Women Veterans Recognition Day 2023: June 12 Marks The 75th Anniversary of The Women’s Armed Services Integration Act
On June 12, 1948, President Harry Truman signed into law the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act. This monumental legislation enabled women to serve as permanent, regular members of the armed forces in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and the then recently established Air Force.
Today, the Virginia Department of Veterans Services (DVS) joins with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and with communities across the Commonwealth of Virginia to mark this landmark anniversary and to honor the service of Virginia’s women veterans, past and present.
Since the beginning of our nation’s history, women have served in many crucial capacities. During the American Revolution and the War of 1812, women were responsible for cooking, laundry services and, assisted with medical services. They secured supplies for the Army, provided intelligence on enemy positions, and made gun powder and provided countless other services integral to the mission at hand.
During the Civil War, many women served as nurses and sanitary agents. Other women dressed as men and fought as soldiers until they were discovered and discharged from service.
In World War I, the United States Navy admitted women to their ranks as Yeoman (F). These women initially performed clerical duties, but their duties expanded to include other stateside contributions including service as radio operators, electricians, and pharmacists.
The United States Army needed individuals who could answer telephones, operate radios, and speak the French language. The women who were recruited to perform these services overseas with the United States Army would become known as the Hello Girls. Other women found ways to actively participate in the war; some served with the Red Cross as nurses while others served as ambulance drivers.
Women continued their contributions of military service during World War II through serving in the Women’s Army Corps (WACS), Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service in the United States Navy (WAVES), United States Coast Guard Women’s Reserve (SPARS), and the Women Air Service Pilots (WASPs). By the end of the war, approximately 350,000 women had served overseas and at home.
During the Korean War, 120,000 women served on active duty in the branches of the United States armed forces. During the Vietnam War, women again served in active-duty roles in a growing variety of occupational specialties. Today, women serve and lead in all military occupational specialties, and all branches of military service.
“Virginia has the highest percentage of women veterans to total population of veterans in the nation with over 107,000 women veterans,” said DVS Commissioner Daniel Gade. “Their service has been indispensable, and we will continue to shine light on their collective accomplishments. As we mark this 75th anniversary of women’s integration into the Armed Forces. Our country and our Commonwealth thanks them for the sacrifices that they have made and continue to make to build a stronger, and more secure nation.”
During their transition process and after service, DVS encourages women veterans to contact representatives with the Virginia Women Veterans Program to gain access to resources specifically tailored to support the unique needs of women veterans to include resources on employment, finances, trauma and much more.
About the Virginia Department of Veterans Services
The Virginia Department of Veterans Services (DVS) is a state government agency with more than 40 locations across the Commonwealth of Virginia. DVS traces its history to 1928 and the establishment of the Virginia War Service Bureau to assist Virginia’s World War I veterans. Today, DVS assists veterans and their families in filing claims for federal veterans benefits; provides veterans and family members with linkages to services including behavioral healthcare, housing, employment, education and other programs. The agency operates four long-term care facilities offering in-patient skilled nursing care, Alzheimer’s/memory care, and short-term rehabilitation for veterans; and provides an honored final resting place for veterans and their families at three state veterans cemeteries. It operates the Virginia War Memorial, the Commonwealth’s tribute to Virginia’s men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice from World War II to the present. For more information, please visit www.dvs.virginia.gov.