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Because of his injuries and hypothermia, he could not communicate with his rescuer. To complicate matters, the pilot was ensnarled in the shrouds of his parachute. Mogk had to dive under repeatedly to free the shrouds from the disabled pilot. She put her own life at risk when she removed her gloves in order to expedite the removal of the shrouds, exposing herself to hypothermic affects of the water seeping into her wet suit. After she freed the pilot for hook recovery up to the helicopter, she was left alone in the rough, cold sea to wait for a backup helicopter to pick her up, so that the recovery helicopter could quickly get the recovered pilot to medical treatment facilities. Consequently, Mogk had to fight the quick acting effects of hypothermia until the backup helicopter picked her up. After recovery, she collapsed from the affects of hypothermia and physical injuries incurred in the rescue. Because of her courageous example, Mogk immensely enhanced the reputation of the Coast Guard rescue swimmer program. (58:17-33) Deborah Samson A courageous “Minutewoman” In October 1778, Deborah Samson of Plymouth Massachusetts disguised herself as a young man and presented herself to the American Continental Army as a willing volunteer to fight for independence from the British. She enlisted as Robert Shirtliffe and served in the 4th Massachusetts Regiment in the company of Captain Nathan Thayer.
The attending physician, Dr. Binney, of Philadelphia, discovered her sexual identity charade, but said nothing. Instead he had her taken to his own home where she would receive better care.
Stories have it that when her health was restored the doctor met with her commanding officer and subsequently an order was issued for Robert Shirtliffe to carry a letter to General Washington. When the order came for her to deliver a letter into the hands of the CommanderIn-Chief, she knew that her deception was over. She presented herself at the headquarters of General Washington. Washington, to spare her embarrassment, said nothing. In silence Washington handed Deborah Samson a discharge from the Service, a note with some words of advice, and a sum of money sufficient to bear her expenses home. (34) After the war Deborah Samson married Benjamin Gannett of Sharon and they had three children. During George Washington's presidency, she received a letter inviting Robert Shirtliffe, or rather Mrs. Gannett, to visit Washington. During her stay at the Capital, a bill was
Cheryl Stearns A jump ahead of physical capability stereotypes One of the finest skydiver and parachutist athletes in the world, Cherly Stearns was invited to join as the first woman member of the U.S. Army's elite Golden Knights skydiving team. In 1977, Stearns enlisted in the Army and served two three-year enlistment tours with the Golden Knights, emerging as one of the team's foremost performers. The Golden Knights swept national and international awards while she was on the team. While at Fort Bragg, she was a flight instructor and went on to receive her baccalaureate degree, Magna Cum Laude, from EmbryRiddle University, in Aeronautical Administration and Aeronautical Science. She was awarded three Meritorious Service medals and six Army commendation medals and left the Army in
1985. She continued to serve the National Guard and is a pilot for a commercial airline. (6:114) Stearns holds more titles and world records than any other skydiver, man or woman. By 1991, she held 13 U.S. Women's Overall National Championships, 11 world titles, 30 world records, and multiple international military parachuting titles. (6:114) Stearns erased physical capability stereotypes regarding women. Her accomplishments with the Golden Knights have become tangible evidence that women can capably fulfill military missions traditionally reserved for men. (6:114) Mary Walker, M.D. (1832-1919) Only female Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Mary Edwards Walker, one of the nation's nearly two million women veterans, is the only one to be awarded the U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor for battlefield valor in service rendered during the American Civil War. (48) (59:24) (9) Controversy surrounded Mary Edwards Walker throughout her life. She was born on November 26, 1832 in the Town of Oswego, New York, into an abolitionist family. Her father was a freethinking participant in many of the reform movements that thrived in upstate New York during the mid 1800s. He believed strongly in education and equality for his five daughters. He also believed they were hampered by the tight-fitting women's clothing of the day. Mary became an early enthusiast for women's rights, and passionately espoused the issue of dress reform. Later in her life she donned full men's evening dress to lecture on women's rights.
