282,668 Pages

Women's Armed Services Integration Act (Pub.L. 80–625, 62 United States Statutes at Large 356, enacted June 12, 1948) is a United States law that enabled women to serve as permanent, regular members of the armed forces in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and the recently formed Air Force. Prior to this act, women, with the exception of nurses, served in the military only in times of war. During World War II, over 150,000 women had served in the WAVES (the Navy) and the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps and were still serving when the act was enacted.[1] The act limited service of women by excluding them from aircraft and vessels of the Air Force and Navy that might engage in combat.[citation needed]

The Navy swore in its first six women enlistees on July 7, 1948,[2] and later that year commissioned as a lieutenant commander Frances Lois Willoughby, who had served in World War II in the Naval Reserve, its first female doctor.[3] Hundreds began basic training in the Army before the end of the year.[4] The Marine Corps launched its program by inducting some of its women reservists and those who served in the Marine Corps Women's Reserve in World War II. The New York Times referred to them as "'Marinettes'".[5] In October 1949 an Army regulation established that mothers with dependent children were ineligible to serve in the military, and female servicewomen with children under the age of 18 were to be discharged.[citation needed] This regulation remained in place until federal legislation in the 1970s established the inclusion of women with children in the armed forces.[citation needed]

In 1998, a ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Women's Armed Services Act was held at the Women in Military Service for America (WIMSA) Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery. Deputy Secretary of Defense John J. Hamre delivered the keynote address.[6]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  • Evelyn Monahan and Rosemary Neidel-Greenlee, A Few Good Women: America's Military Women from World War I to the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (Vintage, 2011), 231ff., re politics and opposition

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.