Women Veterans Recognition Day is not a separate Veterans Day for women. The day, celebrated yearly on June 12, recognizes, honors and remembers the signing of the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act (pub.L. 80–625, 62 Stat. 356), allowing women the right to permanently serve in the regular armed forces.

Women have served in America’s wars and conflicts throughout our history. They played vital roles in the Revolutionary War, serving as soldiers, raising morale and spying on the enemy. It is known that some even disguised themselves as men to be able to serve.

More than 400 women fought in the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War. During World War I, about 35,000 women officially served. Women served in lifesaving roles such as nurses, and critical support staff roles such as the Hello Girls, formally known as the Signal Corps Female Telephone Operators Unit. In World War II, 350,000 women served in the U.S. military in occupations such as nursing, military intelligence, cryptography and parachute rigging.

In August 1943, the Women’s Flying Training Detachment (WFTD) and the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS) merged into a single unit for all women pilots and formed the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs). They flew more than 60 million miles in two years. During this time, the 6888th Battalion was formed as the first and only all-Black Women Army Corps (WAC) unit to deploy overseas during WWII. Their nickname was “Six-Triple Eight” and their motto was “No Mail, Low Morale.”

Breaking barriers on June Day 1948

Before the signing of the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act on June 12, 1948, only women nurses could serve in the regular and reserve forces during peacetime. All other women were sent home after each conflict. The signing of the Act deemed women essential to the war efforts and allowed them to serve in the regular armed forces full time. The Women’s Armed Services Integration Act, coupled with President Truman’s decision to desegregate the military, also permitted African American women to officially serve in the military, five years after the 6888th Battalion accomplished its mission of cleaning two years of mail backlog in three months, twice.  When women can, they do.

A day worth recognizing

June 12 proclamations and events around the U.S. each year commemorate the signing of the Women’s Armed Service Integration Act by President Truman in 1948. The date was first recognized as a commemorative date when the New York State Assembly declared June 12, 2008, to be Women Veterans’ Recognition Day.

Currently, Women Veterans Recognition Day is a state-recognized commemoration. This year, the states of Alaska, California, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Virgin Islands, and Wisconsin will recognize Women Veterans Recognition Day.

We hope to see your state listed next year!

Women served, women belong

Today, women serve in all military occupational specialties, including logistics, munitions, intelligence, and many combat. Women contribute to the most professional, educated, agile and strongest military the U.S. has ever seen.

Despite their longstanding service, many women Veterans struggle to be recognized, respected and valued as Veterans in civilian life. After all they have done and continue to do, women Veterans deserve the support and respect they have earned through their service. They should feel like they belong at VA.

VA understands that women Veterans face specific challenges and have unique health care needs. Beginning in 1992 with the Veterans Health Care Act, VA has been providing gender-specific care to eligible women Veterans. Since then, we have been expanding those gender-specific services and launching initiatives to make women Veterans aware of their well-deserved benefits. We also continue to support our facilities across the country in fostering a comfortable, welcoming atmosphere for the women Veterans who come through our doors.

Recognize outstanding women

There is so much history about women Veterans to be told, and it’s important that women continue to be recognized for their service and sacrifice. On March 12, 2022, Public Law 117-97 was passed to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the members of the Women’s Army Corps who were assigned to the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, known as the ‘‘Six Triple Eight.’’

If you are interested in your state recognizing Women Veterans Recognition Day, contact your local State Department of Veterans Affairs and/or Governor to find out the process for your state.

This June 12, to all women Veterans out there – Happy Women Veterans Recognition Day from VA.

Tamara Files CWV book cornerCenter for Women Veterans Book Corner: Army Veteran Tamara D. Files
Veteran who promotes health care for womenWoman Veteran recommends VA health care safe space

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8 Comments

  1. Deanna Halterman-Savage June 16, 2022 at 2:17 pm - Reply

    I am proud of my service as a USAF Nurse Corps from Sep 1960 to Feb 1968. Utah does recognize those who served during the cold war with a medal which I received during an Horor Flight with 49 other Female vets to Washington DC and a bus tour of all the monuments and the US Navy Military Academy and Arlington Cemetery for a changing of the guard front row seats plus a tour of the Womens Memorial at the Gate of Arlington Cemetery. These flights are paid for by local businessmen. My hat has only once been asked if it is my husbands. I have a Female Veteran sticker on my back window of my car and Veteran license plate holder and U S AF.NC license plates. I don’t know if the Nurse Corps still exists. People may think NC stands for Non Commissioned which is funny since I was a Captain when I was discharged on the day a Navy ship was captured by the North Koreans and since my husband was a Navy Officer on another Destroyer, A very sad day for the Navy.

  2. Deanna Halterman-Savage June 16, 2022 at 1:55 pm - Reply

    I am proud of my service during the cold war and as a Flight Nurse in and out of Vietnam. Utah has treated me with VA privileges and a Woman’s clinic. Utah gave me a medal for my service in the cold war and an Honor flight with 49 other female Veterans of which 1 of us served in Korea and another was also in Vietnam. The other 47 were Vietnam era. They gave us a welcome not to ever be forgotten, which we did not get when we came home. A flight to Washington D.C. A Vietnam cap that is more feminine and a wonderful 2 days bus tour of all the national monuments in Washinton D.C. I wear my hat and only once have I been asked if it is my husbands? I have marched with my grandchildren in Veteran parades. I loved my service and I am proud to be an American who served her country.

  3. Collette Heuertz June 13, 2022 at 12:21 pm - Reply

    When my husband and I go to places around Memorial or Veteran’s Days we wear our veteran caps. Numerous times, someone will walk up to him and thank him for his service but won’t say a word to me. Makes me feel invisible.

  4. Rosalee Adams June 12, 2022 at 2:13 pm - Reply

    My apologies for mistakes in my earlier (do not see an edit area)
    e.g
    My assignments, for the most part,
    were female
    should read
    My assignments, for the most part, were sole female

  5. Rosalee Adams June 12, 2022 at 2:08 pm - Reply

    I am deeply honored to have had the privilege of serving our nation
    particularly at a time when there were so few of female line officers in the US Navy at a time
    when there were thousands of male line officers.
    My assignments, for the most part,
    were female (when I was with attached to VAQ135 I was not only sole
    female officer but sole female.
    When I graduated from WOS I was assigned to NavComSta Newport
    where I became one of two first female watch officers
    I salute my sisters who serve(d)

  6. Lisa Stephens June 12, 2022 at 10:57 am - Reply

    Went through the last Basic Training where we were called WAC’s; however upon graduation we were informed that we would be SM’s or Service Members. What a disappointment…again men disregarded all the women who had proudly served as WAC and now taking that title away from so many who fought for our rights to be there serving. Still at 70 yrs of age get disrespectful turning of heads and sneering grin of men. Received Joint Service Commendation Medal from AFEES at Ft Jackson, SC (Recruiting Command). Six years RA was good for and to me 1974-1979.

  7. Dianne Senter June 12, 2022 at 9:07 am - Reply

    Glad that there is recognition for women veterans.

  8. Leslie Colantuono June 12, 2022 at 6:30 am - Reply

    Most people do not know this. I hope Oklahoma will get on the list.

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