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Celebrating Women's History Month

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Adam Willett

The Department of Defense (DoD) is commemorating the 75th Anniversary of World War II by recognizing the contributions and sacrifices made by Service members as well as those who served on the home front.

We pay tribute to the women who undauntedly and courageously contributed to the defense of our nation.

Between 1940 and 1945, the female percentage of the U.S. workforce increased from 27 percent to nearly 37 percent, and by 1945 nearly one out of every four married women worked outside the home. The aviation industry saw the greatest increase in female workers. By 1943, 310,000 women worked in the aircraft industry, representing 65 percent of the industry’s total workforce.

In addition to home front jobs, some 350,000 women joined the Armed Services, serving at home and abroad.

The Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WACs) worked in more than 200 non-combatant jobs stateside and in every theater of the war. By 1945, there were more than 100,000 WACs and 6,000 female officers.

In the Navy, members of Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) provided support stateside. The Coast Guard and Marine Corps soon followed suit.

One of the lesser-known roles women played in the war was provided by the Women’s Air Force Service Pilots (WASPs) who were the first women to fly American military aircraft. More than 1,000 WASPs served, and 38 of them lost their lives during the war. In the image is Maggie Gee. She is a member of the WASPs, and a pilot for B-17 Flying Fortress bombers used to qualify male pilots and to stage mock dogfights for training bomber gunners.

This month, the DoD pays tribute to the women who not only forever changed the course of history but also redefined the United States military.

If you would like more information on how to celebrate diversity in your work area please visit www.deomi.org or contact the 152nd Equal Opportunity Office in BLDG 56 Room 9B, call 775-788-4649, or email Tech. Sgt. Adam Willett, Equal Opportunity (EO) Director, adam.w.willett.mil@mail.mil.