African American Women Who Made U.S. Military History

These legendary women made a mark in the military world

1st Lt. Nancy C. Leftenant (Image: www.womensmemorial.org)

Whether it’s defending our country on the front lines or providing support to U.S. soldiers and civilian employees, African American women have made significant accomplishments in the Army.

Women’s Memorial compiled a list of  trailblazers that helped paved the way for some of today’s Army leaders.

In March 1948, 1st Lt. Nancy C. Leftenant became the first black woman to become a member of the Regular Army Nurse Corps after joining the Reserve Corps in February 1945.

Margaret E. Bailey (Image: BlackEngineer.com)

In 1951, Edwina Martin of Danville, Virginia; Fannie Jean Cotton of Jackson, Michigan; and Evelyn M. Brown of Shreveport, Louisiana were the first three black women commissioned as officers (second lieutenants) in the Air Force. All three graduated from the Air Force Officer Candidate School at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.

In 1964, Margaret E. Bailey, Army Nurse Corps, was the first nurse to be promoted to lieutenant colonel.

Capt. Clara Adams-Ender (Image:BET.com)

In 1967, Capt. Clara Adams-Ender became the first female in the U.S. Army to qualify for and be awarded the Expert Field Medical Badge.

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