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Women's History Month:US Army 6888th Central Postal Directory BattalionStory posted at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/688...

Women's History Month:

US Army 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion

Story posted at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/6888th_Central_Postal_Directory_Battalion

Members of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion take part in a May 1945 parade
ceremony in honor of Joan d'Arc at the marketplace where she was [martyred]. – photo posted
at www.wikipedia.org

"Somewhere in England, Maj. Charity E. Adams,...and Capt. Abbie N. Campbell,...inspect the first contingent of Negro members of the Women's Army Corps assigned to overseas service.", 2/15/1945 – photo posted at https://www.history.com/news/black-woman-army-unit-mail-world-war-ii

The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, nicknamed the "Six Triple Eight", was an all-black battalion of the Women's Army Corps (WAC). The 6888th had 855 black women, both enlisted and officers, and was led by Major Charity Adams. It was the only all-black, all-female battalion overseas during World War II. The group motto was "No mail, low morale".

The battalion was organized into five companies, Headquarters, Company A, Company B, Company C, and Company D. Most of the 6888th worked as postal clerks, but others were cooks, mechanics and held other support positions, so that the 6888th was a self-sufficient unit.

During World War II, there was a significant shortage of soldiers who were able to manage the postal service for the U.S. Army overseas. In 1944, Mary McLeod Bethune worked to get the support of first lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, for "a role for black women in the war overseas." Black newspapers, too, challenged the U.S. Army to "use black women in meaningful Army jobs."

The women who signed up went to basic training in Georgia. Women who were already in the WAC, like Alyce Dixon, served at different locations, including the Pentagon, before they joined the 6888th.

The 6888th left the United States on February 3, 1945, sailing on Île de France and arriving in Glasgow on February 12. Île de France encountered several German U-boats on the trip, forcing the ship to take evasive maneuvers. The same day the battalion was transported by train to Birmingham., on 15 February, the battalion was inspected and marched in review before Lt. Gen. John C. H. Lee, Commanding General, Communications Zone, European Theater of Operations (ETO), and Maj Gen. Robert McGowan Littlejohn, Chief Quartermaster, ETO, part of whose command was mail.

When the 6888th settled in at Birmingham, "they saw letters stacked to the ceiling of the temporary post office." The temporary post office was located in converted hangars. Some letters had been in the makeshift offices for as long as two years.

Army officials believed that undelivered mail was "hurting morale." Many letters and packages were difficult to source, as they were addressed with only the first name of the soldier, had a commonly used name or used nicknames.

Early in the operation, a white general attempted to send a white officer to "tell them how to do it right," but Major Adams responded, "Sir, over my dead body, sir!" The battalion finished what was supposed to be a six-month task in three months in May 1945.

The 6888th devised their own system to handle the backlog of mail. The women of the 6888th worked in three different shifts, seven days a week, processing and delivering mail – a morale booster – to fighting troops in Europe. Each shift handled an estimated 65,000 pieces of mail. It was cold when they arrived, and women wore long underwear and coats in the unheated buildings.

The 6888th was a segregated unit, sleeping and eating in different locations from the white, male soldiers. They were housed in a former school building, with officers quartered in houses nearby. Some women felt that European "locals" treated them better than people did in the United States.

A chaplain working at Birmingham caused problems for Adams, ordering her soldiers not to report to work, but to report to his office, causing them to be AWOL. Adams had to "'counsel' him to let the women alone," reminding him that she was in charge of the women's assignments.

Once the backlog in Birmingham had been dealt with, the 6888th were shipped across the Channel to Le Havre in May 1945 and then were entrained to Rouen. The 6888th dealt with another backlog of mail in Rouen, some of the letters three years old. The military police in the WAC unit were not allowed to have weapons, so they used jujitsu to keep out "unwanted visitors." They also participated in a parade ceremony at the place where Joan of Arc died.

By October 1945, the mail in Rouen had been cleared and the 6888th was sent to Paris. They marched through Paris and were housed in a luxurious hotel, where they received first-class treatment. During this time, because the war was over, the battalion was reduced by 300 women, with 200 due to be discharged in January 1946.

In February 1946, the unit returned to the United States where it was disbanded at Fort Dix, New Jersey. There was no public recognition for their service at the time.

Members of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion were awarded the European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal during their service.

On February 25, 2009, the battalion was honored at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. The event was attended by three former unit members of the 6888th including Alyce Dixon, Mary Ragland, and Gladys Shuster Carter. Dixon and Ragland were also honored by President Barack Obama and first lady, Michelle Obama in 2009.

On March 15, 2016, the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion was inducted into the U.S. Army Women's Foundation Hall of Fame. Battalion veteran Elsie Garris attended the Induction Ceremony.

