More than 1,500 women serve as nurses from 1898 to 1901.


Army Nurse Corps is established as permanent part of the Army Medical Department.


More than 21,000 Army nurses work in military hospitals in the U.S. and abroad. The Army recruits more than 200 bilingual telephone operators to work switchboards near the front in France.


Army Reorganization Act grants nurses officer rank but without the same privileges and rights as men.


Massachusetts Congresswoman Edith Nourse Rogers introduces bill to establish Women's Army Auxiliary Corps.


  • Sixty-six Army nurses stationed in the Philippines are among those captured by the Japanese at the fall of Corregidor and held as Prisoners of War.
  • Congress passes the bill creating the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC), and authorizes up to 150,000 positions.
  • Oveta Culp Hobby is sworn in as the first director.
  • First enlistees report to the WAAC’s training center at Des Moines, IA, its first training center.
  • Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS) is established. The female pilots transport planes from factories to military bases.
  • WAAC exceeds its initial recruitment goal of 25,000.


  • First WAAC unit overseas reports to Algiers.
  • Congress passes bill to convert WAAC into the regular Army, and renames it the Women’s Army Corps.
  • 1st Lt. Cordelia E. Cook, an Army nurse serving in Italy, is first woman to receive the Bronze Star.
  • WAFS and WFTD merge to form Women’s Air Force Service Pilots.


More than 5,000 women serve in the Southwest Pacific region from 1944 to 1955. WASPS are disbanded.


  • The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, an all-black WAC unit, receives orders for Europe. They are stationed in England and then France.
  • Nurses captured at the fall of Corregidor are liberated by U.S. troops.


  • Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower directs legislation to include WACS in the Regular Army and the Organized Reserve Corps.
  • WAC officers arrive in Japan for assignment to the 8000th WAC Battalion.
  • Congress passes legislation to provide re-employment rights for WAC and WAAC.


Women's Medical Specialist Corps established.


  • WACs with prior service are enlisted in the Regular Army.
  • WAC Training Center is established at Camp Lee, VA.
  • Women’s Armed Services Integration Act of 1948 ensures women have permanent status in the active and reserve forces.


WAC, Army of the United States, is terminated. Honorably discharged WACs AUS re-enlist in WAC Regular Army.


  • Women college graduates receive first direct commissions as second lieutenants in the Organized Reserve Corps.
  • Enlistments extended for WACs and reserve WAC officers involuntarily recalled to active duty for the support of the Korean War.
  • More than 500 nurses serve in the combat zone.


  • First WAC Officer Advanced Course opens at the WAC School at Fort Lee, VA.
  • Limited Veterans Administration benefits are available to WAAC personnel with line of duty disabilities.
  • Congress passes the Reserve Officers Personnel Act.


WAC permanent training center and home opens at Fort McClellan, AL.


WAC turns 20. Total personnel strength is 9,495.


Weapons familiarization and voluntary firing is removed from WAC training when Army determines the one pound additional weight of its new rifle was too heavy for a woman to handle.


First WAC officers are assigned to HQ, US Army, Vietnam. Throughout the war, 9,000 nurses and 800 WACs serve in Vietnam.


Congress passes law that removes promotion restrictions on women and allows WACs to be appointed in the National Guard.


SGM Yzetta Nelson becomes first WAC to achieve the highest enlisted rank, command sergeant major.


  • The Women’s Army Corps Foundation is incorporated to raise money to build the WAC Museum at Fort McClellan, AL.
  • The first three women graduate from the Army War College.
  • Army Nurse Corps 1st Lieutenant Sharon A. Lane dies in Vietnam as a result of enemy fire. She is the only American military woman to die under such circumstances during the Vietnam War.


  • Anna Mae Hays, Chief of the Army Nurse Corps, and Elizabeth P. Hoisington, Director of the Women’s Army Corps, are the first women to achieve the rank of brigadier general.
  • Women are allowed entry to male Drill Sergeant Schools and NCO Academy.
  • Women for the first time are allowed to command men, except for combat units.


  • The end of the draft and key steps by the Army Chief of Staff advance opportunities for women.
  • Helicopter and fixed-wing flight training is approved for WAC officers.
  • Enlisted women can go to Parachute Rigger training and jump school.
  • The last Army nurses depart Vietnam.
  • More than 5,000 nurses serve in Vietnam between 1962 and 1973.


Voluntary weapons training is reinstated for WACs. SGM Mildred Kelly is promoted to Command Sergeant Major, becoming the first black command sergeant major in the WAC.


Weapons training is mandatory for WACs.


Military Academies open to women. Some 120 women enter West Point as part of Class of 1980. WAC total strength grows to 46,444.


  • Men and women train together for first time in Military Police and Signal Corps.
  • Women serve in nuclear security and as crew members at long-range missile and rocket sites.
  • First women are commissioned in the Field Artillery and Air Defense Artillery branches.


