Anna Mae Hays: The First Female Army General Officer

Today, I want to do a short post on the first female Army General Officer: Anna Mae Hays. I’m going to talk briefly about her background and military experience.

Rewind the clock nearly fifty years, way back to 1970, and Anna Mae Hays became the first female in the U.S. Armed Forces (not just the Army) to reach the rank of Brigadier General. Considering the obstacles and discrimination women faced in the military at that point, that was a HUGE achievement.

She was born in Buffalo, New York, but grew up in Allentown, Pennsylvania. She graduated from high school in 1938 from Allentown High School. After graduating from high school, she enrolled in the Allentown General Hospital School of Nursing. She graduated with her diploma in 1941 and joined the military in 1942, during WW2.

Duty Assignments

Here is a brief overview of some of her duty assignments.

  • Operating Room Nurse,20th Field Hospital, India
  • Head Nurse, Tilton General Hospital, Fort Dix, NJ
  • Obstetrics Supervisor, Valley Forge Hospital
  • Head Nurse, Fort Myer, VA
  • 4th Field Hospital, Inchon, Korea
  • Head Nurse, Walter Read Emergency Room
  • Private Nurse to President Dwight Eisenhower
  • Chief Nurse, 11th Evacuation Hospital in Pusan
  • Assistant Chief, U.S. Army Nurse Corps
  • Chief, U.S. Army Nurse Corps

Her Education

  • Graduated from Allentown High School (PA)
  • Diploma, Allentown General Hospital School of Nursing
  • Nursing Service Administration Course, Fort Sam Houston, Texas
  • Bachelor’s Degree, Nursing Education, Columbia University
  • Master’s of Science in Nursing, Catholic University of America

Combat Service

Anna Mae Hays Gets Promoted to Brigadier General

In 1970, she was promoted to Brigadier General by then President Richard Nixon, when she became Chief of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps. She retired from the Army in 1971. Sadly, she passed away on January 7, 2018 at the age of 97.

Her Legacy

Anna May Hays definitely paved the way for female officers in the Armed Services.  For that, I applaud her.

As of 2011, of the 976 General and Admiral positions in the military, 69 were filled by women. Of those 69 women, 19 were Army Generals. As you can see, we still have a long way to go for equal opportunity for women in the military. Hopefully, things will continue to improve in the years to come and women will have the same opportunities that men do.


Other Must Read Articles
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  2. Famous Civil War Units
  3. Top Civil War Movies
  4. Top Confederate Generals
chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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