On November 30, 2018, Fort Leavenworth dedicated a monument to the women of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion. Five women from the battalion - Maybeel Campbell, Elizabeth Johnson, Lena King, Anna Robertson, and Deloris Ruddock - were present at the dedication.

Dallas County Veteran Services

Dallas County Veteran Services

Women's History Month:Sergeant Danielle Farber, Pennsylvania National Guard and Staff Sergeant Jessica Smiley, South Car...

Women's History Month:

Sergeant Danielle Farber, Pennsylvania National Guard and Staff

Sergeant Jessica Smiley, South Carolina National Guard

Photo and story posted on 12/16/2019 at https://www.armytimes.com/news/your-army/2019/12/16/first-female-army-guard-enlisted-soldiers-graduate-ranger-school/

Sgt. Danielle Farber, Pennsylvania National Guard, Staff Sgt. Jessica Smiley, South Carolina National Guard, graduate U.S. Army Ranger School at Fort Benning, Georgia, Dec. 13, 2019. (Sgt. Brian Calhoun/Army)
The first enlisted female National Guard soldiers recently graduated the rigorous Army Ranger School, joining the ranks of a handful of officer and enlisted female graduates.

Staff Sgt. Jessica Smiley and Sgt. Danielle Faber, with the South Carolina Army National Guard and Pennsylvania Army National Guard, respectively, completed the school on Dec. 13.

“My mindset going into this was to leave 100 percent on the table and never have a regret or look back and say, ‘I should have pushed harder or I should have done something different,’” said Smiley in a Guard statement. “My mindset today is that I did just that. I gave 100 percent. I did everything that I could, and now here I am.”

Two female Army officers were the first to make it through the school in 2015, when Capt. Kristen Griest and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver succeeded. In 2018, Army Guard 1st Lt. Emily Lilly graduated as the first female Guard officer.

The first female enlisted graduate was Staff Sgt. Amanda Kelley, also in 2018, according to the statement.

Smiley said that it wasn’t a matter of she and the other graduates, “charting a course” to complete the school but instead that women had not previously been allowed to attempt the school due to the ban on women in combat arms.

“There’s many women out there who are completely capable of doing it,” said Smiley. “Do it. ... Put in the hard work, put in the dedication to accomplish the goal.”

The pair can attest to the effort, and setbacks, that come with attempting the grueling training.

Farber started working toward the goal in 2016, when she first attempted the Pennsylvania Ranger/Sapper state assessment program but was not selected. The sergeant tried again in 2018 and was selected.

“Train hard for it,” said Farber. “Come into it knowing you’re going to be doing things that every other male that comes through here has to do. Don’t come through here and expect any sort of special treatment because it won't happen.”

The first female enlisted soldier to graduate Ranger School, Kelley, said in an Army statement in August that spent five months preparing and studying while deployed in Iraq.

Since the first female officers graduated in 2015, more than 30 female soldiers have earned the Ranger tab.

“Soldiers need to understand that sometimes things you had planned change,” she said. “So just be open-minded to new things and don’t be scared to go after things that seem impossible. Because nothing’s impossible if somebody’s done it before you.”

Since 2016, more than 1,200 female soldiers have entered combat career fields such as field artillery, armor and infantry, according to the Army statement

Women's History Month:Captain Holly Harrison, US Coast GuardPhotos sourced as noted below and story by Chief Petty Offic...

Women's History Month:

Captain Holly Harrison, US Coast Guard

Photos sourced as noted below and story by Chief Petty Officer Sara Muir of U.S. Coast Guard District 14 and posted on 5/28/2019 at https://www.pacom.mil/Media/News/News-Article-View/Article/1859109/coast-guard-welcomes-new-commanding-officer-to-helm-of-us-coast-guard-cutter-ki/

Photo of then Commander Harrison, USCG from www.usni.org

Photo posted at https://www.pacom.mil/Media/News/News-Article-View/Article/1859109/coast-guard-welcomes-new-commanding-officer-to-helm-of-us-coast-guard-cutter-ki/
HONOLULU, Hawaii -- Capt. Holly Harrison took over command of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Kimball (WMSL 756) from Capt. David Ramassini in a change of command ceremony at Coast Guard Base Honolulu, Saturday. Vice Adm. Linda Fagan, commander, Coast Guard Pacific Area presided over the event.

Harrison is arriving from Washington D.C. where she served as the executive assistant to the director of the Coast Guard Investigative Service. A native of Virginia, Harrison graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 1995. Her first assignment was as a deck watch officer aboard USCGC Storis (WMEC 38) in Kodiak, Alaska. She served in the Coast Guard 14th District previously as executive officer of USCGC Kiska (WPB 1309) while in Hilo.