(48) In 1855, at the age of 23, Mary, the only woman in her class, joined the tiny number of women doctors in the nation when she graduated from the Syracuse Medical College, the nation's first medical school (one which accepted women and men on an equal basis). She graduated after 18 months of medical study (at an expenditure of $253.50). This was during a time when American society greatly resisted acceptance of women physicians. (59:24-25) (48) In 1856 she married another physician, Albert Miller, wearing trousers and a man's coat and kept her own name. Together they set up a medical practice in upstate Rome, NY, but the public was not ready to accept a woman physician, and their practice floundered. They were divorced 13 years later.
Women's History Month 2001: Inspiring Stories of Vision and Courage 15 When the Civil War broke out, she came to Washington in the fall of 1861 just after the first battle of Bull Run, and tried to join the Union Army. Without waiting for the outcome, she volunteered to care for wounded and sick soldiers in Washington. (59:27) Denied a commission as a medical officer, she continued to volunteer anyway, serving as an acting assistant surgeonthe first female surgeon in the Army. Later, she worked as a field surgeon near the Union front lines for almost two years (including Fredericksburg and in Chattanooga after the Battle of Chickamauga). (48) In September 1863, Walker was finally appointed an assistant surgeon in the Army of the Cumberland, for which she made herself a slightly modified officer's uniform to wear in response to the demands of traveling with the soldiers and working in field hospitals. She was then appointed assistant surgeon of the 52nd Ohio Infantry. During this assignment it is generally accepted that she also served as a spy. She continually crossed Confederate lines to treat civilians. She was taken prisoner in 1864 by Confederate troops and imprisoned in Richmond for four months. (48) A Confederate Captain described the scene to his wife as Dr.
Walker was marched to prison in Richmond:
... were all amused and disgusted... at the sight of a thing that nothing but the debased and depraved Yankee nation could produce... she was dressed in the full uniform of a Federal surgeon... not good looking and of course had tongue enough for a regimen of men... she would be more at home in a lunatic asylum.
(59:28) She was exchanged, woman for man, for a Confederate surgeon on August 12, 1864. (59:29) She was released back to the 52nd Ohio Infantry as a contract surgeon but spent the rest of the war practicing at a Louisville female prison and an orphan's asylum in Tennessee. She was paid $432.36 for her wartime service. Afterward, she got a monthly pension of $8.50 for a wartime injury that occurred while she was a prisoner of war. That pension was later raised to $20 in 1899, but was still less than some widows' pensions. (59:29-30) (48) On November 11, 1865, President Johnson signed a bill to present Dr. Mary Edwards Walker with the Congressional Medal of Honor for Meritorious Service, in order to recognize her contributions to the war effort without awarding her an Army commission. She was the only woman ever to receive the Medal of Honor, the country's highest military award. (48) Citation
WALKER, DR. MARY E.
Rank and organization: Contract Acting Assistant Surgeon (civilian), U. S. Army.
Places and dates: Battle of Bull Run, July 21, 1861; Patent Office Hospital, Washington, D.C., October 1861; Chattanooga, Tenn., following Battle of Chickomauga, September 1863; Prisoner of War, April 10, 1864 to August 12, 1864, Richmond, Va.; Battle of Atlanta, September 1864.
Entered service at Louisville, Ky. Born: 26 November 1832, Oswego County, N.Y.
♦ Whereas it appears from official reports that Dr. Mary E. Walker, a graduate of medicine, “has rendered valuable service to the Government and her efforts have been earnest and untiring in a variety of ways,” and that she was assigned to duty and served as an assistant surgeon in charge of female prisoners at Louisville, Ky., upon the recommendation of Major-Generals Sherman and Thomas, and faithfully served as contract surgeon in the service of the United States, and has devoted Women's History Month 2001: Inspiring Stories of Vision and Courage 16 herself with much patriotic zeal to the sick and wounded soldiers, both in the field and hospitals, to the detriment of her own health, and has also endured hardships as a prisoner of war four months in a Southern prison while acting as contract surgeon; and ♦ Whereas by reason of her not being a commissioned officer in the military service, a brevet or honorary rank cannot, under existing laws, be conferred upon her; and ♦ Whereas in the opinion of the President an honorable recognition of her services
and sufferings should be made:
♦ It is ordered, That a testimonial thereof shall be hereby made and given to the said Dr. Mary E. Walker, and that the usual Medal of Honor for meritorious services be given her.
