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West Point's First Women Graduates, Class of 1980

On May 20, 1975, the House of Representatives approved an amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill of 1976, opening the service academies to women. The Senate followed suit on June 6, 1975, and President Ford signed the bill on October 7, 1975.

The first women cadets arrived at West Point on July 7, 1976. Four years later, 62 of those women graduated on May 28, 1980, and were commissioned as second lieutenants.

West Point First Women Graduates, Class of 1980

The first women cadets arrived at West Point on July 7, 1976. Four years later, 62 of those women graduated on May 28, 1980, and were commissioned as second lieutenants. The names of the first women to graduate from the United States Military Academy in the Class of 1980 include:

(Married Names in parenthesis)
2LT Donna Alesch (White)
2LT Shelley Ashworth (Richardson)
2LT Carol Anne Barkalow
2LT Brigid Benya (Lester)
2LT Becky Blyth (Hardy)
2LT Diane Bracey
2LT Janice Calhoun (Meyer)
2LT Karen (Vidya) Cicchini
2LT Ruth Ann Colister
2LT Joy Dallas (Eshelman)
2LT Denise Dawson
2LT Robin Fennessy
2LT Bobbi Fiedler (Prinslow)
2LT Anne Fields (Macdonald)
2LT Mary Elizabeth Flynn (O’Brien)
2LT Brenda Sue Fulton
2LT Kathleen Gerard (Snook)
2LT Katharine Goodland
2LT Mary Gridley
2LT Ellie Griffin
2LT Nancy Gucwa
2LT Joy Harrington
2LT Karen Hinsey (Hobson)
2LT Andrea Hollen
2LT Ann Marie Hughes (Collier)
2LT Debra Johnson
2LT Tammie Kaseman (Watson)
2LT Susan Kellett (Kellett-Forsyth)
2LT Karen Kelly (Stoner)
2LT Karen Kinzler (Strang)
2LT Clare Kirby (Jenkins)
2LT Debra Lewis (Adams)
2LT Danna Maller
2LT Vicki Martin (Lundquist)
2LT Debra McCarthy
2LT Jane McEntee (Coumes)
2LT Sylvia Moran
2LT Amy Muir (Murrell)
2LT Sonya Nikituk (Carter)
2LT Rita Null (Kral)
2LT Marene Nyberg (Allison)
2LT Erin O’Connor (Misner)
2LT Jane Perkins (McKeon)
2LT Lilian Pfluke
2LT Susanne Reichelt (Lamb)
2LT Mary Rosinski (Whitley)
2LT Brynnen Sheets (Hahn)
2LT Kathy Silvia
2LT Joan Smith (Grey)
2LT Dianne Stoddard (Hamilton)
2LT Christi Stevens
2LT Regina Todd
2LT Barbara Treharne
2LT Doris Turner
2LT Terry Tepper (Walters)
2LT Patricia Walker (Locke)
2LT Kathleen Wheless (Gerstein)
2LT Kathy Anne Wildey (Funk)
2LT Carol Young (MacGibbon)
2LT Donna Wright
2LT Kelly Zachgo
2LT Joan-Marie (Zech) Gerth

SGM Grace Mueller

USA (Ret.)

SGM Grace Mueller, USA Retired served on the WAC Foundation and Army Women’s Museum Foundation boards of officers for over 30 years, and was elected to Director Emeritus upon retiring.

Grace was born May 17, 1917 in Cleveland, Ohio. She was working in Batesville, Ind. at the Batesville Casket Company when she heard a radio announcement that the Army was accepting women enlistees. She enlisted Aug. 1, 1942, and was in one of the early basic Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps training classes at Ft. Des Moines, Iowa. She served at Ft. Sheridan, Ill., Ft. Custer, Mich., and Camp Bullis, Tex. before discharge in 1946 as a first lieutenant. She returned home to Indiana, but did not stay long. She reenlisted under an option that allowed former Woman’s Army Corps (WAC) members to rejoin the Army and was assigned to Ft. Meade, Md. With the passage of the Women’s Armed Forces Integration Act in 1948, women were accorded permanent status in the military services. Now a member of the Regular Army, Grace was assigned to the newly established WAC Training Center at Ft. Lee, Va. She subsequently served at Ft. McClellan, Ala., Ft. Myer, Va., Ft. Ord, Calif., and with 8th Army in Yokohama, Japan. Her last assignment, as a sergeant major, was on the staff of the WAC director. She retired in March 1973.

Very active in retirement, she served for 30 years on successive Army Retiree Councils in the Washington, D.C. area. She delivered meals on wheels and was an active member of the Ft. Myer, Va. Chapel. In 2011 she was inducted into the Army Women’s Foundation Hall of Fame, joining other Hall of Fame honorees BG Pat Foote, CSM Cynthia Pritchett, Brig. Gen. Wilma Vaught, and LTC Tammy Duckworth. The women of the West Point Class of 1980 were also inducted in 2011.

She was a long-term WAC Veterans Association member with Northern Virginia Chapter 33 and held many chapter offices, including president (1988-89). She was a charter member of the Women In Military Service For America Memorial Foundation. She’s survived by her nephew Lance Mueller and wife Jamie, her niece Judy Rhodes and husband John, and many other family members and friends.

She was living at the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington, D.C. at the time of her death in 2012. She will be long remembered for her service to her country, her love of family, her dedication to veterans, especially women veterans, and insightful ability to get to the heart of complicated issues.

SGM Grace Mueller
USA (Ret.)