Remembering a Turning Point for Women in the Military

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MASON CITY, IA – Tuesday was an important day in history for women in the National Guard.

Florence Blanchfield, a United States Army Colonel and Superintendent of the Army Nursing Corps, was the first ever woman to be granted regular Army commission and a permanent military title in on July 9th, 1947.

Before Blanchfield fought for the laws that would allow the Nurse Corps to be a permanent military title, nurses were injured and taken prisoner of war just as men were but were not granted the same rights as their male counterparts.

The advance for women to become eligible for promotions and higher rankings has been an ongoing conquest.

Women in the Armed Forces today have overcome battles of their own including getting into an area of the armed forces that was off limits until just a few years ago.

Staff Sgt. Katy Wise from the Iowa National Guard Readiness Center said, “it’s nice because the females can kind of compete in different things and especially with the opening up of the combat arms, there’s more room for advancement there and advancement in rank.”

According to the Associated Press the amendment that was approved in the bill lifted the ban on women serving in combat.

The passing of this amendment made hundreds of thousands of positions available for women who wanted to serve on the front-line.

It also provided women with the opportunity to be considered for promotions and gain prestigious commanding positions.

According to the women’s memorial, there are over 15 thousand women veterans in Iowa and over 23 thousand women veterans in Minnesota.

“I’ve had a lot of female officers that were in charge of me and I think they’re great leaders and there are a lot of enlisted leaders as well and I’ve always looked up to all of them,” said Staff Sgt. Wise.

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