The U.S. Army honors the sacrifices and accomplishments of women who not only shaped our service but also the country. Women play a vital role in today's Army; they are the Soldiers on the front-line; they are leaders, officers and noncommissioned officers standing with our troops; they are members of the United States Army Civilian Corps, as well as employers, spouses, mothers and sisters who are critical members of our Army team. We honor all women for their military and civil service, their support and strength, and their sacrifices to help ensure the freedom and liberty cherished by all Americans. March is National Women's History Month, and we join the nation in an amplified celebration of women's contributions to this nation and the Army Reserve.
Army Reserve female Soldiers continue to prove their capabilities and combat-readiness everyday as part of the total force and the civilian work force. By fully integrating women into all facets of the military, including combat arms, will make the U.S. Armed Forces better and stronger.
Women continue to have a crucial role in current operations and their selfless sacrifices continue to break through gender barriers. "Valor knows no gender," President Barack Obama stated in a statement on lifting the ban on women in combat. In 2013, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta signed a document to lift the Defense Department's ban on women in direct ground combat roles. This historical decision overturned a 1994 Pentagon rule that restricts women from artillery, armor, infantry, and other combat roles and military occupational specialties. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter directed the full integration of women in the Armed Forces following a thirty-day review period required by Congress, Dec. 3, 2015. This allows all military occupational specialties to be open to women as long as they qualify and meet the standards.
Pictured above right: Harriett West Waddy was in the first class of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps Officer Candidate School at Fort Des Moines, Iowa. She served as the WAC Director's advisor on African-American women and was the first African-American woman promoted to the rank of major. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Army Women's Museum)