BATON ROUGE – Women have served, either formally or informally, in America’s military since our country’s founding, and the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs (LDVA) would like to recognize their service and acknowledge their sacrifice today.
On 12 June 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed into law the Woman’s Armed Services Integration Act, allowing women to serve as permanent, regular members of the military.
President Truman signing the executive order that desegregated the U.S. armed forces allowed Congress to pass the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act.
The act authorized regular and reserve status for women in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and the recently formed Air Force. Before then, and except for nurses, women could not serve in the regular forces in peacetime.
Since the Revolutionary War, women have been serving in our armed forces in some capacity. By World War II, women put on military uniforms and served in all branches.
On the home front, women helped keep factories and offices running, yet in the aftermath of the war were told it was time to return to the kitchens and parlors of America’s homes.
“We could not continue to fight for freedom and liberty overseas while ignoring the principles of justice and opportunity at home,” said LDVA Secretary Joey Strickland when referencing the importance of the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act.
“We are stronger because of the women who have chosen to serve our great nation,” says Strickland. “Our Department values the contributions that women in uniform have made to both our state and country, and we are proud that our contact assistance section is made up of 39.6 percent female Veterans.”
Today, there are over 214,000 women serving faithfully and honorably in every rank and military occupational specialty. That is 14.6% of the total active-duty military.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) predicted that by 2020 women veterans will comprise nearly 11 percent of the total veteran population.
Today there are over 1.8 million female veterans who work in a myriad of positions in the civilian sector and who continue to give back to their communities. Here in Louisiana, we have approximately 28, 737 of those female Veterans living among us.
The LDVA will work with state legislators in the coming year to introduce a Women Veteran’s Day bill that would commemorate the sacrifices of and the valor displayed by Louisiana Women Veterans making June 12, 2019 the official “Louisiana Women Veterans Day” followed by a resource summit.
We owe our thanks, support, and respect, to all of the women that have served and are currently serving these United States of America. They have traveled a long and sometimes difficult road in order to reach their destinations. Thank you all for what you’ve done for us.