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Military History (Another Kansas Female First!) - November 16, 2018

Recruitment poster for the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC)

Q: Born in Newton, Kansas, in 1918, she was one of the first women in the United States Army to earn the rank of brigadier general (that's a one-star general for all you civilians). What's the name of this fighting female who served in World War II, the Korean conflict and in Vietnam?


A: Elizabeth Hoisington

Elizabeth Hoisington was born on November 3, 1918, in Newton, Kansas, and grew up to become one of the first two women to earn the rank of brigadier general in the U.S. Army. Serving in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, Hoisington earned a chest-full of medals, including the coveted Bronze Star.

During the Second World War, the U.S. Army expanded opportunities for women beyond nursing and created the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps, or WAACs. Hoisington enlisted in the WAACs in 1942 and completed basic training. She performed well as steadily advanced in the ranks.

In 1970, President Nixon announced the first two women selected for promotion to brigadier general: Anna Mae Hays, Chief of the Army Nurse Corps, and Hoisington, director of the Women's Army Corps. The two women were both promoted on June 11, within minutes of each other. Because they were promoted in alphabetical order, Hays was technically the first woman in the U.S. military to wear the insignia of a brigadier general.

Hoisington retired on August 1, 1971. She died in 2007 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. She's just another example in this the long list of Kansas female firsts!

Learn more about General Elizabeth Hoisington from the Kansas Historical Society.

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