Honoring Our Fallen Female Soldiers

Memorial Day Weekend is here, and while many are driving down to the lake in celebration of this three day weekend its important that we take a moment to acknowledge the true reason for the holiday, and remember those who have laid down their lives for our freedom. Of the 1.4 million active military personnel, we'd like to focus on the, roughly, 210,000 women who have volunteered to make the ultimate sacrifice.

According to a study done by Pew Research, women currently make up 15% of active-duty military personnel - a steady increase from the 11% of women that made up the military in 1990. Even as far back as the Civil War, women secretly fought on the battlefield by dressing up as men in order to show their patriotism. 

While women have played in a role in our armed forces for quite some time, we seldom hear about their sacrifices or accomplishments. It would be difficult to name all of the brave women who lost their lives at war, so here are just a few of the soldiers who made that sacrifice...

Army Spc. Brittany B. Gordon

Brittany Gordon, a native of St. Petersburg, Florida, died on October 13, 2012 in  Kandahar, Afghanistan after her unit was attacked by a suicide bomber during Operation Enduring Freedom. Gordon was the lead military analyst in Kandahar City, and had volunteered for the mission as a way to set an example for junior soldiers about the proper way to conduct themselves during operations. Gordon was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star and the Combat Action Badge. 

Army Pfc. Lori Ann Piestewa

A native of Tuba City, Arizona, Lori Piestewa died in Nasiriyah, Iraq on March 23, 2003 after her company's convoy got lost and ran into an ambush. She was the first woman killed in the Iraq war, and the first Native American woman to die in combat overseas. After her death, Piestewa was awarded the Purple Heart and Prisoner of War medal, and has been honored by many entities across the United States. 

2 Lt. Eloise M. Richardson

Eloise Richardson was born on April 18, 1920 in Marseilles, Illinois. She enlisted in the Army in 1942, and earned her gold wings from an air evacuation unit at Bowman Field, Kentucky in 1943, and then transferred to the Army Air Force division of nurses. On May 18, 1944 - during a routine flight that was carrying wounded men from Bougainville in Papua New Guinea, the plane failed to arrive at it's destination. Officials were unable to recover any evidence of it's whereabouts. One year and one day after the planes disappearance, Eloise was declared officially dead, and she was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart. 

These women listed above make up just a tiny fraction of all of the women who were killed in the line of duty, and while we would love to honor them all it would be nearly impossible. So let's all take a small part in helping to honor those women who have made the ultimate sacrifice, and learn more about the BAD ASS women in each of our local communities who lost their lives overseas. 

Danelle Benton-Smith