CNO and Linda Gilday Women's History Month Message 2022

23 March 2022
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday and his wife Linda issued a message to the Fleet for Women's History Month, March 23.

04:21
VIDEO | 04:21 | CNO and Linda Gilday Women's History Month Message 2022

CNO: Navy Family, CNO Gilday here with my wife Linda -- joining me to celebrate Women’s History Month. This month we take time to consider the amazing accomplishments women have made over the past decades. Since women were allowed to join the Navy in 1917 -- laws, social norms, policies, and cultural changes have changed to allow women to serve in every capacity. 

Linda: Compared to the rest of world, our country has opened the doors and provided protections for women who want to move into many previously held male positions. And in the Navy, every job, space and rank in the Navy are now open to women. Today, because of path women in history have paved, 18% of uniform personnel are women and nearly 27% of Navy civilians are women. Today, there are all-women teams on ships, in aviation, and in construction, to name a few.

CNO: We wouldn’t be here today, the strongest Navy in the world, without women breaking barriers, like:

  • Over a hundred years ago Chief Yeoman (F) Loretta Perfectus Walsh became not only the first woman to serve in the Navy, its first woman chief petty officer, but also the first woman to serve in a non-nursing capacity in any branch of the armed forces when she enlisted in 1917;
  • Nearly 80 years ago, Lt. j.g. Harriet Ida Pickens and Ensign Frances Wills became the first Black women commissioned as officers in the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) (1944);
  • 26 years ago Vice Adm. Patricia Tracey was the first woman to be promoted to vice admiral in the U.S Navy; and
  • 12 years ago Vice Adm. Nora Tyson became the first woman to command a carrier strike group (2010).

Linda: You can be sure there have been even more historical figures who have (and continue) to volunteer their time and efforts to contribute to Navy’s success. Not normally recognized, there are ombudsmen, spouses and partners – many, but not all, have been women. Two of the many historical figures to highlight are Rosalynn Carter, former First Lady of the United States, whose first 7 years of marriage were spent as a Navy spouse. Mrs. Zumwalt is a long time spouse who lived in 40 homes, raised four children and worked tirelessly behind the scenes in many untraditional ways, which is now emulated in other families and non-profit organizations.

CNO: Because of the great strides women have taken over the past century, women now serve as aviators, engineers, divers, scientists, mechanics, and nuclear technicians, to name a few. The Navy has a vast array of programs that enable women to achieve professional goals, and do so in an equal opportunity environment. Whether your dream is to be a submariner, a SEAL, or the next fleet Admiral, we are in a better place because of the history of women serving valiantly throughout our ranks.

Linda:  Women have and will continue to be barrier-breakers. They are serving on the bridge, in the cockpits, in the trenches, and at the homefront, -- and this month we give thanks to those who’ve come before us to show that it’s “normal” to be in these roles. I am tremendously inspired by their tenacity, bravery, professionalism and commitment, as you will be when you read their stories. 

CNO:  I hope you’ve heard about the WIN (Women in the Navy) project, a growing collect of the stories of the civilian and military women trailblazers. They can be found in the WIN site: navy(dot)mil(forward slash)W-I-N. And I know you’ll enjoy reading about each one, and sharing it with others thinking of joining the Navy.  It’s our hope that sharing their stories – we will continue to inspire future generations of both men and women alike.

You can visit the new website at:  www.navy.mil/win and view the WIN book at: https://go.usa.gov/xzv8P

 

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