WAC is officially disestablished. Men and women attend same basic training. BG Mary E. Clarke, who served as WAC Director since 1975, is promoted to Major General, Active Military Service.


Hazel Johnson-Brown of the Army Nurse Corps becomes first African American woman to achieve rank of Brigadier General and chief of the Army Nurse Corps.


Women make up 9.1% of the Army. WAAC service considered active service for Veterans Administration benefits.


Army caps end-strength for women: 65,000 enlisted and 7,200 officers.


Women and men return to separate basic training. More women enlist. Secretary of Defense increases total women end strength to 70,000 enlisted and 13,000 officers.


More than 100 women take part in Operation Urgent Fury, Grenada, serving in law enforcement, intelligence, logistics, mechanics, and more. Women fly helicopters for first time in armed conflict.


More than 700 women participate in Operation Just Cause, Panama. Captain Linda Bray is first woman to lead U.S. troops in combat. The U.S. Military Academy names its first woman brigade commander.


Some 26,000 women deploy to the Persion Gulf for Operation Desert Shield/Storm.
Women are assigned to Forward Support Units.


Two Army women are captured by Iraqis and held as prisoners of war.


Secretary of Defense Les Aspin announces combat aviation jobs to open to women.
Army names its first woman Drill Sergeant of the Year, Staff Sgt. Jill Henderson of Fort McClellan, AL.


Men and women again are to go through basic training together, first at Fort Leonard Wood, MO.


Women serve in Military Intelligence, Quartermaster Corps, Signal, Transportation Company and other jobs in the Bosnian Operation. 2nd Lieutenant Rebecca Marier is West Point's first woman valedictorian.


The first woman guards the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.


Claudia Kennedy becomes first woman in the Army to achieve the rank of lieutenant general.


Women participate in the NATO-led peacekeeping mission in Kosovo, Operation Joint Guardian.


Coral Wong Pietsch becomes the first Asian-American woman in the Army to attain the rank of brigadier general.


CSM Michele Jones is first woman to become top enlisted advisor of the Army Reserve.


Women make up 15.2 percent of the Army, up from 9.8 percent 20 years earlier.


SGT Leigh Ann Hester is the first woman to be awarded the Silver Star since World War II and the first ever to be awarded the Silver Star for direct combat action.


SPC. Monica Brown is the first woman in Afghanistan and the second woman since World War II to be awarded the Silver Star.


Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody is the first woman four-star general in military history and the first woman to lead a major Army command.


Sgt. Sherri Gallegher is first woman to win Best Warrior Soldier of the Year.


  • A congressionally directed commission recommends allowing women to serve in combat arms.
  • LTG Patricia Horoho is first woman and first nurse to lead the U.S. Army Medical Command.
  • BG Gwen Bingham is the first woman to serve as quartermaster general and the first African-American woman Quartermaster Corps general.


  • Brig. Gen. Margaret W. Burcham is the first woman to be promoted to general officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
  • The Army opens six combat-related military occupation specialties to women.
  • BG Laura Richardson is the first woman division deputy commander when she joins 1st Cavalry Division.
  • 101st Airborne Division gets first woman chaplain in a combat arms unit.
  • Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody, the first woman to wear four stars, retires.


  • Secretary of Defense rescinds direct ground combat exclusion rule; services to plan to integrate fully by January 2016.
  • Four women to become Army’s first women Abrams tank maintainers.
  • First women soldiers graduate artillery mechanic course.
  • Brig. Gen. Flora D. Darpino is promoted to three stars, and becomes the Army’s 39th Judge Advocate General. She is the first woman in the JAG 236 year history to serve as the top lawyer.


  • Army announces it will open 33,000 positions to women in spring.
  • Army moves toward opening Ranger School to women; chooses women advisors.
  • Army announces it is allocating 160 seats for women in the two-week Army National Guard Training and Assessment Course.
  • More women had volunteered for Ranger School.


  • CPT Marjana Bidwell is first female commander of Regimental Headquarters Company of 3d United States Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard).
  • The first women graduate Ranger School: CPT Kristen Griest, 1LT Shaye Haver, MAJ Lisa Jaster.
  • In December, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announces that beginning in January, 2016, the Pentagon will lift all gender-based restrictions on jobs.


  • In April, the Army names the first 22 women to become officers in infantry and armor fields.
  • BG Joane Mathews is first woman general officer in Wisconsin Army National Guard.
  • Ranger School graduate CPT Kristen Griest is Army’s first woman infantry officer; she is assigned to Fort Benning.
  • COL Cindy Jebb is first woman selected to serve as West Point dean; she is promoted to BG
  • Congress passes and President Obama signs bill allowing female WWII WASPs to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
  • PFC Katherine Beatty is Army’s first female cannoneer.