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Chief Loretta Perfectus "Yeoman" Walsh

 
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BerichtGeplaatst: 24 Dec 2011 21:27    Onderwerp: Chief Loretta Perfectus "Yeoman" Walsh Reageer met quote



Loretta Perfectus Walsh was born in Philadelphia in Pennsylvania (April 22, 1896 Ė August 6, 1925) became the first American active-duty Navy woman, and the first woman allowed to serve as a woman, in any of the United States armed forces other than as a nurse, when she enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve on March 17, 1917. Walsh subsequently became the first woman Navy petty officer when she was sworn in as Chief Yeoman on March 21, 1917.

War events quickly led up to Walsh's decision to enlist in the United States Navy. World War I was in its fourth year when, on January 31, 1917 the Germans announced they would resume unrestricted submarine warfare on all ships, including those sailing under the United States flag. On February 23, 1917, American opinion further was angered when America learned of Berlin's proposal to Mexico to join the war as Germany's ally against the U.S. Over the next few weeks, four American ships fell victim to German U-boats causing the death of fifteen Americans.

On March 12, 1917, all American merchant ships were ordered to be armed in war zones. On March 13, 1917, these armed merchant ships were authorized to take action against German U-boats. It was in the face of this adversity challenging the United States that Walsh made her decision to enlist in the United States military.

At age 18, on March 17, 1917, Walsh engaged in a four-year enlistment in the U.S. Naval Reserve, becoming the first active-duty Navy woman, and the first woman to serve in any of the armed forces in a non-nurse occupation. On March 19, 1917, the Navy Department authorized enrollment of women in Naval Reserve with ratings of yeoman, radio electrician, or other essential ratings, becoming the first branch of the United States armed forces to allow enlistment by women in a non-nursing capacity.[3] Walsh subsequently became the first woman Navy petty officer when she was sworn in as Chief Yeoman on March 21, 1917.

12 days after Walsh was sworn in as Chief Yeoman, President Woodrow Wilson went before the U.S. Congress late on April 2 to ask for a declaration of war, which Congress did on April 6, 1917.

The war ended on November 11, 1918. Walsh and other female yeomen, all of whom held enlisted ranks, continued in service during the first months after the November 1918 Armistice was signed. However, as a result of the post-World War I Naval reductions, the number of Yeomen (F) declined steadily, reaching just under four thousand by the end of July 1919, when Walsh and the remaining Yeomen (F) were all released from active duty. Walsh continued on inactive reserve status, receiving modest retainer pay, until the end of her four-year enlistment on March 17, 1921.

Walsh's contribution

In 1917, women had served in the United States military as nurses since 1901. However, despite their uniforms, Army and Navy nurses were civilian employees with few benefits. For example, women lacked "relative ranks" and insignia, retirement pension, disability pension if injured in the line of duty. On enlisting in the Navy in early 1917, Walsh became a Yeoman (F), commonly called Yeomanettes. Yeomanettes primarily served in clerical positions. As a non-nurse, Walsh was the first of 13,000 World War I yeoman females entitled to receive the same benefits and responsibilities as men, including identical pay.

Walsh fell victim to influenza in the fall of 1918, later contracting tuberculosis

She died on August 6, 1925 at the age of 29 in Olyphant, Pennsylvania. After her death she was buried in Olyphant's St. Patrick's Cemetery, under a monument that reads:

Loretta Perfectus Walsh
April 22, 1896ĖAugust 6, 1925
Woman and Patriot
First of those enrolled in the United States Naval Service
World War 1917Ė1919
Her comrades dedicate this monument
to keep alive forever
memories of the sacrifice and devotion of womanhood

Bron: Wikipedia

Meer hier en foto's:
http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=28491330

Over de Yeoman (F):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yeoman_%28F%29
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