From Avionics Intelligence on August 23: NAVY COMMEMORATES WOMEN'S EQUALITY DAY
The following information was released by the Pacific Fleet Forces Command:
By Ensign Amber Lynn Daniel, Diversity and Inclusion Public Affairs
Commands are encouraged to celebrate Women's Equality Day Aug. 26, as announced by NAVADMIN 251/12.
Established by Congress in 1971, Women's Equality Day was designed to
commemorate the long struggle of generations of women to gain the right
The observance also calls attention to women's continuing efforts today towards full equality.
The women's suffrage movement began in 1848 at the Seneca Falls
Convention in Seneca Falls, N.Y. Convened by suffragist leaders
Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, the committee published a
"Declaration of Sentiments." The declaration outlined key social, civil
and political demands for women, helping the cause of women's suffrage
gain national prominence. Nearly 72 years later, the 19th Amendment to
the Constitution was passed Aug. 26, 1920, granting women throughout the
United States the right to vote.
In 1971, to honor and commemorate the passing of the 19th Amendment,
U.S. Rep. Bella Abzug introduced a resolution to designate Aug. 26 as
the annual Women's Equality Day. Today, the observance recognizes the
anniversary of women's suffrage and of the continued efforts toward
equal rights in the United States.
All Navy commands are encouraged to reflect on and celebrate the
accomplishments of women in the armed services during this observance.
Women first entered Naval service in 1908 with the establishment of the
Navy Nurse Corps, 12 years before women were granted the right to vote.
Women continued to serve in the Navy in varying capacities throughout
World War I and World War II, but it was not until June 12, 1948, with
the passage of the Women's Armed Services Integration Act that women
gained permanent status in the U.S. armed services. The first six
enlisted women were sworn into regular U.S. Navy service July 7, 1948.
Four months later the first eight female Naval officers were
commissioned Oct. 15, 1948.
Women were first assigned to selected non-combatant ships in 1978, and
opportunities were later broadened to include service on warships in
1994 following the repeal of the combat exclusion law. In April 2010,
the Navy announced a policy change allowing female officers to serve on
submarines. Today, 95 percent of Navy billets are open to the assignment
This year has been a landmark year for women in the Navy. The year
kicked off with five women making naval history as the first all-female
E-2C Hawkeye crew to fly a combat mission. Plane Commander Lt. Cmdr.
Tara Refo, Mission Commander Lt. Cmdr. Brandy Jackson, Second Pilot Lt.
Ashley Ruic, Air Control Officer Lt. Nydia Driver, and Radar Operator
Lt. j.g. Ashley Ellison were assigned to Airborne Early Warning Squadron
(VAW) 125, embarked aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl
Vinson (CVN 70) as part of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 when they made
their historic flight Jan. 25.
Two days later, the Navy honored the passing of the fleet's first female
aircraft handling officer, Lt. Cmdr. Regina Mills, during a ceremony
Jan. 27 in Bremerton, Wash. More than 2,000 family members, friends, and
shipmates assembled aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) to
pay respect to Mills, who was struck and killed by a vehicle when she
stopped to assist others involved in a traffic collision in Gig Harbor,
Wash., Jan. 23.
In April, the Navy bid fair winds and following seas to one of the
original female surface warfare trailblazers, Vice Adm. Ann Rondeau.
Rondeau holds the distinction of serving as the first warfare qualified
female admiral and, prior to her retirement, was the highest ranking
female flag officer in the Navy. She retired after 38 years of dedicated
Later that month, Rear Adm. Michelle Howard was nominated for
appointment to the rank of Vice Admiral April 16. If confirmed, Howard
would become the first female African American three star admiral. In
July, Vice Adm. Nanette DeRenzi was assigned as Judge Advocate General
of the Navy. De Renzi is the highest ranking female in the Judge
Advocate General Corps, and is the first woman to hold the Judge
Advocate General Corps' most senior position. Vice Adm. Robin Braun, the
highest ranking female aviator in the Navy, became chief of the Navy
Reserve Aug. 13, and is the first woman to hold the post.
There are currently 35 female flag officers in the Navy; 21 represent
the active duty component, and 14 represent the Reserve component.
Enlisted women also made notable accomplishments during 2012. In May,
Command Master Chief (AW/SW) JoAnn M. Ortloff became Fleet Master Chief
for Commander, Naval Forces Europe and Africa. Upon her selection,
Ortloff became the highest ranking enlisted woman in the Navy, and only
the second woman to reach the position of fleet master chief.
Command Master Chief (AW/SW) April Beldo continued her tradition of
breaking barriers for women when she assumed her new position as force
master chief of Naval Education and Training Command (NETC), the first
African American woman to do so. Beldo arrived at NETC in April after
serving aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), where she held the title of the
first female African American command master chief of a nuclear
aircraft carrier. She is currently the only woman serving as a force
master chief in the Navy.
Policy changes affecting women serving in the Navy also took shape in
2012. The Department of Defense announced changes to the 1994 Direct
Ground Combat Definition and Assignment Rule Feb. 9. The changes were
implemented in May, opening an additional 14,325 positions throughout
the Department of Defense previously closed to women.
Today, 54,537 women serve in the Navy on active duty or in the Reserve,
comprising 17 percent of the force. Additionally, nearly 50,000 women
serve across the Navy in a wide range of specialties as civilian