WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE — Highlighting the significant achievements made by American women throughout the history of the United States, March is designated as National Women’s History Month.
American women have struggled throughout history to gain rights for themselves and for many other underrepresented groups in America. To recognize those women who have broken barriers and stereotypes in American history, in 1981 President Reagan issued a proclamation designating the week beginning March 7, 1982, as Women’s History Week. In 1987, after being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project, Congress passed Public Law 100-9, designating the month of March as Women’s History Month.
Many women who have helped pave the way forward have been an integral part to the national defense and military operations. Some of the most notable women are:
Bernice “Bee” Haydu – Haydu served as a pilot in the Women Air Force Service Pilots and when the WASP program was disbanded in 1944, it left the female pilots without rank or benefits for their time served. Haydu led the fight to be recognized as veterans and in 1977, a bill was passed giving WASPs veteran status.
Susan Ahn Cuddy – In 1942, Cuddy was the first Asian-American woman to join the Navy and became the first female to operate flexible-mount or turret-mounted machine guns on an aircraft.
Harriet Pickens and Frances Wills – In 1944, Pickens and Willis received commissions as the first African-American ‘Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service’ officers in the U.S. Navy.
Marilyn Melendez Dykman – In 1991, Dykman transferred from the U.S. Army to become the first Hispanic-American female aviator in the U.S. Coast Guard.
Janet Wolfenbarger – In 2010, Wolfenbarger became the first woman to achieve the rank of four-star general in the U.S. Air Force.
In observance of Women’s History Month, the following events are scheduled:
– 12 p.m. March – Brown bag lunch and learn at the USO. Col. Yvonne Spencer, Air Force Installation and Mission Support Detachment 6 commander, is the guest speaker and will talk about her experience in the Air Force and the importance of women in leadership.
– 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 21 – Women’s Resource Fair at the USO. Various organizations will be on hand to provide information and resources geared towards women.
Both events do not require pre-registration and anyone with base access is invited to attend.
For additional information or questions, contact Women’s History Month committee representative Rachel Stammen at 937-257-3064.