Although, women weren’t granted the right to serve as permanent, regular members of the armed forces until 1948, they played an important role during times of war.
Texas recognizes, June 12th as Women Veterans Day to remember their triumphs and struggles.
Forbidden from combat but refusing to stand completely on the sidelines women served as spies, conveying messages to American troops during the Revolutionary War.
Then, when the Civil War started, more than 400 women disguised themselves as men and fought on the frontlines.
“In World War One we saw more women participating in the military again usually in-service type of occupations, nurses clerks things like that,” Dr. Perry Gilmore with the Texas Panhandle War Memorial said.
World War II gave women an opportunity to perform jobs that were then strictly reserved for men, such as building tanks, guns and bullets. Even flying military aircraft from manufacturing plants to combat sites.
Still, during Vietnam most women in uniform were volunteers. It wasn’t until the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps and rise of the feminist movement in the 1940s that together increased parity.
“That’s when you really saw women taking advantage of this opportunity to be more than just your housewives and wives serving their husbands or counterparts,” Catherine Smith, West Texas Women Veteran Coordinator for Texas Veterans Commission said.
Catherine Smith and Cynthia Lendof, both veterans themselves and Veteran Coordinator’s for Texas Veterans Commission said June 12 unites them through their service and struggles.
“The thing that really corelates to all of us is the struggle that we had when we got out,” Lendof said.
Lendof added women go years without claiming medical, education and veteran benefits.
“That is one of the reasons why the women veterans program at the Texas Veterans Commission was created so we would be proud of our service we would understand our benefits,” Smith said.
Today, women are now serving shoulder to shoulder with men and are eligible to fill 80% of military jobs.
For assistance with benefits or to connect with other women veterans you can visit the Texas Veterans Commissions website.