♦ Given under my hand in the city of Washington, D.C., this 11th day of November, 1865.
Andrew Johnson, President
By the President:
Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War (59:31) After the war, Walker became a writer and lecturer, touring here and abroad on women's rights, dress reform, health, and temperance issues. She was elected president of the National Dress Reform Association in 1866. Walker prided herself by being arrested numerous times for wearing full male dress, including wing collar, bow tie, and top hat. She was also something of an inventor, coming up with the idea of using a return postcard for registered mail. She wrote extensively, including a combination biography and commentary called Hit and a second book, Unmasked, or the Science of Immortality. She died in 1919, just months before the 20th amendment giving women the right to vote was ratified. (48) In 1917 her Medal of Honor, along with the medals of 910 others, was taken away when Congress revised the Medal of Honor standards to include only actual combat with an enemy.
She refused to give back her Medal of Honor, wearing it every day until her death in 1919. A relative told the New York Times: “Dr. Mary lost the medal simply because she was a hundred years ahead of her time and no one could stomach it.” (48) On June 10, 1977, Army Secretary Alexander accepted the recommendation of an Army board and reinstated Walker's medal posthumously, citing her,... distinguished gallantry, self-sacrifice, patriotism, dedication and unflinching loyalty to her country, despite the apparent discrimination because of her sex. (59:32) (48) The U.S. Postal Service issued a commemorative stamp honoring Dr. Mary Walker on June 10, 1982. The stamp commemorates the first woman to have been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor and the second woman to graduate from a medical school in the United States.
(48) (59:24) Fostering the cultural change to eliminate gender discrimination and sexual harassment Major General Jeanne Holm Major General Jeanne Holm U.S. Air Force (Ret.) is the first woman in the history of the U.S. Armed Forces to achieve the rank of major general. When she retired she was the highestWomen's History Month 2001: Inspiring Stories of Vision and Courage 17 ranking woman ever to serve in the Armed Forces. (6:132) She has been a driving force in achieving parity for military women and is the author of a definitive history of women in the military, Women in the Military, An Unfinished Revolution. (24) (7) Throughout her career, Holm steadfastly battled discriminatory policies against women. She insisted that the Services should find the best person for each job, whether female or male. According to Holm, this was viewed by many as an experiment in sociology and not as what it is–the best utilization of human resources that leading to a better defense of the U.S. interests. (6:132) Holm testified at the July 29, 1992 House of Representatives Armed Services Committee hearings on how to deal with the problems of sexual harassment and how to achieve cultural change in the military. These hearings were spurred by the incidents revealed after the 1991 Tailhook convention. The 1991 Tailhook convention may have been the watershed event in the pattern of cultural change that was necessary to truly achieve complete leadership awareness on what it will take to curtail sexual harassment of women in the military. (64:18) The Tailhook Association is a private booster club for a membership of active and retired Navy and Marine Corps aviators and defense contractors. It has held conventions in Las Vegas to examine professional issues and conduct seminars pertinent to carrier aviation. (19:21) Unfortunately, the atmosphere at the convention was known to be quite raucous and more like a college fraternity. In fact, raucous, fraternity-like behavior had become a standard at the convention. (64:19) Before the 1991 convention, the Tailhook Association had sent a preconvention cautionary letter to attendees as a reminder of past unprofessional behavior at the annual conventions. (The pre-convention cautionary letters had started in 1986.) (19:18).