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The Strongest Military Women In History

It's March, which means it's none other than International Women’s History Month. And to celebrate the militant women of our history, I present to you women who broke the standards, who pushed equality, and who shattered the ‘standards’ of femininity.

1. Private Cathay Williams

Williams was a Black woman who lived during the Civil War. She wanted to fight and help her country, yet she was denied that basic right, so she enlisted in secret under the pseudonym, William Cathay. Women like Williams had to lie, fight, and do all they could just to do what men could. She remained undercover for several years until falling ill in her division in New Mexico, where she was discovered to be a woman and honorably discharged. She went on to become a seamstress and lived peacefully until she passed in 1893 as the first woman to serve in the US Army as a buffalo soldier.

2. Colonel Mary Hallaren

Hallaren was the first women to ever join the WACS (The Women's Auxiliary Army Corps). She commanded the largest all-female unit overseas. She regularly fought and advocated for the rights for all women to join the military, even during peacetime. She wanted all women to be able to fight, no matter what. When doubted due to her height, she said, "You don't have to be six feet tall to have a brain that works.” Mary Hallaren passed away in 2005 at ninety seven years old.

3. Lieutenant General Patricia Horoho

Horoho was a nurse in the army who became the first woman nominated and confirmed as an Army Surgeon General. Horoho is recognized for aiding more than seventy individuals who were hurt during the terrorist attacks on September 11th. She also helped create more efficient treatment for soldiers that is still used today.

4. Admiral Michelle Howard

Howard was the first ever Black woman to command a Navy vessel, commanding the USS Rushmore. She also fought in battles including Desert Storm and Desert Shield. Recently, Howard became the first woman to become a four star admiral. Women like Howard are prime examples that you can do anything you set your mind too, things that others never see as possible. She not only was in the U.S. Navy, she also has a master's degree in Military Arts and Sciences.

5. Major Annie G. Fox

Fox was the first ever woman to ever receive a Purple Heart due to her actions as the head nurse in Hickam Field, Hawaii, during Pearl Harbor. She showed courage and strength while helping countless victims, far more than their 30-bed facility could handle. She not only received a Purple Heart, but when the military changed the regulations for the recipients of the Purple Heart, she was awarded with a Bronze Star Medal in 1944. Fox passed away at the age of 93 in 1987.

6. Lieutenant Colonel Marcella Hayes Ng

Ng was the first African American woman to be a pilot in the U.S. Military. Ng was an ROTC Cadet at the University of Wisconsin before joining the Army, and she was the 55th woman to ever receive her pilot wings. In 1979, Ng was assigned to the 394th Transportation Battalion in Germany, being the first Black woman soldier and the first woman leader. She retired in 2000 as a Lieutenant Colonel.

7. Colonel Ruby Bradley

Bradley is one of the most decorated women in U.S. history. She was taken prisoner after the attacks on Pearl Harbor and kept as a Japanese prisoner for 37 months. During her captivity, she helped heal and mitigate the pain of those who were hurt and sacrificed her meals by smuggling food to those who did not get enough. When the camp was liberated in 1945, she weighed less than ninety pounds. Bradley served for thirty years, retiring in 1963 with 34 total decorations, awards, and medals.

8. Major Christy Wise

Wise is a pilot who lost her leg in an accident unrelated to flying a few years after graduating from the Air Force Academy. Despite her disability, she made history as the first female amputee to return to flying after her accident, continuing to fly in the Air Force.

During a time when serving your country as a woman was outlawed or taboo, these incredible women broke the standards. Now, women from all over are able to join the military. Happy Women’s History Month to these incredible women, as well as to all the women who don’t get a spotlight, women who raise families, women who work nonstop, and the women doing it all. These brave women are icons for everyone; they faced struggles like no other, proving that we can do anything we set our minds to.



Milunka Savić CMG was a Serbian war heroine who fought in the Balkan Wars and in World War I. She is the most-decorated female combatant in the history of warfare.. Wikipedia

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