In honor of Veterans Day, a few factoids about some whose service is not always recognized: women. Women have served the United States Army Since the American Revolution in 1775, serving as battlefield nurses, water bearers, cooks, and laundresses.
Fast forward more than 200 years and women have clearly come a long way. The 1990s in particular were big for women in the military. The first Navy woman assumed command of a ship in 1991. Congress repealed the law banning women from duty on combat ships in 1993. By 1999, the first African-American woman had been selected to command a Navy ship and the first woman and first African-American commanded the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Corps (NOAA).
Today, women make up about 20 percent of the U.S. military and though they have worked their way up through the ranks to high-ranking positions across all the branches of military, they still face challenges slightly different from most working mothers in particular. The Virginian-Pilot newspaper did a great article on a challenge that faces many new moms: how to breastfeed after returning to work. But as the article points out, "For military moms, there's extra duty: Breast-feeding."
For all those who serve, past and present, thank you.