Her other afloat assignments include commanding officer of USCGC Aquidneck (WPB 1336) first in North Carolina and later in Bahrain, executive officer of USCGC Legare (WMEC 912) in Portsmouth, Virginia, and USCGC Northland (WMEC 904) also in Portsmouth.

Her shoreside assignments include protocol officer for the commandant of the Coast Guard, senior instructor of the Maritime Boarding Officer School in Yorktown, Virginia, before establishing the Maritime Law Enforcement Academy in Charleston and serving as executive officer. She was responsible for strategic oversight, policy formulation, and Congressional briefings for programs representing $2.7 billion of the service’s operating base as a program reviewer in the Office of Budget and Programs. She served as a strategic analyst in the Strategic Management and Doctrine Directorate, and her research as the Coast Guard’s first national security affairs fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution focused on the Arctic and sexual assault prevention. She then served a year-long detail in the Office of Management and Budget’s National Security Division as a program examiner for the Department of Veterans Affairs, followed by an assignment at Coast Guard Headquarters as the Coast Guard’s Drug and Migrant Interdiction chief in the Office of Law Enforcement.

Operational highlights include her leadership in March 2003, aboard Aquidneck during the invasion of Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Under Harrison’s command, Aquidneck and her dedicated crew conducted innumerable maritime interdiction, search and rescue, escort and combat-related operations in the Northern Arabian Gulf. In 2003, Harrison received recognition for these achievements, becoming the first female in service history to receive the Bronze Star Medal in addition to her record as the first woman to command a Coast Guard cutter in combat. In 2010, Harrison was chosen by the president to serve as of one of 13 White House Fellows for a year during which she served as a senior advisor to the Administrator of NASA and acting Deputy Chief of Staff of NASA. She holds a master’s degree in public policy from Princeton University, and a second master’s degree in educational technology leadership from George Washington University. Mast recently Harrison earned a certificate in national security and foreign policy from MIT. She has also served as a volunteer firefighter and EMT.

Women's History Month:Major General Jeannie Leavitt, US Air ForcePhoto and story posted in www.wikipedia.org  Jeannie Ma...

Women's History Month:

Major General Jeannie Leavitt, US Air Force

Photo and story posted in www.wikipedia.org

Jeannie Marie Leavitt (née Flynn; born c. 1967) is a United States Air Force general officer. She became the U.S. Air Force's first female fighter pilot in 1993, and was the first woman to command a USAF combat fighter wing.

Leavitt was born in St. Louis, Missouri, to James, who was enlisted in the Air Force, and Pat Flynn. She attended Bishop DuBourg High School, a private Roman Catholic school in St. Louis. After graduating in 1985 and before joining the Air Force, she earned a BS degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and a MS degree in aeronautics and astronautics from Stanford University in California.

Leavitt began her Undergraduate Pilot Training at Laughlin Air Force Base in Texas in 1992. She was being trained as a T-38 instructor pilot at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio when restrictions on women flying combat missions were dropped in April 1993. Thereafter she began formal combat training in the McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle, becoming the service's first female fighter pilot.

Leavitt's F-15 flight hours have included 300 combat hours, mostly over Afghanistan and Iraq. On one mission, during Operation Southern Watch in 1996, she supported a Royal Air Force Tornado GR1 under threat from an Iraqi Roland surface-to-air missile.

From 2002 to 2010, Leavitt earned three master's degrees; a Master of Business Administration from Auburn University in Alabama (2002), a Master of Military Operational Art and Science from the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base (2004), and a Master of National Security Strategy from the National War College (2010).

Leavitt's first command was the 333d Fighter Squadron at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina. She was appointed Commander of the 4th Fighter Wing, at the same base in June 2012.

In June 2014, Leavitt relinquished command of the 4th Fighter Wing to become principal military assistant to the Secretary of Defense in Washington, D.C.

In 2016, Leavitt became the first woman to take control of the 57th Wing at Nellis Air Force Base, and was promoted to brigadier general.

In June 2018, Leavitt relinquished command of the 57th Wing to become commander of the Air Force Recruiting Service at Randolph Air Force Base, Joint Base San Antonio, in Texas.

Leavitt is married to retired USAF Col. Craig Leavitt, and they have two children.

Women's History Month:Captain Kathleen McGrath, US NavyPhoto from www.google.com and story posted by Elaine Woo on 10/3/...

Women's History Month:

Captain Kathleen McGrath, US Navy

Photo from www.google.com and story posted by Elaine Woo on 10/3/2002 at www.latimes.com

Photo of then Commander McGrath, USN

Capt. Kathleen McGrath, who made history as the first woman to command a Navy warship, died of lung cancer Sept. 26[, 2002] at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. She was 50.

