5 Really Badass Female Veterans
Badass Female Veterans – Veterans Day is a perfect time to pause and recognize all those who serve with honor. But we can’t help but use the opportunity to highlight five female veterans from across the force who are extra special thanks to their high-level badassery.
Army: Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester
Army Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester was the first woman to earn the Silver Star in Iraq for retaliating against insurgents who attacked her convoy.
Also profiled on Task and Purpose, she was one of the first two women since World War II to earn the Silver Star.
Under heavy machine-gun fire and mortar attacks, he and his squad leader set out on foot to engage the encircled enemy with grenades and assault rifles, resulting in 27 insurgents killed, six wounded and one captured.
Navy: Constructionman Camella J. Jones
Construction man Camella J. Jones learns to operate a large crane. (US Navy/PH3 Paul Mansfield)
Navy Constructionman Camella J. Jones may need a standing ovation. She was the first woman to qualify as a heavy equipment operator and was assigned to a US Navy construction battalion unit in 1972.
Have you ever been around a CB unit? It was, um… men, especially in 1972.
Unfortunately, Jones could not participate in the “we fight” part of the “we build, we fight” motto because she was a woman and was not allowed in combat.
That rule changed with the National Defense Authorization Act of 1994, which allowed women to become members of mobile construction units—too late for Jones but certainly a result of her service.
Kudos to this badass CB. You built and fought in your way. (Badass Female Veterans)
Air Force: Colonel Merrill Tengesdahl
Air Force Lt. Col. Merrill Tengesdahl stands in front of a U-2 at Beale Air Force Base, Calif., Feb. 9, 2015. (US Air Force/Senior Airman Bobby Cummings)
Air Force Colonel Merrill Tengesdahl introduced the Navy to flying helicopters, which makes it all the crazier that she’s on this list for being the first black woman to fly the U-2 Dragon Lady spy plane.
Badass alert: Tengesdahl made a rare cross-rate move for the Air Force. After teaching a combined flight program, he qualified in 2004 to fly one of the best and toughest aircraft we have.
Did we mention she cruises at 70,000 feet, and sometimes shooting stars fly below her?
Tengesdahl has flown missions for Operation Olive Harvest in Afghanistan and Iraq and helped combat piracy in the Horn of Africa. He has over 3,400 flying hours and over 330 combat hours.
When you have to put on a pressurized suit to fly in one of the world’s most hostile aviation environments, then land a huge plane on two wheels, you deserve major props and respect.
Colonel, you are a wonderful scoundrel. (Badass Female Veterans)
Marine Corps: unnamed female Marine officer
We don’t know his name, but he completed one of the toughest courses in the Marine Corps.
She is briefly featured in a video released by the service, and as the first female Marine Infantry officer, she will lead a platoon of Infantry Marines.
To illustrate how people associate the Corps with female Marines, the site Jezebel originally posted the story with the headline, “The Marine Corps Is Getting Their First Female Officer.”
He corrected the eye-roll-inducing gaffe, but more than any other service branch the Marine Corps has expressed concern about having women in combat.
But perhaps its emphasis on frugality and standards means more acceptance for this unsung pioneer because she rose to the challenge and succeeded.
We hope so because the beauty of the Corps is that Marines are Marines first and foremost, and they take care of themselves.
A hearty “Oorah!” To this badass female Marine — 0302, baby! (Badass Female Veterans)
Coast Guard: Sarah Faulkner
Faulkner was the first female Coast Guard rescue swimmer. Although two women had played the role before her, she was transferred to the service after training in the Navy. Faulkner was all costi.
The difficulty of the training and duty are legendary. People like Kevin Costner make movies about rescue swimmers.
Faulkner was a champion swimmer who saved 48 lives during Hurricane Katrina. But her biggest challenges weren’t the rough seas or possible death; It was the constant sexual harassment she endured on each of her orders.
After filing sexual-assault allegations, his command saw fit to refer him against his will for psychiatric evaluation and then offered him a transfer to another command with a rescue swimmer.
She nearly quit the Coast Guard until a command master chief told her how important she was and that she was a role model for women.
She stayed, eventually retiring from service – but not before solidifying her status as one of the most badass costars ever.
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