Deputy Secretary of Defense John J. Hamre will deliver the keynote address at the Department of Defense commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Women's Armed Services Integration Act of 1948. The ceremony will be held at the Women in Military Service for America (WIMSA) Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery on Friday, June 12, at 2 p.m. (EDT). Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Rudy de Leon and Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) Chair Elizabeth T. Bilby will also make remarks.
The Women's Armed Services Integration Act of 1948 authorized regular and reserve status for women in the military Services. Prior to the Act, women, with the exception of nurses, were not eligible to serve in the regular forces in peacetime. With the passage of the Act, women won an important battle in their fight for the opportunity to serve in the United States armed forces.
The dedication and perserverance of women such as Maj. Gen. Jeanne Holm, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), Col. Mary A. Hallaren, U.S. Army (Ret.), and Capt. Winifred Q. Collins, U.S. Navy (Ret.) helped implement the Act and ensure that American women contributed to national readiness. These women, along with NASA astronaut Lt. Cmdr. Lisa Nowak, U.S. Navy, will speak at the June 12 ceremony.
More than 500 people are expected to attend the event, including members of Congress, Service members, and veterans of military service. The event is open to the public. For further information, contact Lt. Col. Sandy Lewis, DACOWITS Public Affairs and Protocol Liaison Officer, at (703) 697-2122 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. For logistical information and site access, please contact the Military District of Washington Public Affairs Office at (202)685-2892.