In the spring of 2000, McGrath led the frigate Jarrett and its crew of 262 from San Diego to the Persian Gulf to intercept oil smugglers. She had taken the helm of the ship in 1998, four years after Congress relaxed the rules that had barred women from combat ships.

Her command marked a milestone in the history of what had been a man’s Navy for two centuries.

Progress began slowly in 1948, when women were allowed to enlist in the regular Navy. The first women entered the Naval Academy almost 30 years later, in 1976. A woman took command of a noncombat ship for the first time in 1990.

Three years after the Air Force’s groundbreaking decision to let women fly combat jets, the Navy in 1994 made women eligible to command warships.

McGrath was one of five women given combat ship commands in 1998. Four were assigned to lightly armed amphibious transport vessels; McGrath got a warship capable of massive firepower.

Although one of the smallest warships in the Navy fleet, the Jarrett carried 1,100-pound Standard missiles, powerful enough to destroy enemy aircraft from 20 miles away. It also had Harpoon missiles, two Seahawk helicopters, torpedoes and anti-aircraft weaponry.

McGrath told Time magazine she did not view the job as an opportunity to prove that she could be as tough as a male commander.

“I don’t try to emulate a man, nor do I try to do what a guy would do,” said McGrath, a mother of two who played the violin in her stateroom for relaxation. “I have to be myself.”

Born in Columbus, Ohio, she was the daughter of a 29-year Air Force veteran who spent her teenage years at a U.S. base on Guam while her father flew B-52 bombers over North Vietnam.

After high school she studied forestry at Cal State Sacramento, and earned a degree in 1975. She spent the next several years with the U.S. Forest Service.

When she grew restive in that work, her father encouraged her to consider the military.

Intending to continue a family tradition, she went to the Air Force recruiting office in Merced, Calif. But when she found that the Air Force recruiter was out to lunch, she impulsively stopped at the Navy office--and signed up.

She attended naval officers’ school in Newport, R.I., and was commissioned in 1980. While assigned to a Navy personnel office in Yokosuka, Japan, she arranged to ride on a support vessel where she was allowed to stand watch, participate in a man-overboard exercise and drive the ship. Later, she sailed out of Yokosuka on a visiting frigate. It was a thrilling experience that led her to dream of one day commanding a warship.

After initially being turned down, she was admitted to the Surface Warfare Officers School, which trained her to serve on an oiler, tender or other auxiliary vessel. She served on four support ships from 1983 to 1994, including commanding the Recovery, a rescue and salvage ship.

During this period she earned a master’s degree in education from Stanford University.

When Congress opened warships to women in 1994, she paid her dues for a few years, working in the Navy’s personnel bureau in Washington, and then helping to manage a destroyer squadron based in San Diego.

A week before Christmas in 1998, she was given command of the Jarrett.

“It’s an understatement that I’m delighted,” she said in a short speech after taking charge of the combat ship.

Paul Stillwell, a historian at the Naval Institute at Annapolis, Md., said the importance of McGrath’s promotion cannot be overstated.

“It was a huge breakthrough, given the tradition-bound nature of the Navy,” he said by phone Wednesday.

Said Jean A. Ebbert, coauthor with Marie-Beth Hall of “Crossed Currents, Navy Women in a Century of Change”: “The command at sea of a warship is the most meaningful thing that a naval officer can do. It happened [to McGrath] because she was prepared.”

McGrath told an interviewer that the only special accommodation made for her on the Jarrett was removing the spring-loaded, always-up toilet seat in her cabin’s head.

In addition to searching for oil smugglers, she led the ship during search and rescue operations for a downed Marine CH-46 helicopter and for Alaska Airlines Flight 261, which crashed into the ocean off the Ventura County coast in January 2000, killing all 88 aboard. Her deployments took her to the Mediterranean and Caribbean, the Western Pacific and the Persian Gulf.

As commander, she was credited with breaking down traditional barriers between enlisted men and officers. Soon after becoming captain of the Jarrett, she hosted a mixed-rank barbecue in honor of five new chief petty officers.

When her tour as commander was up, she served at the Joint Advanced Warfighting Unit in Alexandria, Va.

Rear Adm. Harry Ulrich, director of surface warfare, called McGrath “an accomplished surface warrior and leader” who embodied the Navy’s values of honor, courage and commitment.

She was married to a Navy officer, Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Brandon. Before she went to sea with the Jarrett, she and Brandon took time off to start a family, adopting two Russian toddlers, Nicholas and Clare, in 1999. Brandon, who retired in 1996, was their primary caretaker while she was away.

McGrath won many medals during her career, including the Legion of Merit, four Meritorious Service Medals and three Navy Commendation Medals.

In addition to her husband and children, she is survived by three sisters, two brothers and her parents, James and Martha McGrath of Sequim, Wash.


2377 N Stemmons Fwy, Ste 631
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