Opha May Johnson was the first woman known to have enlisted in the United States Marine Corps
1918 – First woman to enlist the Marines, Opha May Jackson
In 1918, the Secretary of Navy allowed women to enroll for clerical duty in the Marine Corps. Officially, Opha May Johnson is credited as the first woman Marine. Johnson enrolled for service on August 13, 1918; during that year some 300 women first entered the Marine Corps to take over stateside clerical duties from battle-ready Marines who were needed overseas. The Marine Corps Women’s Reserve was established in February 1943. June 12th, 1948, Congress passed the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act and made women a permanent part of the regular Marine Corps.
Staff Sgt. Esther McGowin Blake was the ‘first woman in the Air Force’
1948 – First woman in the Air Force, Esther McGowin Blake
Staff Sgt. Esther McGowin Blake has the distinction of being the ‘first woman in the Air Force.’ She enlisted in the first minute of the first hour of the first day regular Air Force duty was authorized for women on July 8, 1948.
Blake originally enlisted in March 1944, in Miami in the Army Air Forces, served one year in the Alaskan division and was discharged in November 1945. She reenlisted in April 1947 and was assigned to the ground force but seized the first opportunity to return to the Army Air Forces.
CSM Michelle Jones was the first woman to become top enlisted advisor of the Army Reserve
2002 – First woman Command Sergeant Major, Michelle Jones
Michelle Jones was the first woman in the US Army Reserve to reach the position of command sergeant major and was at one time the highest-ranking female enlisted person in any branch of the United States military, as well as the highest-ranking enlisted African American in the Army Reserve.
Private First Class Lori Ann Piestewa was the first Native American woman in history to die in combat while serving in the U.S. military and the first woman in the U.S. military killed in the Iraq War.
SGT Leigh Ann Hester is one of the few women to be awarded for valor in close-quarters combat
2004 – First woman to be awarded the Silver Star since World War II
SGT Leigh Ann Hester becomes the first woman to be awarded the Silver Star since World War II and the first ever to be awarded the Silver Star for direct combat action.
Leigh Ann Hester was a sergeant with the National Guard’s Kentucky-based 617th Military Police Company when she was deployed to Iraq, and in 2005, she was scanning and clearing a route for a supply convoy near Baghdad when her squad was ambushed by enemy fire.
Monica Lin Brown is a United States Army sergeant and medic who became the first woman during the War in Afghanistan
2007 – First woman in Afghanistan, Monica Brown
SPC. Monica Brown becomes the first woman to serve in Afghanistan and the second woman since World War II to be awarded the Silver Star. Monica Lin Brown was born on May 24, 1988 in Lake Jackson, Texas. She joined the United States Army at the age of 17. She became a Combat Medic and has risen to the rank of Sergeant.
Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody becomes the first woman four-star general in military history and the first woman to lead a major Army command
2008 – First woman to earn the rank of four-star general in the entire armed forces, Ann E. Dunwoody
Ann E. Dunwoody is the first woman to earn the rank of four-star general not only in the Army, but the entire U.S. armed forces. General Dunwoody joined the Army in 1974, was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Women’s Army Corps in 1975 and her first assignment was as supply platoon leader, 226th Maintenance Company (Forward, Direct Support), 100th Supply and Services Battalion (Direct Support), in Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
Sergeant Sherri Gallegher becomes first woman to win Best Warrior Soldier of the Year.
LTG Patricia Horoho becomes first woman and first nurse to lead the U.S. Army Medical Command.
BG Gwen Bingham becomes the first woman to serve as quartermaster general and the first African-American woman Quartermaster Corps general.
Brig. Gen. Margaret W. Burcham is the first woman to be promoted to general officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Brig. Gen. Flora D. Darpino is promoted to three stars, and becomes the Army’s 39th Judge Advocate General. She is the first woman in the JAG 236 year history to serve as the top lawyer.
Two women graduate Ranger school for the first time, Kristen Griest and Capt. Shaye Haver.
Ranger School graduate CPT Kristen Griest is Army’s first woman infantry officer; she is assigned to Fort Benning
2016 – First woman Infantry Officer, Kristen Griest
In 2011, Kristen Griest was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Military Police branch – an option available to women where she felt would give her experience closest to the infantry. She was assigned to the 4th Brigade Combat Team ‘Currahee’ of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) where she served as an MP Platoon Leader from 2012-2014. She also deployed to Afghanistan in 2013 where she led over 100 missions outside the wire performing convoy escorts and working with the Afghan Army during Operation Enduring Freedom. During this deployment, she was awarded a Bronze Star Medal.
An unnamed female sailor has successfully completed the grueling 37-week training course to become a Naval Special Warfare combatant-craft crewman.
An unidentified soldier successfully completed the seven-week Army Sniper Course.
Source: Foundation for Women Warriors