Sgt. 1st Class Juanita Wilson (shown at right) accepted a Senate Resolution to recognize the accomplishments of women in the military on Capitol Hill last Thursday, at a Joint Services Women’s History Month Observance. The resolution – introduced by Sen. Barbara Boxer of California – aims to do five things: “to acknowledge the contributions of women in the military, celebrate the role women play, recognize the unique challenges women face, to strengthen programs for women and to honor women veterans.”
As reported by the Army News Service, “‘I wouldn’t have thought that six years down the road, someone would be thinking about me,’ Wilson said of her surprise at being asked to accept the resolution. Boxer’s office said the senator introduced the resolution because she wanted to highlight the accomplishments, contributions, and sacrifices of women like Wilson in the military.”
This Wednesday, surviving members of the Women Airforce Service Pilots, or WASP , program will be honored with a special WASP Congressional Gold Medal, created just last year by Congress and President Obama. Fewer than 300 WASPs are still alive, making this ceremony particularly poignant.
The LA Times show how much has changed since the era of the WASPs: “One of the pilots attending will be [Carol] Brinton — now Carol Brinton Selfridge (shown at left), 92, and living in Santa Barbara. ‘They didn’t even let us join the Army,’ said Selfridge in an interview conducted on Skype. ‘We were private citizens.'” Selfridge’s granddaughter Air Force Lt. Col. Christy Kayser-Cook, however, values that women like her grandmother paved the way. “When Kayser-Cook was commissioned, two people pinned on her bars — her great-uncle, who had been an Air Force pilot during the war, and her grandmother. ‘She was always ahead of her time,’ Kayser-Cook said. ‘She only got to fly props and she was jealous that I got to fly jets.'”
We salute the service and sacrifice of these women and all women who have served our nation. Stay tuned for more stories throughout National Women’s History Month.